Well, hello there and Hello to Summer!

Welcome to our first elaborate blog post with lots of exciting news and guess what we are bursting with so much colour and energy this year! 

We started off with a bang by launching our anticipated Spring/Summer 2019 collection ‘Tribe’ a 10 piece hand woven bag collection inspired by the spirit of Africa and its tribal communities. It is a true fusion of our core brand message but with a little twist this year of softer tones as we were dying to explore this side of our colour palette for so long. 

A week into launching we packed our bags and headed off to Paris. Oui Oui Paris….! to showcase our AAKS bag collection at Maison Objet trade show. It was such an unbelievable experience to be part of a big platform like this, to meet potential clients and get feedback on our latest collections. With lots of orders under my belt we headed back to Ghana to continue doing what we love best.

This AAKS Spring/Summer 2019 collection brings on new structural shapes hand crafted skilfully by our master artisan weavers in Ghana using locally sourced raffia which is the main material for our products; and please do not forget our new cutie bell leather tassel which gives our bags that extra edge.

The most exciting part of our last 6 months has been the incredible collaborations we have done with some of our exciting brand partners around the world.

We teamed up with Japanese store United Arrows to create this year’s exclusive power colour collection which we automatically fell in love with as you know how much we love colour. This wasn’t a challenge for us to go completely crazy !

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The Bamford collection was our second one and in collaboration with UK’s organic farm Daylesford Organic, this was an exciting minimalist challenge for us to rethink our core design of craftsmanship and to create a unique yet toned down version of our bags in soft tones of navy’s , naturals and with little hints of red too for the season. We stripped away colour but injected the bags with some of our key leather finishing which automatically gave the bags that extra edge. 

We then worked on a fun carefree collection with Global Goods Partners which we instantly fell in love as we havent done baskets like this before. The oohs and ahhh in the studio said it all. These cute baskets with raffia pompoms were to die for!

And last but not the least we are starting this high summer off well by stocking our collection with Urban Outfitters after doing so for the past 4 years each season. This calls for a little celebration! Our worldwide stockists Ashepa in Singapore, Ichyulu in Kenya and Go kigali in Rwanda has also stuck with us along this wonderful journey for many years and we are so happy to be doing what we love best and having the trusted confidence from big stores around the world each year!




Our Spring / Summer 2019 Collection ‘Tribe' is a collection of bags skilfully handcrafted by our master artisan weavers in Ghana using locally sourced raffia.

AAKS takes on its inspiration this season from the spirit of Africa and its tribal communities. Communities bursting with colour, resilience and fortitude and created a fun dialogue between architecture and culture creating silhouettes which are spirited in a range of refined colour palettes. The 'Tribe' collection seeks to inspire and thrill all hand woven bag fans around the world.

This new collection continues to echo our core signature of contrasting patterns and fusion of contemporary colours, which underlines our design aesthetic.

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Our Weaving for Change initiative in Burkina Faso is growing steadily! I paid a visit to my team in Ouagadougou to visit our weavers, see beautiful artisan projects around the city and to explore the art and design scene in Ouagadougou. Leaving the AAKS studio in Ghana for a while also helped me to disconnect and have some fresh air to think about the new projects with a different perspective. Feeling fully energised and ready to get things going!



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Our handwoven bags are showcasing at ‘The Shop Blue Bird’ in an exclusive pop up titled ‘Between Us’ celebrating African Design. An event where 20 African brands connect with buyers, key influencers and investors from all around the globe. This unique event is brought by Lagos Fashion Week, a platform dedicated to fostering market access for sustainable and innovative businesses ran by African entrepreneurs.


We are also delighted to be stocked in our first ever store in Sweden The White Label Project a global platform that empowers crafters and creatives.

View our full stockist list here




AAKS is looking for a Design Assistant Intern to join our team in Ghana! The Design Assistant Intern will assist with all our day to day studio activities including design, creation of our hand woven bags, quality control and graphic design work to name a few. He/She will gain an invaluable experience with the logistics of running a small international company while learning about the fields of design, production, marketing and international development.

About the Job: 

  • Contribute in the design and development of our seasonal collections, researching into our creative brief, identifying key trends, creating inspirational mood boards and innovative ideas.

  • Have experience in computer skills such as Adobe Programs to be able to do all design work, technical drawings etc.

  • Have a good partnership and contributing to our product development team to make sure our products look well finished and beautiful before shipping it to our final costumer. This may sometimes include sewing and adding other finishing touches. 

