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From Code to Couture: The Former Tech Genius Redefining Fashion in Ghanaian Music Videos

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In a world where career paths often seem preordained, Ghanaian Art director and stylist, Kobby Klein has defied the odds and proven that there is power in following one’s passion.

Kobby Klein is the creative force behind Tsutsublema, a styling company he founded in 2016

In our latest Artist series, we sat down with Kobby Klien of Tsutsu Blema to delve into his remarkable journey from a tech-savvy professional to a trailblazing fashion stylist and creative director.

Tsutsu Klein is not your typical fashion stylist. He is the creative force behind Tsutsublema, a styling company he founded in 2016 with a unique vision – to empower black culture through retro fashion and black art.

The name “Tsutsu” itself, meaning “the olden days” in Ga, a local Ghanaian language, reflects his commitment to celebrating heritage through style.

However, Tsutsu’s story goes beyond fashion. He wears many hats – a writer, marketer, and even a software engineer specializing in networking and Linux OS.

His diverse skill set exemplifies his unquenchable thirst for knowledge and his readiness to embrace new challenges.

A Shift Towards Tech: The Motivation

At first glance, Tsutsu’s pivot from fashion to technology may seem surprising. But there’s a method to this shift. He recognized the tide of technological advancement sweeping Ghana, particularly in sectors like banking, where manual processes were becoming obsolete. As a marketer, he revealed that he foresaw the need to equip himself with IT skills, especially programming, to navigate the future business landscape.

“It was an an era where technology was taking over a lot of business activities in Ghana especially banks or financial institutions where manual processes were being wiped out. As a marketer, I needed to acquire some I.T skills, specifically programming, to drive my business in the future,” he shared

The transition to the tech world was not without its hurdles. Initially, it was a steep learning curve, but Tsutsu persevered. After completing a short course, he joined an IT firm, where he spent seven years honing his skills. His role encompassed technical support, business development, and public affairs communications.

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“It was quite challenging from the beginning because it was new to me at the time. After the short course, I didn’t really put it into practice until years later when I got employed at this IT firm, where I worked for 7 years  in the space, I would rate my performance over the years as one of the best corporate experiences,” he told 3xtra.

From Tech to Fashion: The Big Transition

So, why the sudden switch to fashion after investing years in the tech industry? Tsutsu clarified that it wasn’t due to a negative experience; rather, it was a natural progression. According to him, his corporate stint imparted invaluable lessons in client relations and work ethics, which he seamlessly applied to his burgeoning styling business.

When asked which career brings out the best in him, Tsutsu, with his characteristic humility, asserts his proficiency in both domains.

Yet, his heart has always gravitated towards creative directing and fashion, revealing that his passion for fashion dates back to his childhood when he would scour thrift markets for fashionable finds. It’s this passion that fuels his creativity and commitment.

He noted, “I am very good at both, a reason I had always wanted to keep both jobs at some point. However, creative directing and fashion has always been my interest since childhood. As a child, I remember when I went to thrift markets because I lived closer to these shops and bought fashionables for friends for occasions. This was even before high school”

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No Regrets: The Road Less Traveled

No regrets linger in Tsutsu’s mind regarding his career shift. His corporate journey was a stepping stone, an essential chapter in his life. He cherishes the experiences, both good and challenging, that he garnered along the way.

 

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A post shared by AfroVintage (@tsutsublema)

It was simply time to embrace the next chapter, one driven by a profound love for creative arts. In African society, diverging from traditional career paths can be met with scepticism.

Tsutsu’s decision to pursue fashion did raise eyebrows within his family.  Initially, they couldn’t fathom how his art could translate into a sustainable livelihood. However, with time, they’ve witnessed the impact he’s making and are beginning to see the bright lights of his vision.

“As African parents, they felt disappointed that I would abandon all the knowledge acquired from school to chase fashion. I did not blame them because they didn’t understand the kind of impact I wanted to make with my art and they felt it wasn’t going to pay enough as compared to traditional works in Ghana. I won’t say much but I believe they have seen some bright lights now,” he added.

 

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A post shared by AfroVintage (@tsutsublema)

Klein’s impressive portfolio these days includes his contributions to music videos for artists like Kidi and Stonebwoy in the “Likor” music video, where his keen eye for style and aesthetics added a unique flair to the visuals. His creative touch can also be seen in the music video for “Animal” by Kwesi Arthur and DayOnTheTrack,  Snypa’s “Gbedu” video and made significant contributions to the visual storytelling of songs like “Not God” by Fameye and the “NANA Remix,” featuring talented artists like King Promise and Joe Boy.

 

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A post shared by AfroVintage (@tsutsublema)

This is a stark contrast to the young man whose journey into the creative world commenced as a model and styling gigs that earned him just transportation fare to creating his own brand, Tsutsublema, in 2016.

Kobby’s story serves as a beacon for those yearning to transition from the corporate world to the creative space. His advice is simple yet profound – life is a risk, and we must be prepared to embrace it.

Kobby’s creative work

Pursuing a creative career can be challenging, but it grants a unique perspective and an opportunity to make a living from one’s thoughts.

The Future Beckons

In the next five years, Tsutsu envisions exponential growth. He aims to expand his reach with the support of partners and investors, spreading his vision worldwide. His ambition knows no bounds, and he’s determined to execute his plans before his “time is due”.

 

By Esther Aryee|3xtra.tv|Ghana

 

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