THE DESIGN COMPANY
Made possible by Catherine Neale, Peyush & Poonam Varshney,
Stephanie Forgacs & Leslie Disler.
West Africa has several design traditions that are more and more frequently being seen in luxury homes and upscale fashion. The area has a rich history of textiles including indigo, batik, kente and wax printed cloth. The region also has a strong jewelry tradition, from painted krobo beads to bronze casting to recycled glass. However only recently, several of these traditions have become incredibly trendy on a global scale.
With more African designers reaching the international scene, celebrities are wearing African fashion and are using their textiles in home décor. In Ghana traditional design has always been popular but there has been little innovation and experimentation. Both internationally and locally a modern approach to traditional design is becoming trendy, and with low production costs there is incredible potential to create a company that creates product for both a Ghanaian and international market.
Ghanaian traditional styles can be found in textiles, jewelry, home design and fashion. The design company will encourage both creativity and innovation in students' use of traditional methods and style.
Indigo is one of West Africa's older traditions that has recently become trendy. Indigo, a natural dye found in the indigo plant, is popular because of the beautiful dark blue colour it produces. Indigo dye is traditionally used with various methods of tie and dye used with light cotton cloth for clothing or heavy woven cotton cloth for bedding and upholstery. The practice originated in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia & Mali.
Mud Cloth has become such a trend that it is seen all over home design magazines and is commonly used by high-end interior designers. Printed on a sturdy woven cloth, mud cloth's simple geometric designs are on trend with the ever growing popular modern and minimalist look. Originating from Mali, mud cloth is being used as upholstery, bedding, and with fashion and accessories.
WAX PRINTED CLOTH
When people think of African fabrics, the first thing that comes to mind is the colourful wax prints. This bright cloth has been sold in African markets since the industrial revolution and many of the original designs are still popular today. Today's designers are creating new patterns to reflect modern tastes, as well as putting a contemporary spin on traditional designs. All 100% cotton, most of these genuine wax prints are made in Ghana.
RECYCLED GLASS BEADS
Koforidua, Ghana, is the area where recycled glass beads started in Ghana. The colourful glass beads are made from recycled powdered glass. The powder can be dyed and then poured into moulds to be baked. Alternatively, the beads when baked and hardened can instead can be painted, known as 'Krobo' beads created in the town of Krobo-Odumasi.
LOST-WAX BRASS CASTING
Lost-wax brass casting was developed by the Asante people in Ghana to make objects for gold transactions, such as weights and canisters. Ghana's brass casters begin by making metal articles by sculpting in beeswax. The form is then painted with a paste of fine charcoal and water covered in a mould of coarse palm fibers and clay. The mould is then baked, the wax is poured out and replaced with molten brass.
A common practice in Ghana's Upper East region around the small town of Bolgatanga, basket weaving is a growing industry for rural women. While the markets in Ghana and the West already have an abundance of market-style 'Bolga baskets', there is not as much being produced in the way of high-end handbags, and larger baskets for home décor.
The design company launched in March, 2017 with 12 trainees. Design products will be available for purchase internationally through an online store by December 2017.
The design company will provide a two year training program for girls who are interested in pursuing design as a career. Girls will be trained in various traditional methods, product design, and business management, so they are equipped to set up their own design business one day.
FUNDS FOR EDUCATION
The design company is expected to make a profit, first through local sales and later through international sales. It is expected that in addition to providing training for dozens of girls, its profits will support many marginalized girls to continue their education every new school year.
As the design company will begin selling products internationally, there will be an opportunity to gain publicity for Create Change's work. Through the marketing endeavours of the design company, Create Change can grow its name and consequently the size of its supporter base.
VOLUNTEER WITH US
Do you have experience in design and want empower girls in Ghana to become design experts and experienced entrepreneurs? Then consider volunteering with our team in Vancouver, Canada, or with our operation in Ghana.