Authentically Woven, Iconically Refined: How an emerging Ghanaian brand is rethinking an ancient craft.
Brands are like global ambassadors that immortalise cultural periods, bridging customers together across time zones and generations. It is hard to think about France without thinking of their most notable fashion brands like Louis Vuitton or Cartier, but that is not the case for African nations. Outside of breathtaking tourist attractions and natural resources, the continent is unrepresented among major brands. In addition, creativity is rarely held in high esteem across the continent, leading to a devaluation of African innovation.
Luckily, contemporary African creatives across the diaspora are approaching this dilemma with a fresh set of ideas. Introducing A A K S, the emerging Ghanaian accessory brand that is taking African craftsmanship to new territories. Founded by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, A A K S took raffia, a natural fibre, with great ethical values from obscurity and repurposed it into luxury patterns and hues.
Handcrafted is the A A K S brand philosophy and production is rooted in traditional weaving techniques passed down from generations of iteration. The body of each bag is hand-woven by weavers from the Northern Region of Ghana in a small tranquil town called Bolgatanga. The woven body is then transported to the main A A K S studio in Kumasi, where the linen and cotton linings are sewn, buckles are hand stitched, and leather straps are secured to complete the bags. Following a final quality check, the bags are then shipped to 27 worldwide partner stores, including Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters.
Creating a handcrafted product has always been the goal of the brand. Founder Akosua shared that, “we strive to be a transparent sustainable brand that designs small capsule collections, allowing us to focus on quality and authenticity. In the long run we hope that our brand will drive the revival and sustenance of weaving as a thriving art.” An inherent part of their business is to support the surrounding craftsmen and farmers, using locally sourced raffia and organically made dyes. On a continent where environmental health is lagging, sustainability is at the core of A A K S.
Weaving affords the women and men steady incomes, empowering them to become independent as they create a refined luxury good. Each artisanal weaver brings lasting originality to A A K S and we know customers will sense the dignity and ownership put into each bag.