Whether you’re looking for a trendy but tasteful clothing ensemble, a beautiful bold bag to add to your clutch collection, or a gift for a fashion forward friend, these six stylish stores are sure to provide you with an exciting array of women’s clothing and accessories from Ghana’s hottest contemporary fashion labels. Charlotte Prive With their second store having recently opened in Labone, Charlotte Prive is not the closely-guarded secret it used to be. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t find the perfect piece for you. Far from it, in fact, as this luxury high fashion ready-to-wear label also offers custom-made clothing. Elegant flowing fabrics, sophisticated detail, and European cuts are the typical traits of this solely Ghanaian-owned fashion house. Visit the flagship Charlotte store in East Legon or its bright new twin in Labone. For more info see: https://web.facebook.com/charlotteghana/ Christie Brown Anyone with a finger on the pulse of Ghana’s ‘fash pack’ will be familiar with long-time favourite Christie Brown. Having been featured on international runways and stocked both locally and abroad, a visit to the brand’s attractive Osu store is a no-brainer in any search for African-inspired corporate chic, graceful evening wear, and one-of-a-kind accessories. To view the latest Christie Brown collection, and for contact information, see: http://www.christiebrownonline.com/ Elle Lokko Also in Osu, Elle Lokko is the epitome of urban cool. An exciting hy
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
Ghana Fashion and Design Week - Interview
What defines this year's event overall? What sets it apart from previous editions?This year event initiated a new focus on the future of fashion in Africa, to tell the story of a new Africa fashion narrative highlighting the true and original authentic African heritage craftsmanship, from woven textiles to traditional batik prints infusion with design for fashion innovation in Africa. What does Ghana Fashion & Design Week mean for Accra?GFDW is responsible for placing Ghana as a country, and Accra as a city on the global fashion map. It brought a new approach and direction to fashion events as a business with substance. It changed the face of fashion with innovative concepts giving Accra a new focus to what fashion should mean to designers, models, photographers and consumers as a business, it continues to shape media and institutions understanding of the fashion focus space. It brought to surface the importance of proper education for fashion as a must have element through its business seminars in Accra, continuing in the shaping and transforming the industry. It has set the pace that all other fashion events that has come after it in Accra and across Ghana has followed till date, and continue to follow. It has given Accra a new status as an emerging fashion city in Africa, and now counted among the top three African cities to look at where innovation in fashion business is the leading drive and focus on platforms such as GFDW. It continues to show the rest of the world
Time Out meets: Akosua Afriyie-Kumi
When did you first have the idea to use these Ghanaian weaving techniques in high end fashion? I grew up around basket bags as a child in Ghana, I used to give them as gifts and also use them for storage. 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 colourful with blends of colours which were tasteful and modern with a beautiful finish and detail. Building on this idea I started researching into bag designs and fibres and found a lot of attractive benefits which were in line with my vision and ethos I had for my dream brand. I established A A K S after seeing a gap in the market for beautifully handcrafted bags. I knew I wanted to go out on my own and pull together all my passion and talents to create something unique that would be fulfilling both personally and professionally so I embarked on my journey to Ghana to make this happen. What impressed you so much with the skill of the weaving? I was very impressed by their hands skills and the combinations of colours and also the unconscious ethical processes they used in creating baskets. Taking on this idea I begun to explore further into weaving, fibres and what the possibilities could be. Were they already blending raffia and leather? No, weavers weave with only straw and I introduce a new fibre which is raffia in the community. What were the challenges for producing the bags in the way that you wanted? It was
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.
The best shops in Accra
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
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.