AAKS x Indego Africa: An Interview with Akosua
June 13, 2016
We are so excited to announce our partnership with Ghana-based sustainable accessories brand, AAKS! Founded by Ghanaian designer Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, AAKS is known for its brightly colored, handwoven raffia bags that celebrate the ancestral weaving of northern Ghana, while adding modern design elements and details (like leather straps and tassels.)Akosua created AAKS with the dual goal of introducing the world to her favorite weaving techniques, practiced by the women of Ghana, while also creating and igniting sustainable jobs within Africa. We were so excited to collaborate with AAKS (our first Ghana-based partnership!) both for its amazing design aesthetic and craftsmanship and its admirable social mission.
Our AAKS x Indego Africa collection features three beautifully textured and richly saturated navy and black handbags—a tote, a clutch, and a crossbody bag—all handwoven by AAKS’ artisan partners in Ghana (and accented with fun leather details!) We chatted with Akosua to hear more about her background and inspiration, and to find out what’s up next for her growing accessories brand. Read on for more.
You grew up in Ghana and also
spent time living and studying in London. Can you tell us a little bit about
why it was important to you to return to Ghana & support women there?
Ghana is my home, a beautiful expanse of land, people and culture. It's also where my family lives and a place I am very fond of. I couldn’t have imagined relocating anywhere else. My main aim of studies in the UK was to broaden my mind in my field, gain a wealth of experience and finally come back to Ghana to support the creative art and design industry and build a luxury African brand.
This happened quickly after seeing a gap in the market for beautifully handcrafted luxury bags that would utilise locally sourced materials such as raffia coupled with the traditional art of weaving, I knew I had something great to work towards and made the big move to fulfill my ultimate dream of owning my own fashion brand and igniting sustainable jobs in Ghana and Africa as a whole.
We absolutely love your bags—the natural raw materials, bright colors, and modern aesthetics. What are some of your biggest sources of inspiration?
Thank you! My biggest inspiration is everything around me. I am very inspired by the contrasting painted shacks in Ghana. The colour ways do not always work on paper but they work on the shacks and it’s beautiful. Looking around me really helps broaden my perspective on my surroundings.
Why were you excited to work with Indego Africa?
I have always wanted to work with a company that had a similar brand ethos as AAKS and Indego Africa is the perfect company for me. I love all that it stands for and it’s also where I see my brand in the next couple of years.
What is coming up this summer for AAKS?
I have the most fantastic opportunity through the Design Network Africa to visit Paris and showcase my work at Maison Objet this September and I am also now hosting my very first pop up store/exhibition in Accra, Ghana which I am very excited about. Our online store which we launched a couple of months ago now caters to a global audience and we are happy to focus on growing the brand locally and internationally this year by introducing new lines and ideas.
What is your must do/see/experience travel advice for anyone going to Ghana?
My must-do in Ghana is to visit Cape Coast’s coastal beaches and to go on the adrenaline rush canopy walk through the Kakum Forest!
What product - besides our collab bags! - is your favorite Indego product and why?
I adore the children wear and embroidery products Indego Africa makes. They are so beautiful.
To shop our Indego Africa x AAKS collection, click here.