The Akoma vision is the interweaving of traditional African textiles and craftsmanship with the dynamism and style of the 21st century. Each garment is carefully considered and curated to deliver an unexpected fusion of cultures and styles in silhouettes that transcend time and place.
Our vision is creative and intellectual. Akoma invests in human capital and talent by creating direct work opportunities for artisan communities. We strive to highlight the beauty and talent found in underprivileged parts of the world, West Africa and Latin America in particular.
Our mission is to responsibly create unique luxury products steeped in tradition and cultural heritage with a modern edge. We promote sustainable development and help preserve the ancestral art of weaving in artisan communities in West Africa through fair trade partnerships. Empowering is our mission and fashion is our medium.
ABOUT THE BRAND
FOUNDER | CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Akoma was founded by Stephanie in 2017. The desire to create the Akoma concept stems from Stephanie’s passion for travel and her appreciation for diverse cultures and their traditions. She decided to intertwine her love for Africa and her love for her native country, Colombia, through the creation of Akoma. While all garments are made using exclusive handmade African textiles, they are manufactured by hand, beginning to end, in Colombia.
She first learned about the special Ghanaian Kente cloth at a friend’s wedding in Nicaragua in 2011. A few years later she had the opportunity to come to Ghana and learn about Kente cloth first hand. Her fascination only grew stronger; the more she learned about the historic context and cultural importance, the more she admired the beauty of the weaving traditions. Shortly after arriving in Accra, she made a trip to Kumasi, a city in central Ghana, where she bought her first cloth after visiting several weavers. In her fervor to create something unique, she searched for a local seamstress that could forge her idea, the result was her very first Kente jacket. She received a great deal of positive feedback, people were surprised about the innovative use of the cloth and really liked the new interpretation, especially Ghanaians, who are accustomed to see Kente in its traditional use.
It became clear to Stephanie that she wanted to share the beauty of this craftsmanship with the rest of the world, with those who have never seen Kente - and with those who up until now had only known Kente in a very traditional way. Hence, the name for the first collection “Embracing Tradition.”
Originally the idea was to create a brand that would bring visibility only to the beautiful and colorful Kente cloth from Ghana, however the richness and abundance of other West African textiles could not be ignored. After extensive research, Stephanie found an opportunity to work with the Ethical Fashion Initiative, a flagship program of the International Trade Center. The initiative’s motto “Not Charity, Just Work” resonated with Stephanie’s deep desire to create lasting opportunities for marginalized communities. Stephanie saw a lot of similarities between Ghana and her native country, Colombia. In addition to wonderful cultural parallels, she also identified several factors that mark most developing nations: many are plagued by the pressure of making ends meet, making it impossible to contemplate creativity or artistic expression. Stephanie wanted to invest in people and their talents, which she is doing by supporting the arts and craftsmanship of traditional textile weaving in West Africa. Stephanie plans to increase her commitment to sustainability and community support by providing training and mentoring facilities for young adults, who seek to acquire skills that will grant them opportunities for a better life.
ABOUT THE BRAND
A pivotal source of inspiration for the Akoma brand are, Colombia and Ghana. This fusion of the two countries is visibly represented in the Akoma logo. The hummingbird is a native bird of the Americas and the word Akoma is an ancient Ghanaian Adinkra symbol, meaning “heart.” The number 1260 stands for the heartbeat of a hummingbird, which is 1260 times per minute. It adds a rhythmic, tireless component to the Akoma brand. However, the hummingbird is also a symbol of love, joy, and beauty. When the hummingbird hoovers over flowers while drinking nectar, it teaches us to savior each moment, and appreciate the things we love.
Akoma is here to express that appreciation and love through unique handmade garments; it’s about the relationship between the body, the lifestyle, the culture, and ultimately the world as whole. It represents the need for connection, intuition, self-discovery and love for oneself and for others.