Greetings from Accra!
I am having an incredible experience living in Ghana and interning with Osei-Duro. Alongside all of the typical things that go with working for a small fashion company, from pattern making to quality control, we have the pleasure of working with local tailors, artists and craftspeople to incorporate local fabrics and textile applications into the collection.
Ghana is a vibrant country rich in textile traditions. You can find dozens of different waxprint cotton in every market as well as hand dyed batik fabrics. We had the opportunity to visit some traditional weavers during our trip around the country. Kente is traditional Ashanti cloth, while Batakari is traditional garment made from handwoven cotton from the North. That being said, a typical day into the city centre is a parade of colour and patterns. The only time you will catch a Ghanaian wearing all black, they really will be on their way to a funeral (which are a really big thing here, but that’s another story).
Osei-Duro does a brilliant job of adapting and integrating many of these textile processes into contemporary styles using natural silks and cottons. You can also find hand crochet trims on many of the pieces and even traditional mudcloth in some accessories and a jacket.
I have had the opportunity to meet everyone Osei-Duro hires or does business with and its been great to see what a difference employing talented people here can make, especially as more and more garment production moves to increasingly cheaper countries. Everyone is happy and pleasant and I am over the moon that the country still supports and encourages so much beautiful handiwork.
I am often reminded of the Lunapads office when we are out shopping for waxprints at the market. Everything here has meaning, including the prints. There is one specific print that women buy to use only for menstruation. I am not sure if women will cut and sew them into more practically fitting pads but at least they are having fun with it. If you ever come to Ghana and take this fabric to a tailor to make into clothing that might have a good laugh with you.
I am bummed out to be missing summer in Vancouver and the Pacific wild berry picking season but thrilled to be having a life changing experience.
With warm and sunny wishes,