  • Take part in all our social media management from photoshoot of our products to creating new post ideas for our social media feeds.

About you: 

  • Fashion/Textile/Product/Graphic Design Student or Graduate

  • Knowledge and passion for contemporary fashion design, trends, basketry, branding and hand made products

  • Knowledge and interest in Africa, women’s empowerment and artisans.

  • Strong organisational skills, project management and attention to detail.

  • High energy team player with willingness to pitch in when needed.

  • Crafty-ness a big plus!

  • Ability to adapt to new cultures and simple living conditions. 

  • Computer Skills Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign

Dates: 3 - 6 months (February through December 2019)

Application Instructions: To apply, please email info@aaksonline.com with: (a) name of specific job title in the subject line (b) your CV, (c) a thoughtful cover letter.

Please note that this is an unpaid position. School credit can be arranged upon request. 





Augustina, 27

Augustina is an example of perseverance. She studies fashion while working part time with us in the AAKS studio. She says working here has helped her to have a better understanding of material and discovered the « real life » of a fashion brand. It’s Augustina who creates meticulously each tassel and all leather weaving aspects of our bags. After a long day studying and working, she still finds the energy to look for inspiration to create new designs.  


Sarah, 21

Sarah is the youngest in our team. This talented lady had just finished high school in Accra the capital city when she joined us a year ago. She is in charge of the quality control of our raw materials before it gets to our weavers. She also takes care of the leather and bag finishings which she says is her favourite work for its soothing aspect. When she’s not working on making your bag impeccable, she is reading books, her favourite hobby and spends hours reading every novel she can get her hands on!


Christabel, 22

Christabel is a tourism student at Kwame Nkrumah Science and Technology University in Ghana and has been working with us for two years now. She comes to the studio on a part time basis and takes care of all hand sewing of our bags. She is passionate about music and is a really good singer - not to mention her amazing dancing skills! You should see her dancing while stitching, its very impressive.

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Yaw, 37
Yaw was the first person to join me at the studio when I started AAKS in 2014. He learnt how to sew when he was 20 years old and from then he hasn’t stopped. He is hardworking and takes care of all the sewing at the studio and also oversees the wetting process of our bags, to ensure they get the perfect shape. The coolest thing is that he designs his own clothes using African print fabrics and he looks amazing in it!


Monica, 28

Monica has been working with us for a year and half now. She knows pretty much everything about AAKS and very meticulous. She studied Home Economics and majored in Fashion at Winneba University in Ghana. She is a pattern making genius and also takes care of the lining and finishings our bags. When she is not making magic in the studio, you can find her painting, drawing and designing clothes. And she also makes delicious cakes!




From New York to Paris with love!

After a stop in New York to attend NY NOW and a fortuitous encounter with the inspiring Iris Apfel, I arrived in Paris just in time for Maison & Objet!

For the second year in a row we showcased our bags at the not-to-be-missed Parisian design rendez-vous. We also presented our first home décor line - handmade by Malian artisans in collaboration with the UNHCR.

From a business-oriented perspective, participating in trade shows is an efficient way to drive sales for the brand. But for those of you who are used to traveling the globe to take part in such events, you know there is more to it than just financial gain. It is also a great opportunity to meet up with knowledgeable people with a keen eye for design and fashion products. At Maison & Objet, the various backgrounds of attendees opened the way for engaging conversations about the creative process and concept behind our hand-woven lamps and bags. If you have the opportunity to join in next year, I would highly recommend it!  And yes, you will connect with buyers from top European stores too.




The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Akosua Afriyie-Kumi (AAKS) are looking for a Design Assistant to join our team in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

The Design Assistant will play an essential role in the day to day operations on the ground in our Ouagadougou office. He/She will oversee all aspects of the design project by working alongside artisans in product development of a home deco product, creation of three-dimensional prototypes, quality control, shipments, purchasing and managing necessary supplies for projects and liaising with artisans in various locations in Burkina Faso. He/She must be able to work independently, set up and run a design studio in Ouagadougou while working closely with the creative director of AAKS in Ghana.

He/She will gain an invaluable experience of working in a small international design company while learning about the fields of design, production and international development.

Candidate Profile:

  • Fashion/Textile/Product Design Graduate

  • Knowledge of contemporary fashion design, trends, basketry, embroidery and hand
    made products

  • Knowledge and interest in Africa, women’s empowerment and artisans

  • High energy team player with willingness to pitch in wherever needed

  • Strong project management and organisational skills plus an attention to detail

  • Crafty-ness a big plus!

