Growing up in Uganda, designer Suzan Mutesi’s career began as a little girl playing with African fibre dolls and dressing her friends’ dolls using only the clothes in her wardrobe.

“I endeavoured to make extraordinary yet inexpensive clothes for dolls,” Mutesi recalls.

“I played with a lot of colours, mixed and matched outfits, and styled up my friends’ and sisters’.”

After making the move to Australia to complete high school, Mutesi’s passion only grew stronger.

Teaching herself only the basics of design, such as alterations and mending torn clothes on a sewing machine, Mutesi knew that to be recognised as a designer she would need to further develop her skills from garment construction to sewing and pattern making.  

Mutesi was soon accepted into one of Australia’s top-ranked design institutions, Raffles KvB Institute of Technology, graduating with a Bachelor of Design majoring in Fashion.

With dreams to own a recognised, international label, Achea-Mpong was born in 2009.

Mutesi says the name comes from the Japanese word ‘Achea’, meaning ‘high’, and the African word ‘Mpong’, which means ‘achievement’, fused together to mean ‘high achievement’.

Mutesi’s collections draw on her African heritage, but the designer says she also seeks to make designs that are artistic and fashion-forward.

Her Spring/Summer 2012 collection illustrates this thought process through a medley of ethnic prints. The new line features cocktail, black-tie and red carpet creations including backless silk gowns and short strapless styles in bright colours and prints, as well as the odd jacket and pants in dynamic hues.

The campaign was shot at the Out of Africa Restaurant; an eccentric venue known for its interesting decor.

Mutesi teamed up with internationally recognised head chef and owner Hassan M’Souli to shoot the collection.

“The prints and shapes in the furniture and the rustic edge was the perfect back-drop for emphasising the African influences of each piece,” Mutesi says.

“Achea-Mpong features bright colours, patterns and clever layering in the design of each dress, so every girl can become the queen of her desert.” 

With dreams to dress Beyonce, Jessica Mauboy, Rihanna and a host of other international celebrities, Mutesi describes the Achea-Mpong woman as “a girl who travels a lot”.

“She is a confident girl who loves shopping for one-of-a-kind pieces,” she says.

“She loves making a statement wherever she goes.”

With a style all her own and a host of local and international icons to inspire her – including Gucci, Roberto Cavalli, Givenchy and Australia’s own Alex Perry – it’s clear Mutesi draws closer to her dream each day, as she continues to grow her exotic, African-inspired label.