Studio 189s new store in Accra
Imagine a fashion label that delivers elegant contemporary lines, luxurious fabrics, fresh bold ethnic prints, lavish Italian trims, androgynous designs (great excuse to buy more… “But, they’ll fit you too boo!” Wink! Wink!), and all impeccably finished. Add to that the label being internationally acclaimed, worn by A-listers across the Atlantic, AND ethically produced right here in Ghana! Sound like a dream come true? Well, Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah’s Studio 189 is exactly that, and more.
A buyer's guide to Kente cloth
Vivid colour and complex patterns are an essential part of the landscape in Accra and this is reflected in the textiles worn by Ghanaian women. In the typically bold palette, jewel tones, fragmented floral patterns, illusory monochromes and practically every other conceivable combination of colour and texture are realised. Wildly patterned wax-printed batik cloth is extremely egalitarian in Accra. Street vendors and socialites both wear it. A clear difference in quality may be evident but to the spectator the net effect is of cultural unification. Reinterpreting wax-printed fabrics has become extremely popular, and the results are a gorgeous synthesis of traditional and modern fashion.One of the most recognisable symbols of Ghana, kente, an Asante ceremonial cloth, represents numerous aspects of Ghanaian ethical, philosophical, social and religious heritage through variations in colour and pattern. Initially, kente was strictly owned by Asante royalty who kept it for social and spiritual assemblies. Hand-woven silk or cotton yarns are spun into four-inch wide lengths to weave kente. These pieces are arranged and hand sewn together to create a large panel. Although machine made kente is now widely available, it is still reserved for formal occasions. The dramatic colour and texture in kente is echoed in wax-printed fabric. It's an attractive surrogate of kente and it too has cultural resonance and legacies.Ghana inherited the wax printing technique from Indonesian batik import
An African City like no other
If you have not yet heard of the YouTube serial, An African City, very much the African cultural zeitgeist of the moment, it is time to emerge from under your rock and into the bright lights of Accra, the bustling metropolis in which the popular programme is shot. The brainchild of writer, Nicole Armateifio, An African City follows the colourful lives of five contemporary African women – Nana Yaa, Zainab, Ngozi, Sade and Makena – with unflinching candor and humour, charting their experiences as empowered women under the African sun. Much like its muse, Sex and The City, the series makes a full-fledged character out of its location: Accra. From the very moment in episode one when the parade of headlights on Osu’s Oxford Street usher Nana Yaa (the character who has just returned from the diaspora) home, Accra makes its presence known. As dominant as Accra on the programme, is Accra’s fashion – the sixth protagonist, if you will; it is impossible to watch an episode without being captivated by the costuming. The sartorial choices of the characters are employed to imbue the women they play with sense of charisma, uniqueness, nerve and verve, as fashion often does, while unifying them with the very city in which they live. As art often imitates life, the actresses behind the series’ archetypes are themselves brazen women with compelling individual style, who can testify that Accra is an African city like no other. And testify they have! Meet the ladies of An African City and st
My Accra: Nada Moukarzel
Where do you take visitors to eat? I'm lucky enough to be involved with four exciting restaurant concepts in Ghana. I take guests to dine at Urban Grill to experience our unique Afro-Latino concept there, and to Santoku for fine Japanese fusion food. Coco Lounge is great for day-time brasserie dining too. Where would you put up your friends who come to stay? Of course close friends and family stay at our home, where the architect Hubert du Givenchy recently designed our pool house, which is a self-contained guesthouse as well. In terms of hotels, Labadi Beach Hotel means guests can relax beside the sea or La Villa Boutique hotel is good for those wanting to feel in the centre of things in Osu. Where do you escape from the city? On the wonderful beaches of Cape Coast, Kakum and Elmina. Where do you shop? I'm a very eclectic shopper, buying from inspiring places all over the world for my La Maison stores. In Ghana, Vlisco is not to be missed for fabrics, and Wild Gecko is great for local craft. What sights do you think visitors shouldn’t miss? They should tour the markets and enjoy the crazy, weekly carnival that is Labadi Beach! What do you miss about Ghana when you travel? My home, which is filled with Ghanaian art that I’ve collected over two decades. What Ghanaian music is on your playlist? Producer Panji Anoff is always working on amazing mixes, one of which he is launching at the Beyond exhibition at La Maison in October 2015. What souvenirs do you
The best shopping malls in Accra
We put the vote to you, and these are the results of the best shopping malll category in our Rate Your City campaaign
The best shops in Accra
Wild Gecko Handicrafts
This multi-faceted workshop-cum-art-emporium is the joint brainchild of Poem, a Dutch woman who has lived in Ghana nearly all of her life, and Elizabeth...
