Anyone who spends any time on Instagram will be familiar with the beautiful hand woven bags from AAKS. The brainchild of Akosua, a young Ghanian who studied fashion in London, the business was born when she returned to Ghana with fresh eyes, and decided to reinvigorate the ancient traditional weaving processes by adding a modern edge. We are total fan-girls of Akosua’s brand and have launched our second collaboration with AAKS - see here.
Charisse Kenion sat down for a (virtual) chat with the Kumasi, Ghana-based Akosua to talk muses.
Charisse Kenion: Who is your muse?
Akosua Afriyie-Kumi: My muse is my mum; she’s the person who pushed me to be where I am. Before I moved to Ghana I was living in London. I had graduated and was looking for a job and was just feeling lost. My mum came to visit and said, ‘why don’t you come to Ghana and start that thing you’re always talking about?’
I packed my bags and I left. Since I got to Ghana my mum, (also named Akosua), has been the one to push me. Trying to start a brand in Ghana was not what I expected, so the fact that she is an entrepreneur herself has been really helpful. She gives me that push and I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for her.
CHK: What’s exciting you right now?
AAK: Lots of things, but especially the weather patterns in Ghana. It can be really sunny and then it will be raining, and then we’ll have these beautiful rainbows. We also have a huge garden, with so many different plants and colours, so I’m definitely inspired by nature and colours – not fashion!
CK: What does your ideal day consist of?
AAK: It’s really work-focused. Before I jumped on this call I was packing boxes downstairs. Of course, I have time to relax and to read but work is my focus right now. I’ll go out into the garden for a few minutes to start my day and at the end of the day I’ll spend time with family. I live to work! I truly enjoy it.
CK: Tell me about your favourite piece of clothing
AAK: I love summery clothing so I’m wearing lots of dresses right now. Lots of cotton dresses – easy and breathable. Then I’ll just wear my flip-flops. Very chilled, easy-going and casual – that’s my working from home look right now.
CK: What kind of music are you listening to right now?
AK: I like covers – I love people covering other people’s music. Like underground musicians that are covering other peoples’ popular music in an acoustic way, or like an indie pop style. There’s a girl I love, Lusaint, very lowkey. And of course; African music, like Burna Boy. Party music!
CK: What is your favourite fragrance?
AAK: Perfume irritates my skin so I make my own fragrance. We have an orange tree in the garden so I’ll take the orange blossom petals and add it to water and use that as a fragrance. I also love to add it to Liha’s Idan Oil – the smell is amazing.
CK: What’s your favourite way to wind down?
AAK: I listen to music. I read – I read a lot when I’ve finished work. I really like to be silent. When I was younger I was super, super hyper, but when I started my brand, and with everything happening around the world, I’m trying to be more calm, silent and mindful. I’ll go to bed early, like 8pm and just read until I fall asleep. Some days, life can feel like a lot, so I try to bring a more calm ending to my day.
CK: Do you have an inner critic?
AAK: Yes I do. I think it’s just having that doubt, questioning: ‘am I doing the right thing?’ I do talk back to myself because it’s I like to have a conversation with that inner critic. Mostly it’s positive! I also really believe in listening to my instincts; if it doesn’t feel right, or if it feels great, that’s what I follow.
To find out more about Akosua’s brand, visit https://www.aaksonline.com