Thursday, September 6, 2007
Aku Sika promotes Ghanaian branded fabrics
Story: REBECCA QUAICOE DUHO
Aku-Sika Haute Couture is a fashion designer’s brand name, which, for the past three years, has been making inroads into the international market.
It is the brainchild of a Ghanaian-born designer, Aku Sika Barrett, who takes her inspiration from her native Ghanaian culture and her experience in skill painting.
Aku Sika creates outfits, using hand-painted fabrics adorned with crystal transfers of Adinkra symbols patented exclusively for AKU-SIKA by Swarovski, a crystal manufacturing company based in Europe. She also uses kente to design some of her dresses which makes them unique.
With her new concept of combining western style with an African flavour, she established a company in Portugal, and was recently incorporated in Ghana under the name, H.C. AKU SIKA (Gh.) Ltd.
With zeal to make her brand name famous in the Ghanaian fashion circles, the designer was spotted at the recently held AGOA fair in Accra.
Speaking to the Daily Graphic, Aku Sika said she developed a passion for fashion and textiles at an early age, and following an introduction to skill painting in Cairo, she devoted her career to creating individual garments, using her own hand-painted skills.
Aku Sika produces one of a kind design that is individually hand-painted. The majority of her designs such as shoes, dresses, bags, blouses and scarfs are for women, which buyers can wear from head to toe, but says her collection includes hand-painted neckties for men.
In addition to designing for an exclusive market, she also does custom-made items and she says Miss Ghana wore her designs through preliminaries of the Miss World pageant in 2006.
Aku Sika draws her inspiration from the nature that surrounds her. “A dawn dew drop on a leaf can inspire a silk painting and the swirl of water in a rock pool can suggest the curving lines of a garment”.
She has identified manufacturers who are qualified to reproduce her designs through digital transfer and this has enabled them to produce the collection in quantities.
The unique nature of Aku Sika’s designs reflects her love for Africa. Her clientele reflect a segment that appreciates the African-inspired designs, and who desire to return to their roots.
Aku Sika’s designs are made and sold per-customised order to private clients in Europe, and she is ready to significantly expand and compete on a much-broader scale to meet the next level of production demand.
Over the next five years, she says she wants to owe several boutiques in Portugal, Atlanta, Florida, New York, Zurich, as well as some factories in Ghana where she will export to the European market.
Daily Graphic - Thursday, September 6, 2007 Page: 17