The best souvenir and craft shops in Accra
Wild Gecko Handicrafts
This multi-faceted workshop-cum- art-shop emporium is foremost a workshop employing artisans for the production of characteristically Ghanaian emblematic Adinkra collectables, beautifully finished wooden furniture, ceramics, bespoke textiles and jewellery wrought of silver and bull horn. It is brimming with handmade art objects, collectables, homewares, furniture, hand bags, musical instruments, soaps, Ghanaian children’s books, bangles and other design products. Although Wild Gecko sources from across Africa, many of the items are local, and often from humanitarian projects in Ghana.
This wonderful store is run by the NGO, Women in Progress (see www. womeninprogress.org for more details). Everthing here is fairly traded and made in Ghana, mostly by women. Anything the creative women in co-operatives around Ghana can come up with is brought here. There are tote bags made from old flour sacks, home decoration items, even body butter and soaps made from shea. There are clothes for men, women and children of all ages. Most garments are colourful batik designs, tie-dye and prints.
An Osu store is an extremely welcome addition to the remarkable success story that is Trashy Bags. The initiative was set up in 2008 as a means of recycling and reusing the endless plastic water and yoghurt wrappers deposited on the streets of Accra – more than 20 million plastic sachets have since been collected. The refuse is washed and treated before being stitched together to form bags and accessories. The project employs a full-time staff of around 60, as well as paying a legion of litter-pickers for their efforts. Given the nature of high-sugar food packaging, the products themselves tend to be extremely colourful – the range includes everything from shoulder bags and backpacks to rain macs and briefcases. They also use large old canvas banners to produce bags reminiscent of the recycled Freitag products.
Joe’s Perspective Art Boutique
This luxury art boutique set up by Kukua Ampah has recently opened a branch at the new Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel. Many of the elegant and creative pieces here are bespoke, adapted by Kukua herself, who incorporates the rich cultural influences of West Africa into modern works of art. A key range comprises her elegant metal flowing sculptures, partly polished, partly left to gather the natural colours of metal. Beautiful. A great place for a classy souvenir.
The best shopping in Accra
There’s no more colourful way to shop in Accra than by sampling its many markets.
Beauty & health
There are plenty of spas, treatment rooms, and gyms to make sure you look your best
We've scoured the best delis, supermarkets, street markets and independent shops to find the best places for food and drink.
Malls & department stores
Much of the shopping – from the weekly grocery shop – to finding that LBD for the evening's party is done in a mall or one of the multifacted megastores. Here are the best.
Where to pick up a unique souvenir
Accra's best boutiques
From cutting-edge fashion designers making waves around the world to local shops selling the best fabrics and beads, here are the best places to shop
The best places for sport and fitness in Accra
Pulse Fitness Gym
There are two gyms run by Pulse. One on the World Trade Centre in downtown Accra and another, that we’ve seen, at Lizzy Sports Complex. At the latter there’s a huge range of machines, plus a couple of large studios. There’s a range of classes, including spinning, body pump, kickboxing and African dance. Other location World Trade Center, Accra Central (024 268 3283).
Pippa’s Health Centre, Osu
Pippa’s is one of the best gyms in Accra, with a wide range of Life Fitness equipment, air-con, satellite TV and a modern music system. It has a wide variety of activities on offer, including body combat, spinning, pilates, zumba and modern African dance. For the little ones there’s a tumble-tots class. Taekwondo is an important element, and classes are held by one of Africa’s best Taekwondo fighters. The on-site Mandy Fouracre Dance Academy has a programme for children between three and seven, and jazz and ballet for ages seven to 18. There’s a variety of beauty treatments are available, with a full range of pampering options.
Accra Polo Club
Anyone interested in hobnobbing with the city’s elite can head to the prestigious Accra Polo Club (Liberation Rd, Airport Residential Area, 0302 772 775), located behind the Woolworths building. Originally founded back in 1902, the club is still going strong, attracting monied expats from around the world. The polo season starts in September and runs until around Easter. Matches are held every Saturday and Sunday from 3pm. It’s a good chance for anyone new to the sport to learn about polo – local spectators are talkative and will fill you in on the game’s rules and point system. The best bet is to turn up – occasionally there’s a charge, especially for the big games. Several national teams visit Accra every season.
Ohene Djan Stadium
Up to FIFA standards, this venue hosts national team games and is the home of one of Ghana’s most popular teams, Hearts of Oak. Concerts and other public events are also held here. The stadium hosted the opening and closing games of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations.