Dressing for TEDxAccra, What Speakers Should Consider

Phenomenon among all the wonderful ideas shared by the speakers were also their simple but smart attires, just appropriate for the TEDxLabone (now TEDxAccra) stage.


The TED talk which has been in existence for about 30 years has become one of the greatest ideas-sharing platform the world-over. With the acronym TED standing for Technology, Entertainment and Design, TED talks and conferences have and are still drawing together numerous people from diverse backgrounds and cultures in various countries  unto one platform.

TED Global starting from the US and replicated in many other communities in other countries over the years, TEDxAccra over the past year under the name TEDxLabone has found its feet in Ghana and has come to stay.

Last year, indeed, the programme was an eye opener, lining  up 20 great speakers from ministers of state , broadcasters, legal brains musicians , artists, people in the world of business, technology savvy Ghanaians just to mention a few.

It is obvious that dress code is another issue that some speakers invited to TED talks may battle with, aside the topic they wish to treat on the event day.


Though in last year’s event, speakers were great without any guidelines from organisers as to what to wear, elsewhere, we are made to understand that organisers do offer guidelines to speakers in choosing what to wear.

In an article on the recent Vancouver TED Conference, NINA SANKOVITCH writes that :

“But TED speakers face two immediate decisions when invited to give a talk: What am I going to talk about? And what am I going to wear? The organizers understand the importance of the latter issue, and often offer help to speakers through a series of guidelines. “Do not wear stripes, complicated patterns, bright colors that could disrupt lights or dangling jewelry,” the guidelines suggest. “Try to wear a color that contrasts with gray so that you do not blend into the background when being filmed. At the same time do not wear anything too bright.”  Sometimes the geographic location of these talks, for TED spinoffs like TEDx, can dictate what may be worn.”

Nina adds that “For a dual TEDMed conference held in Washington, D.C., and San Francisco, “casual dress is always encouraged.” In Manhattan, “dress code is comfortable – jeans, sweaters, informal is fine.” In Monterey, Calif., “dress code, as ever, is casual.” The organizers of TEDx Macatawa, which was held in Holland, Mich., were (wisely) aware that casual ease might be taken too far: “We are interested in having you be as comfortable as possible. However, you must wear clothes.” But as interviews with a number of speakers suggest, you are pretty much on your own when it comes to picking an outfit.”

The last line of the quotes did work for the speakers’ Ghanaian counterparts, which fashion designer Papa Oppong Bediako who is furthering his career Radford University College perfectly agrees to.


Speaking to TEDxAccra Communication Team, Papa Oppong who visited TEDxLabone 2014 event site notes that;

“I think past speakers (as seen in the link) looked fantastic. I love how most of them wore clothes with a touch of Africa through African prints.

Also, I don't think speakers should be given any guidelines to dressing at all. Ted talks from what I know, are very personal talks where people share their personal experiences. For this reason, speakers should be given the freedom to wear what they feel appropriate for their sessions as this will make them more comfortable and relaxed on stage.”

A number of male speakers in 2014 were in  the northern ‘agbada’ with smart trousers, while others were in kente tainted and other African prints. Most women speakers were also in African prints and they did Ghana proud.

The clothes resonated with the black, red and white TED colours of the stage .


Be at the National Theatre for TEDxAccra 2015 themed “The Next Chapter”, from 7am – 7pm on 11th April. Grab your tickets and be there to acquire not only fresh and winning ideas, but also to behold our amazing and thought-provoking speakers of Ghanaians resident both home and abroad.

And from a professional fashion view point or analysis of Papa Oppong Bediako, I would conclude to say that Speakers for TEDxAccra 2015, would do Ghana proud again in their smart and perhaps mostly African attires; taking into consideration TED colours to make then stand out on stage, as well as the weather situation in Ghana to enable them feel comfortable as well as casual wear for attendees.

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