A A K S is a handcrafted luxury handbag brand founded in 2014 by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi. It is her name that forms the acronym A A K S. The Ghanaian brand started with Akosua’s goal to introduce the world to her favorite weaving techniques! Her bags are made by local artisans in Ghana. Some of the things A A K S seeks to address include:
- Detailed attention to craftsmanship, authenticity and ethical values
- A strong sense of identity and quality
- Creating collections that tell a different story through detail, color and shape
- To give a unique A A K S stamp to every piece
About the Founder and the Inspiration Behind the Brand
Akosua Afriyie-Kumi is a Ghanaian native with a BA (Hons) Fashion degree from Kingston University London. She grew up in Ghana with a passion for art. This led her to leave Ghana to study in England to broaden her mind and gain more experience. Once finished, she returned to Ghana to support the creative industry in the country and to build a luxury African brand which led to the birth of A A K S. The drive to pursue her passion came from noticing the gap in the market for beautifully handcrafted luxury bags made with locally sourced materials.
Akosua is currently based in Ghana and occasionally travels to and throughout Europe and Africa to collaborate with other local artisans and also gain more inspiration for her brand.
In addition to designing and weaving bags, Akosua loves photography. She draws inspiration from the things she photographs whenever she travels. She also says she is inspired by the strong desire to create a unique kind of handcrafted bag. Something unique she can twist to her taste – softer, foldable and with blends of colors.
What makes A A K S Proudly African?
The A A K S products are made by local artisan weavers who sit under a baobab tree to create woven bags together while having fun. The women make these bags with raffia which is soft and creates softer and foldable bags. Raffia is a great choice, not just because it is soft, but also for its organic, natural, renewable and biodegradable nature. Raffia comes in different colors and is woven with leather. With a dedication to modern style, while incorporating handed down traditional skills, it takes about a week to make a bag. In this way each bag tells the story of the artisan who made it. There is a signature tag to every piece to guarantee authenticity.
The raffia is harvested from local farmers in Ghana, which helps to grow the economy. The brand also helps reduce the unemployment rate. They create sustainable jobs for the women who constantly weave the bags.
A A K S aims to renew some of the old traditional skills and techniques to compete with the international standard of design. This will help them be fit for the modern fashion individual!
Achievements so far:
- Shortlisted as an emerging designer from Africa by Vogue Italia
- Featured by Elle Decoration, Vogue, CNN Forbes Women Africa, Guardian UK and more
- The woven bag collections are now in about 60 stores worldwide
The Future for A A K S
Akosua has plans to venture into clothes and print designs for her brand and also intends to explore the home interior area in the fashion industry. But before that, her plan is to build a solid foundation and make an indelible mark with her bags.