38. Pal­ette-able

The Hand of Fashion - - CONTENTS - Emerg­ing de­sign­ers from Ghana

As a flag­ship pro­gramme of the In­ter­na­tional Trade Cen­tre and joint agency of the United Na­tions and World Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion, the Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive links the world’s top fash­ion tal­ents to mag­i­nal­ized ar­ti­sans - the majority of them women - in East and West Africa, Haiti and the West Bank. Whilst we are all about cre­at­ing a fairer global fash­ion in­dus­try the Eth­i­cal Fash­ion Ini­tia­tive is also about ad­vo­cat­ing and grow­ing young and emerg­ing fash­ion de­sign­ers from th­ese re­gions. De­sign­ers like Stella Jean, Lisa Foli­wayo, Sophie Zinga, Anita Quansah, Christie Brown, du­aba serwa, Stu­dio One Eighty Nine and MO SAÏQUE are build­ing fol­low­ings in part­ner­ship with the ITC EFI and show­ing in var­i­ous parts of the world. A raft of new African de­sign­ers are springing forth to show there is an abun­dance of fash­ion and de­sign tal­ent in­cu­bat­ing in the re­gion. The ITC EFI has been par­tic­u­larly ac­tive in de­vel­op­ing this tal­ent in West Africa and Ghana in par­tic­u­lar. The Pal­ette As­so­ci­a­tion is a group of Ac­cra-based de­sign­ers who op­er­ate as a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion. The young de­sign­ers work with ITC EFI’s Cre­ative Di­rec­tor in Ghana to “lead col­lab­o­ra­tive prod­uct de­vel­op­ment and fa­cil­i­tate in­ter­me­di­a­tion with in­ter­na­tional and re­gional buy­ers, and pro­vide an in­dus­try fo­cal point for co­or­di­nat­ing ITC support.” Re­cently some of the de­sign­ers par­tic­i­pated in Dutch De­sign Week as part of the MUD show and sev­eral also showed as part of a pres­ti­gious IED (In­sti­tuto Europeo di De­sign) event in Mi­lan in part­ner­ship with SECO (Switzer­land State Sec­re­tariat for Eco­nomic Af­fairs) an event called IED Moda. The Gha­nian de­sign­ers Ako­sua Afriyie-Kumi of AAKS, Klek­leli Dzidzienyo and Netty Anang of Ameyo and two de­signer col­lab­o­ra­tions: Joint Col­lec­tive by Leslie Wiredu and Kofi Gyedu Kwabia and Rad­ford Col­lec­tive by Afua Biney, Papa Op­pong and Michael Owusu made for a strong show along­side Swiss duo Porte­nierRoth who used fab­rics hand-wo­ven in Burk­ina Faso in their col­lec­tion. Other de­sign­ers in the Pal­lette As­so­ci­a­tion in­clude: Á-Côté Col­lec­tion, Ashyenne Cre­ation, Chap­ter-One, Enaj Bi­jou Con­cepts, Jau­nity Ex­pres­sions, Ma­bel

Dress by Améyo at IED Moda. Photo: Paolo Con­saga

Agbo, Metro Gear, Multi Bel­lar, Nuna Cou­ture, Quami Wear, Sam­bal­ake, Tony Black Cou­ture and YedeBeads. Whilst there is clearly a sense of col­lab­o­ra­tion, as­so­ci­a­tion and col­lec­tive thought em­a­nat­ing from the as­so­ci­a­tion’s base in the Gar­ment En­clave sit­u­ated in the North In­dus­trial Area of Ac­cra, there is also a strong sense of the at­tributes and val­ues in­trin­sic to the ITC EFI: crafts­man­ship, em­pow­er­ment, eth­i­cal val­ues and a sense of his­tory and pride in their own cul­ture. Of the de­sign­ers who showed in Mi­lan, Ako­sua Afriyie-Kumi of AAKS is based in both Ghana and London and in­cor­po­rates the use of leather and raf­fia to cre­ate bags hand-crafted by top level lo­cal weavers; Améyo de­sign­ers Klek­leli Dzidzienyo and Netty Anang de­sign and cre­ate fash­ion that is “rel­e­vant in the lives of the in­de­pen­dent mod­ern woman who is cre­ative and so­phis­ti­cated yet likes to show a sim­ple el­e­gant style”; Joint Col­lec­tive de­sign­ers Leslie Wiredu and Kofi Gyedu Kwabia com­bine sharp tai­lor­ing and fem­i­nine shapes, hand-wo­ven cot­ton fab­rics and strik­ing Ghana­ian wax prints. Their de­signs, whilst strong and mil­i­taryin­spired are soft­ened by us­ing soft and airy fab­rics. In Mi­lan they paired their col­lec­tion with Ghana­ian shoe brand Heel The World. Fi­nally, Rad­ford Col­lec­tive is the work of Afua Biney, Michael Owusu and Papa Op­pong, whose art­work and il­lus­tra­tions fea­ture a lit­tle ear­lier in this mag­a­zine. The three stu­dents from Ghana’s Rad­ford Univer­sity fash­ion depart­ment cre­ated a cap­sule col­lec­tion show­cas­ing tal­ent from the coun­try’s premier fash­ion pro­gramme.

With this ground swell of cre­ativ­ity, pro­duc­tion and de­sign tak­ing place in Ac­cra it is clear that the coun­try is build­ing its own foun­da­tion to­ward the growth of African fash­ion and the ITC EFI is proud to be part of it.

A A K S at IED. Photo: Paolo Con­sag

Rad­ford Col­lec­tive at IED Photo: Paolo Con­saga

Ameyo de­signer Netty Anang back­stage with mod­els at the IED Moda show

Ako­sua AfriyieKumi of A A K S work­ing on her bags for the IED Moda show

Watch the film: IED Moda show, Mi­lan by Tolga Dil­siz

Above: Netty Anang and Klek­leli Dzidzienyo of Améyo. This im­age: Kofi Gyedu and Leslie Wiredu of Joint Col­lec­tive. Both images; ITC EFI

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