There’s so much beauty in the handcrafted products created by the artisans at AAKS, and that beauty is magnified a hundred times over when you learn about the craftsmanship and intricate weaving that goes into each and every item. Color, shape, size and style are all masterfully detailed to create a unique and authentic product that’s exquisite, durable and functional too. Add to this the ethical values that the company embraces—creating sustainable jobs within Ghana, using raw materials that are native to the land and empowering women with gainful employment—and you will be tempted to purchase every bag, to travel to this magical place and to meet these incredible artisans.
You’ll likely find them gathered under the shade of a baobab tree, surrounded by piles of colourful raffia that’s been ecologically harvested by local family farmers. They laugh and they chat, but their hands never stop moving. Their fingers work so quickly and skillfully that it looks easy. It’s anything but. It takes on average one full week to create one handbag—a testament to the unwavering dedication to each and every stitch.
Each bag carries the fingerprints of the artisan who created it, and a signature is added for authenticity.
Overseeing every step of the design and production process is Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. She is the heart and soul of this company and her commitment to handmade production is unwavering. Afriyie-Kumi founded AAKS in 2014 after returning from London, where she attended university and worked in the fashion industry. Her goal was to introduce the world to the intricate weaving techniques native to Ghana, while celebrating and encouraging economic growth in the area. She divides her time mostly between London and Accra, but travels throughout much of Africa sourcing ideas and inspiration. The vibrant colors in her designs are a testament to her heritage and culture. They are modern styles interpreted with a traditional twist.
One of her most recent projects is ‘Weaving for Change’, a collaboration between AAKS and UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) to create fair and dignified work for refugee artisans in Burkina Faso. By providing training, follow-up support and encouragement, the initiative set out to empower artisans by giving them sustainable tools to work and improve their livelihoods. The result was a stunning, limited edition home decor collection of handcrafted lamps that are both innovative and traditional—much like Afriyie-Kumi herself.
AAKS is always experimenting with new materials but the use of natural fibres remain at the core of what it does. Each bag carries the fingerprints of the artisan who created it, and a signature is added for authenticity. Variations in color and texture are part of the individuality and are deeply celebrated. The handcrafted nature means that every single bag is unique. With AAKS you truly get one of a kind. And the story behind each bag is what makes it so special.