Akosua Afriyie-Kumi’s ethical fashion brand AAKS has been producing handcrafted luxury handbags in Ghana since 2014 and these days she's spreading the love worldwide. The designer blends traditional African textiles and craftsmanship with contemporary designs – an approach that is a result of her experiences both at home and abroad as well as a reflection of how deeply interwoven she is with her canny business strategy and heartfelt creative vision. And as her blazing SS17/18 collection makes abundantly clear, she’s rather partial to African sunsets, too. . . Read more on Nataal.com
I got the chance to showcase my newest Spring/Summer 2018 collection of bags at Pitti Super tradeshow in Milan, a three-day event brought by Pitti Immagine and fully dedicated to women’s prêt-à-poter and accessories.
The tradeshow was indeed part of the Milan Fashion Week’s agenda and exclusively aimed at professional key players from the fashion industry. It attracted more than 4700 buyers from all over the world and surely boosted my brand visibility and sales opportunities.
I could not have been happier to present my work in such conditions and with the endless support from Style House Files/Lagos Fashion & Design Week - a fashion platform that showcases emerging brands from the African continent. Together, with three other incredible designers (Loza Maléombho, Grey, Gozel Green) I made the most of my Italian adventure and enjoyed being part of this dynamic environment.
words by Neith Assogbavi
WEAVING FOR CHANGE - BURKINA FASO
I am very happy to tell you more about my partnership with the UNHCR Refugee Artisan Project. A project I have been working on for a few months now. I had the chance to travel to Ouagadougou and Dori in the Sahel Regions of Burkina Faso to collaborate with Malian refugees who possess unique traditional skills of weaving. These crafts hold a great potential and we believe strongly that they should be brought to light.
Indeed international markets’ consumers are seeking more and more meaningful and authentic artisanal goods. This one of a kind collaboration aims at enabling refugees to become self-reliant and earn decent income while sustaining their artistic traditions.
Our collaboration will consist of a home interior line mixing traditional weaving techniques and contemporary designs.
Merging my expertise as a designer with their exceptional skills and motivation is a new step in the development of my brand and I am looking forward to sharing more with you once launched at the end of 2017!
In the mean time here is a snippet of the beginning of our collaboration.
Words by Neith Assogbavi
I had the pleasure of presenting my work during the first edition of LFDW X Red Door Gallery, a new design event brought by Style House Files and Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) – a leading event on the African fashion calendar. It was held at the beautiful Red Door Gallery in Lagos. Founded in 2011, this fashion platform showcases the work of emerging Nigerian designers, bringing together buyers, consumers and the media.
This year, the main theme was Identity, and as the only designer from outside Nigeria I was honoured to bring a little bit of my Ghanaian heritage to the table. This event was also a great opportunity to gain more visibility in the country while meeting with some of their most talented designers such as Lisa Folawiyo, Maki Oh, Orange Culture, and shoe designer Shem Paronelli to only name a few.
Attending events across the continent is always a very enriching experience. More than a simple fashion event, the platform is created by Style House Files, and founded by Omoyemi Akerele is a new rendez-vous not to be missed for emerging brands in Nigeria and dedicated to design.
I made new friends, clients and stockists such as Alara and of course new AAKS aficionados. Despite my short stay, I took advantage of this trip to get lost in the bustling streets of Lagos and discovered some amazing places such as Lekki Market.
Needless to say that I am looking forward to my next visit to Nigeria!
Words by Neith Assogbavi
UNHCR / AAKS/ DESIGN FOR PEACE
DESIGN ASSISTANT INTERNSHIP
February through July 2017
Ghana and Burkina Faso
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and Akosua Afriyie-Kumi (AAKS) are looking for a Design Assistant Intern to join our team. The Design Assistant will assist with design, research, technical drawings and creating three-dimensional prototypes of a home interior product with artisanal groups in Burkina Faso. He or She will work closely with the creative director of AAKS in Ghana through the conception of the design project and later travel to Burkina Faso to work on handmade home interior prototypes with artisanal groups on a unique project set by the UNHCR.
He/She will gain an invaluable experience of working in a small international design company in two different countries while learning about the fields of design, production and international development.
• Textile/ Fashion Student or Graduate
• Knowledge of contemporary fashion design, trends, basketry, embroidery and hand made products.
• Efficiency in conception of design project to its manifestation
• Knowledge and interest in Africa, women’s empowerment and artisans.
• High-energy team player with a willingness to pitch in wherever needed
• Strong organisational skills and attention-to-detail
• Quick learner and problem-solver
• Crafty-ness a big plus!
• French proficiency
• Ability to adapt to new cultures and simple living conditions
• Computer skills Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator (Highly recommended)
Design and research into key trends and ideas
Assist in specification drawings
Work alongside artisans to develop design prototypes in Burkina Faso
Dates: February through July 2017
PAID 6 Months Internship
Application Instructions: To apply, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with: (a) name of specific internship in the subject line (b) your CV, (c) a thoughtful cover letter.
We are inspired by Africa and the vibrant colours of canary yellow which can also be found in our Baw Pot Bag! See our inspirations in our mood board below.
Join us at the exclusive Pop-Up Shop of the inconic African brand AAKS handcrafted as it presents a capsule collection of African handmade accessories this summer.
3rd June: 6pm - 10pm
Opening Night with Drinks and Collection Viewing
4th June: 2pm - 5pm
Bracelets/ Tassel Weaving Workshop for mothers, children and adults interested in learning how to weave little items for fun.
8th June: 6 - 8pm
Tapestry Weaving Workshop for individuals who want to use their hand skills to create a small piece to hang at home.
10th June: Closing Night Party with Drinks 6pm - 10pm
Crystal Homes Cantoments,
(Near Togo Embassy)
General Opening Times: 10AM - 7PM Everyday.
See you there, Its going to be fabulously fashionable!
Sponsored by Design Network Africa
How to style your AAKS Ambi bag for an art exhibition.