All Eyes on FRIKA
Victor Farmah is a St. Paul-based fashion designer and the proprietor of the FRIKA fashion line. Photo by Chris Tarbox
FRIKA (pronounced: free-ka), is the newest Minnesotan fashion brand to look out for. The mastermind behind the brand, Victor Samuels Farmah, is a young creative whose star is only just beginning to rise. Farmah’s work is already consistently swoon-worthy: sweeping and structured, colorful and creative—this is a brand that will leave you obsessed. After seeing your first FRIKA original, you might just find yourself constantly refreshing Farmah’s Instagram feed, wistfully longing for a FRIKA original of your very own.
Farmah’s path to fashion surprised him more than anyone. “Being a fashion designer was never something I pictured nor imagined as a career,” Farmah confesses, “although, if you were to ask my family they would say otherwise.” As a boy, Farmah recalls seeing an elderly man operating a vintage sewing machine—igniting his lifelong passion for design. Starting around seventh grade, he was compelled to draw dresses, quickly filling “files and folders [with]…expressive and bold sketches,” as he continued to find inspiration in himself and the world around him.
“I was taught the essence of art, the importance of friendship, the core value of family, and the richness of my culture [when I was living in Buduburam],” Farmah says. Originally from Liberia, Farmah spent several years living in Buduburam (which is a refugee camp in Ghana) after a civil war tore through Liberia.
Although most of his family was there with him, Farmah’s mother was not. They were separated for six long years. Farmah acknowledged the trauma of this situation, but he emphasized that without this experience, he might not be on his current path. Or, in his words, Buduburam was “the place that shaped the driven, determined, and dedicated individual I am today.”
Farmah’s dedication paid off, eventually winning him the Passion for Fashion scholarship to The Art Institutes International Minnesota. There, Farmah finessed the craft he had spent years developing through his sketches, finally getting the opportunity to put his creations on bodies and in three-dimensional form.
Farmah has created several stunning looks. “Bright, bold colors are the overall theme within my work,” he explains, “I grew up surrounded by vibrant colors, especially walking through our large open markets, so it’s only fitting that it’s incorporated and intertwined with the overall appearance of my brand.” These colors are, indeed, dazzling: sunflower yellow, tangerine orange, deep ocean blue, neon green and so much more. Much of Farmah’s work is boldly monochromatic, but his portfolio also includes delicious paisleys, dramatic stripes, and delicate polka dots.
Of course, color is only part of the fashion equation, and Farmah does not disappoint when it comes to style and structure. Farmah’s looks are “distinctive by the structural silhouettes integrated within each garment”, which make for unfailingly unique looks. His portfolio includes asymmetrical pantsuits that feel more like ball-gowns, waistlines that will make your heart skip a beat, and a stunning ridged cape that is as whimsical as it is high fashion.
“My fashion sensibilities are best summed up by Harry Winston’s quote, ‘People will stare. Make it worth their while.’” And Farmah definitely delivers: his pieces are both visionary and accessible. Farmah’s use of neon palettes, primary colors, and highly creative structural designs constantly beg for a second glance, which is exactly what he is going for. “My sensibilities evoke curiosity and amazement,” he says, my fashion “requires a double take.”
Farmah has not specifically designed any wedding looks yet, but his bold, dramatic style would translate flawlessly to anyone’s big day. Bearing this in mind, he says that his work “would best complement those individuals who go against traditional wedding attire.” Of course, he says, “at the end of the day, if a client wants a white gown then that’s exactly what I’m making.” There are several pieces in Farmah’s portfolio that could easily translate to a stunning bridal party, and at least one (here’s looking at you, pantsuit ball-gown) that plays with combining conventionally masculine and feminine looks in such a way that it could just be the answer to your queerest wedding fantasies.
“As an LGBTQ+ designer, especially an African one, it is highly important to represent our community,” Farmah says. “Simply put, representation matters. We all have a story to tell, which is part of our individual uniqueness. I tell my story through my garments.” The narrative that Farmah is weaving via FRIKA is definitely worth engaging with, whether as a fashionista, a cheerleader, an Instagram stan, or something else entirely. I have said it once and I will say it again: FRIKA is a brand to watch.
If you want more information about Victor and FRIKA, Victor asks that you use the following channels:
Email: [email protected]
Facebook: Victor Molubha Farmah