  • Ability to adapt to new cultures and simple living conditions

  • French Proficiency

  • Computer Skills Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, Excel and Word


  • Dates: Immediate / Full Time / Paid Role

  • Application Instructions: To apply, please email info@aaksonline.com with: (a) name of specific job title in the subject line (b) your CV, (c) a thoughtful cover letter.




We participated in a Start Up Night! Africa-London, an event that connects African women entrepreneurs to buyers, key influencers and investors from all around the globe. This unique event is brought by Lionesses of Africa and Standard Bank, a platform dedicated to fostering market access for sustainable and innovative businesses ran by African women.

While I was preparing my pitch I reflected about my journey as a fashion entrepreneur, the many challenges I had overcome and how central it is to meet people. Sharing my story behind AAKS is always exciting and hearing sound advice and feedbacks from people with different backgrounds is a real bonus. I also had the chance to chat with the other designers and entrepreneurs invited to showcase their work. Telling our stories as African women entrepreneurs and being allowed to do so in front of a receptive audience is genuinely beneficial. They say the future is female, don’t they?



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Our lamps are handwoven with heart by refugee artisans in Burkina Faso. Practicing a time honoured Malian weaving technique, the artisans use a needle to wrap strands of organic cotton threads and leather around bunches of straw to create tightly coiled structure. It resulted in a beautiful range of lamps in kaleidoscopic yellows, rustics reds, and blues combined with natural tones. Depending on the size and shape, each lamp can take a weaver anywhere between 1 - 2 months to make! The collection offers open and semi closed shades. When lit, the crocheted surface gives a gentle glow to the pendant light.

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The home décor project titled ‘Weaving for Change’ reflects the preservation of a timely honoured Malian weaving technique of the Tuareg community from Northern Mali, who are living as refugees in Burkina Faso. Behind every handcrafted lamp you will find a cultural identity of the Tuareg.

The design combines craftsmanship of unique artisanal skills and techniques in basketry; an important activity carried out by Tuareg and Fulani/Peulh women who weave with straw and yarn to make traditional basket lids for food platters used during celebrations in their communities.

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The artisans use a needle and thread to wrap hand-dyed strands of organic yarns and leather around bunches of straw to create tightly coiled, durable lamps shades in an impressive range of patterns and colours. The result is a beautiful range of lamps in kaleidoscopic yellows, tone down reds, reds, blues and rustic oranges combined with natural straw and hints of vegetable tan leather, bronze and copper metal finishing. The collaboration of textures and tones is crucial to the cohesion of the overall design ideas.

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 Depending on the size and shape, each lamp can take one weaver anywhere from 2weeks to 1 month to make!  The collection seeks to offer open and semi closed shades with direct light source. When lit, the handcrafted crocheted surface gives the entire shade an effervescent glow which captures the perfect equilibrium between light and shade.


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AAKS wishing you a Happy New Year!

We had a blast in 2017 and want to celebrate all of you - Our partners, followers and friends. Thank you to inspiring fashion influencers such as Parysatis and Celmatique who captured our brand stories through pictures, the coolest concept stores around the world stocking our bags such as Beymen in Turkey, Urban Outfitters, Ibu Movement , Papaya sunset in Senegal and United Arrows in Japan.

2017 has been so exciting. Thank you CNN, Vogue Italia, Design Sponge and Nataal for supporting emerging African brands, believing in us and helping us share our precious artisanal Ghanaian heritage stories all over the world.

Always remember we are spreading the love one bag at a time, with a little help from our wonderful artisans too.

We look forward to a more colourful 2018! 





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Do you remember our Weaving for Change Project in Burkina Faso?! Here is a little update on whats been happening.

I went back to Burkina Faso these past months to work intensely on this very special weaving project in partnership with the UNHCR. I have been developing a beautifully hand-woven lamp collection with Tuareg refugee women weavers from Mali.  

Our first prototypes exceeded our expectations and we hope you will like our home decor product line as much as we do. It will showcase traditional Tuareg weaving techniques with a contemporary twist. 

Make sure to follow our adventures as we will be sharing more of the project and journey in the coming weeks/months. 

To know more about our work in Burkina Faso, read our first article just here. . . .


Words by Neith Assogbavi and Pictures by Wouster Elsen