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A Wave of Designers Is Changing the Conversation Around Cultural Appropriation

by Lolita Maesela

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Akosua Afriyie-Kumi’s handbag brand AAKS has scored coveted space on the floors of major department stores like Nordstrom and Bloomingdale’s. But for the Ghanaian designer, the label’s real achievement is its work to preserve and promote a 1,000-year-old weaving tradition. AAKS’ efforts are part of a wider movement driven by a diverse young generation of designers with ambitions to embed sustainability into the way they do business. In addition to emphasising eco-conscious design and production, and social welfare in their supply chains, many are also drawing on their heritage to seek out and support indigenous artisans and craft — communities that are also often most at risk from climate change.

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