In a world where creativity knows no bounds, Dinah Clottey, a recent graduate of the University of Chicago, has forged her path by combining entrepreneurship and crochet through her fashion brand, T’Kor Couture. As a recipient of the U. of C. Diversity Leadership Award in 2022, Dinah has not only demonstrated her entrepreneurial prowess but also her dedication to uplifting underrepresented voices and creators.
Dinah’s journey into the world of crochet began at the tender age of 12 when she decided to teach her mother the craft. Although her mother didn’t pursue crocheting, Dinah’s passion for the art form led her to establish T’Kor Couture. The name of her brand is an abbreviation of her middle name, reflecting the personal touch she adds to her creations.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the 2020 protests surrounding the racial reckoning led Dinah to rediscover her love for crochet. It became a therapeutic outlet for her to express the emotions and thoughts she had pent up during these tumultuous times. She turned her creative energy into crafting pieces that were inspired by the events unfolding around her.
Her journey in the world of crochet quickly gained attention. T’Kor Couture now boasts nearly 11,000 Instagram followers, and Dinah has received requests for custom work, including collaborations with artists like Chicago singer-songwriter Jamila Woods. Her brand was also selected to participate in the 2021 Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation Accelerator Program, a competitive 10-week summer initiative designed to support early-stage ventures with mentoring and a $6,500 grant.
However, Dinah’s accomplishments extend beyond her entrepreneurial endeavors. At just 21 years old, she was involved in organizing and serving as a communications fellow for Kamala Harris’ presidential campaign in Iowa. Additionally, she was selected as one of several college students from across the nation to pose a question to former first lady Michelle Obama for a televised special in 2021.
Reflecting on her journey, Dinah emphasizes her commitment to amplifying underrepresented voices and creators. She recognizes the importance of breaking down barriers and embracing diverse perspectives in the creative realm.
Her journey has been marked by a deep appreciation for Black culture and a desire to make it more visible in the fashion industry. Dinah noticed the lack of representation in many established fashion brands and decided to change that narrative. T’Kor Couture’s collections are vibrant and diverse, drawing inspiration from Black culture, music, literature, art, and politics.
Dinah’s Enuf Collection celebrates the strength of Black women, emphasizing their visibility and power. The Topped Collection features crowns on various pieces, paying homage to the iconic artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Through her designs, Dinah seeks to uplift and empower Black individuals and showcase the richness of their culture.
As she looks ahead to her future, Dinah Clottey remains passionate about her mission to uplift underrepresented voices and promote diversity in the creative and fashion industries. Her journey serves as a testament to the power of creativity, determination, and the importance of embracing one’s heritage with pride. Dinah encourages others to pursue their dreams with a strong support system, hard work, and a clear sense of purpose, reminding us all that “It’s very hard to fail if you don’t give up.”