Raffia reminds us of being little, stretched out on mats with the promise of airy verandas shielding us from the unbearable heat. It reminds us of baskets and bags in a time when our mothers were arguably fashion forward, and we? We didn’t care much for what was in our wardrobes so long as it was pretty and got the other kids a bit jealous.
Raffia reminds us of sunny beaches, warm sand between our toes, and hats perched comfortably on our heads. It reminds us of villages, with thatched-roofed huts spread sporadically across uneven ground covered in red sand.
Now, A A K S reminds us of this neglected element and the thriving art, weaving these distant memories into statement pieces of fashion, so that materialized from the wefts of each bag are reflections of the past reinvented into modernity.
If the beautiful craftsmanship didn’t tug at our hearts so fiercely, the nostalgia the bags brought back in waves had us swooning. We might not be able to relive those simple pleasures of innocent youth, but we can definitely capture the feeling when we have these bags on our arms.
In a small tranquil village in the Northern region of Ghana, hamlets scatter over the savannah as far as your eyes can see. A group of local artisan weavers sit under a huge baobab tree laughing away, on close inspection you see piles of colourful raffia and in between the noise of chatter and laughter these women are hard at work. Their hands move so skilfully and with an innate knowledge tending to a craft that has been handed down by generations. This craft is the art of weaving and the foundation of the brand, A A K S.
A A K S produces raffia bags handmade by a women’s cooperative in Bolgatanga, northern Ghana. The brand produces luxurious handmade accessories using ethical processes and age-old craft traditions. Akosua Afriyie-Kumi‘s purpose was to show that Ghana can do luxury, modern and on trend without losing its African soul or aesthetic. Woven, while incorporating the use of raffia and leather, A A K S hopes to contribute to the revival and sustenance of weaving as a thriving art by modernizing it to meet international standards of design.
I draw my bag designs from photographs, historical and contemporary fine art, and fashion photography pictures which resonate with me and also architecture.
I would love to move into clothes and print design as its been a great passion of mine. Nonetheless, I am very keen to explore the accessories and home interior area in fashion too.