Founded in 2014 by Akosua Afriyie-Kumi, AAKS puts forth a line of flamboyant, woven raffia accessories handcrafted by women in Ghana. Afriye-Kumi's work has carved her a spot as a frontrunner on the West African design scene, and in 2020, the brand was proclaimed by Nylon as one of “5 African Brands You Need To Know Now.” Having begun her brand out of a desire to preserve traditional weaving techniques, which had survived within local tribes for generations, Afriyie-Kumi was further driven by her dedication to providing a sustainable source of income for local artisans.
Speaking to Nylon, Afriyie-Kumi recalled her childhood memories of seeing basket bags everywhere in her native country, explaining, “I remember having a lot of ‘I wish it was more like this, I wish it was more like that’ moments. I wanted it softer, almost foldable, and also more colorful with a beautiful finish and detail.” Using this as her starting point, the designer sought to evolve the classic ancestral basket bag by implementing her own creative spin, while still maintaining the authentic craftsmanship and durability of its original design. The raffia used to craft AAKS pieces is sustainably farmed by a family-run business in Northern Ghana—and the designer was drawn to the organic material due to its sturdy, yet biodegradable nature.
One of the label’s most recognizable designs is the Baw Pot Bag, which has become a recurring staple each season. This piece—which is a hybrid between a bucket bag and a traditional basket “Bolga” bag—is a bestseller and a cult favorite among the brand’s dedicated fanbase.
Fashions Finest Africa, Bag Designer of the Year Nominee, 2019
Future Awards Africa, Ghana Prize For Fashion & Design Nominee, 2018
Vogue Italia Scouting for Africa, Finalist, 2015
Reconnect Ghana Spotlight, Honouree, 2014