I have always been obsessed with other women's stories. Their journeys. It can be motivating, inspiring and life affirming. With that in mind, I have decided to do a series of interviews with women who are forging their own paths in their respective fields. Brave, real women who inspire me and hopefully inspire you too.
This interview is with fabulous fashion designer Akosua Afriyie-Kumi aka AAKs who left London to start her ethical accessories label in Ghana.
You started your journey in fashion design in London and you've had a wealth of experience working for different fashion houses, what experience stands out to you?
Working with Peter Pilotto and William Tempest has to be my two favourites, I learnt the ropes of the business of fashion, how to research and design and really the background experience of a fashion label which you are never taught at university.
What motivated you to leave London and start working on your label in Ghana?
I always wanted to start a small business and see it grow and with a wealth of experience I knew it was the perfect time to move on and really get my collection out there. I just had to do it, it felt right.
What's the ethos behind the AAKS Brand?
The brand's core values can be summed as: a critical attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values in their production while having a strong sense of identity and quality.
You take amazing photographs, do these inspire your creative process?
Yes it really does, The soft tones of colours in nature always inspires me. My recent collection was inspired by my sunset pics from cape town, I make sure I have a camera in hand almost every time the sun is about to set.
With creating the start up, what has been the biggest challenge so far?
My biggest challenge has to be juggling everything together at once. When you are a start up business you are really alone, I juggle my accounts, travelling 8 hours to production sites for sampling, design and research. You get the best of all worlds under one roof but sometimes its quite difficult as decision making can be quick and once its been said you can’t go back on it !
What has been your greatest achievement?
Communicating my ideas to a group of weavers in the Northern Region of Ghana who don’t speak any English or my local language. It was a tough journey but we have progressed so much and I am over the moon.
What's next for AAKS?
A wonderful launch party I am planning in Accra, Ghana very soon...
Fashion is notoriously difficult to get into, what advice would you give aspiring designers?
I would say be yourself because uniqueness always shines through in fashion and that's what customers want to see.
Aside from fashion, what gets you excited?
Sports get me very excited, I am into playing Golf now, my trainer is looking forward to winning a lot of competitions with me. The pressure!
Thanks so much, AAKS!
You can find out more about AAKS and shop their latest collection by visiting their website.
Images courtesy of AAKS
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