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MR Small Business Spotlight: MansaWear

By Staff –


Nita-Brown-Fashion-Designer-MansaWearFamily is important to Nita Brown.

That’s why the concept behind her Park Avenue clothing store, MansaWear, is based on everything she learned from her mother and grandmother while growing up in Ghana, and pays homage to their unique blend of cutting-edge style and traditional old-school thinking.

“My grandmother, Nana Mansa, inspires me,” Brown said. “MansaWear is named after her, and the line’s clean and simple silhouette is influenced by my grandmother’s philosophy of simplicity, tradition and forward-thinking perspective on life. Mansa means “of three,” a derivative of the number three, a birth order name. That is, the third consecutive girl born to the same woman is a Mansa. Three is “miensa” in Akan or Ashanti Twi, one of the predominant language in Ghana.”

Brown created MansaWear in 2004, then officially launched the business in 2010 by hosting a variety of trunk shows featuring her clothing at various events around Rochester.

She opened MansaWear’s physical location, at 367 Park. Ave., in February  of 2014.

“I was born in Ghana, had some elementary schooling there, and left for my first overseas trip at the age of seven, traveling to the Czech Republic,” Brown stated. “I completed my secondary schooling in Ghana, received a B.A. in History from Columbia University and an M.B.A. in International Management from Georgetown University. Eastman Kodak recruited me in 2000 to come to Rochester to work in their International Treasury Department. I left Kodak in 2004 and stayed in Rochester, because it’s really an awesome place.”

“When I relocated to Rochester, I was constantly asked where I got my clothing from, as people like the mash-ups I did of my Ghanaian inspired pieces and US wear,” she continued. “An acquaintance who has become a very good friend, mentor and my muse, Theresa Mazzullo, encouraged me to turn the way I dress into a business. This became a reality after Mary Chao of the D&C wrote an article about me and my business in November 2010.”

Today, city residents can purchase Brown’s creations at the Park Ave. storefront, Tuesday through Friday, from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sunday, from 2 p.m. to 5 p .m.

“I design limited edition high-quality clothes from select pattern fabrics, using classic African and Ghanaian prints as well as modern-themed fabrics,” Brown stated. “I source my fabrics primarily from Ghana, and many of my fabric selection are based on the final product that I wish to design. The exclusivity of the clothing line is derived from how I creatively arrange the designs in each fabric for the custom-made and unique look, as well as styling consultations. By providing styling and wardrobe consultation, customers learn to style with bold patterns and vibrant colored fabrics, making it possible to create endless outfits to suit every occasion.”

Visit for additional information regarding the fashion boutique.

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