AJABENG’s Ghana Awake Collection (Fall 22) comes on the heels of the highly acclaimed AfroRomance Collection (SS 21). Like the collection before it, this collection offers a window into the soul of AJABENG and underscores the brands proclivity for exquisitely made garments as well as thought-provoking social commentary in equal measure. The collection is inspired by the work of Ugandan-Sudanese photographer Richard Lokiden Wani.
Wani’s work, often set against the backdrop of urban South Sudan, documents, with dignity, the charisma and resistance of his subjects in spite of the seeming poverty and hardship of life in Juba. His work expertly captures the pride and humanity of his subjects stemming from their sense of self worth as opposed to their material and monetary possessions.
Similarly, the Ghana Awake collection attempts to spotlight and celebrate the effortless beauty, richness of spirit and sense of worth that characterizes everyday Ghanaians. The collection spotlights the seemingly mundane about life in Ghana in an attempt to awaken audiences to its true essence and beauty. In doing so, the campaign for the collection was shot on the streets of Nsawam in the Eastern region of Ghana using first time models cast from the community on the day of shooting. Ultimately the collection is a call to the brand’s nation of birth, Ghana, and its people to take pride in their heritage and their aesthetic.
Aesthetically, the oversized silhouettes of the Ghana Awake collection are a reference to the often ill-fitting “Obroni wawu” (literally ‘dead white man’s clothing’) secondhand clothing that regrettably, continues to be a key part of the modern Ghanaian wardrobe. The collection seeks to re-imagine everyday Ghanaian “garb” in a modern, culturally aware, ethical and environmentally sustainable way.