THE BUSINESS OF STREET FASHION IN ACCRA

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by SELORM JAY

The recent “rise of African Fashion” within global media is a bit of a dead tune in these parts. In Ghana, style has always been big news. The Internet makes all the difference now. Some fifteen years ago, you wouldn’t see the freshest Ghanaian designs on Instagram or Tumblr because all the fresh styles were on the streets.

The best designs are still on the streets. Street design shops, big and small, stock some of the finest locally made outfits in the city. Every minute someone from Ghana is posting a Look Book online allowing thousands  of people around the world to tap into Ghana’s style portal. Let’s not forget designer labels like Louis Vuitton slipping fashion aesthetics from Ghana onto the runway without acknowledging the origins.

African Victorian

African Victorian

Ghana has a long tradition of customized clothing dating as far back as the pre-colonial era. Several waves of freed slaves from Bahia in Brazil landed on the shores of West Africa in the mid nineteenth centuries, particularly Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. The ones who came to Accra were given land and GA citizenship by King Tackie Tawiah I in 1836. The Tabom people, as these returnees were later called, arrived with a lot of skills ranging from military tactics, architecture, carpentry, irrigation engineering to tailored clothing. The renowned Morton Family are descendants of the Tabom people. The Mortons were expert merchants and tailors, credited with setting up Scissors House, the first tailoring shop in Accra. Continue reading

Public Space Hijackers: Get Ready to GoLokal

Story by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photography by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE & SELORM JAY

Going Local with GoLokal

Going Local with GoLokal

Two years ago when visual artist Attukwei Clottey decided to showcase work in his hometown, La, he knew he had to get an enthusiastic group of young folks to buy into the idea. Attukwei wanted the people of La to understand the power of art and how it could transform their community.

Between art residencies in Austria and Netherlands, Attukwei took action and assembled a gathering of characters under the pseudonym “GoLokal.” He adopted this name because of the indigenous style of this artist crew – visually provoking, eclectic, cool yet vibrant. GoLokal is comprised of ten members in total [6 guys, 4 girls] who are quite passionate about their newfound mission.

Serge Attukwei, The god of GoLokal

Serge Attukwei, the god of GoLokal

Since 2012, GoLokal has gained an ever-expanding audience with major performance at art events across the city. In 2013, the crew arrested the attention of attendees’ at ACCRA [dot] ALT’s CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival, literally, taking over the street with improve performances. They even led a grand parade down High Street with the Flat Land Boys bikers and the 25-member Winneba Masquerade. Last month, we jammed up with GoLokal at the 2nd annual FashionistaGH Shopping Festival at Trade Fair. With collage costumes, bright yellow jerry cans, slick face paint and killer dance moves, GoLokal had crowds snapping smartphone pics all afternoon. Word on the street is the people can’t get enough of the La mobile art shows.

No matter how often we work with Attukwei and the rest of the GoLokal crew, we are consistently fascinated by their fresh performance installations. Last week, I visited Attukwei at his art studio to chat on how GoLokal began, what they’re all about and what the art crew’s got going next. Continue reading

THE TALK PARTY SERIES: LAWN JAM

 

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We’re back this March with a special TALK PARTY SERIES event to celebrate International Women’s Month. We’re bringing the ever-dope LAWN JAM to Trade Fair, in collaboration with Fashionista GH.

We’ve got a bangin’ SUN-day party planned with two of our favorite DJs – DJ Pam Bam + DJ Keyzzz – who will keep backsides bumping all afternoon long. Stop over on Sunday, 30th March from 3- 6pm at the Fashionista Pavilion [Event Haven], Trade Fair and jam with us small.

CHALE WOTE 2013: Q+A INFO SHEET

Strolling Goats - James Town - April 2013 - Accra dot Alt - Samuahedited

James Town Community Organizer SAMUAH HANSON in Red | by Selorm Jay

1. Which part of James Town will the festival be held?

The two-day festival will take place along a 10-minute walking route on High Street between the Ga Mashie Development Agency [three buildings to the right of the Light House] down to the old Kings Way building [next to Ussher Fort].

2. Where do I park my car?
There is ample parking available inside James Town, particularly any side street or parallel street to High Street. Please note that High Street is a one-way street and will be closed to vehicular traffic on both days of the festival.

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CHALE WOTE 2013 Site Map x Program Schedule

Check out the site map for CHALE WOTE 2013 this Saturday, September 7th and Sunday, September 8th, 2013 from 10AM – 9PM in James Town [double-click to enlarge]:

Chale Wote 2013 Site MapTo see the full schedule of activities over the 2-day festival, click here. 

This year for Chale Wote, we’re creating new visions of African folklore. We all will be characters in a compelling set of stories called the Chale Wote Street Art Festival. What character will you be? Dress up in your own DIY costume and party with us in the streets.

See you in James Town over the weekend.

 

STROLLING GOATS IN ACCRA : THE CHALE WOTE CHAPTERS

Photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

We continue our CHALE WOTE episode of Strolling Goats in Accra with the rest of the festival’s production crew. Below are more expectations of this year’s edition and thoughts on James Town.

Rita Esionam

I would say James Town is an urban  community that has a lot of interesting places. They also have a lot of interesting things that people always want to see like the beach, the food, the old harbor and a particular type of Highlife music that can only be found in this part of the capital. I’m hoping that through CHALE WOTE young people here will be inspired to embrace education.

Once this happens, everything will change. People here are nice and they make everyone feel welcome. Chale Wote has been a great festival for the community, for us who live here, it’s a way to leave our mark . After this year’s Chale Wote, I hope young people here will be inspired to be creative so they can turn their lives around.

Rita Esinam runs No-Limit Charity, they run art workshops for children during CHALE WOTE.

Rita Esionam runs No Limits Charity and works with more than 500 kids in James Town. She’s coordinating art education workshops for children during CHALE WOTE.

Continue reading

CHALE WOTE 2013: Futuristic Art Made in Accra

by Nii Ayertey Aryeh

TRUST HIM by Nolan Dennis | Visiting Artist [JoBurg SA] | CHALE WOTE 2013

TRUST HIM by Nolan Dennis | Visiting Artist [JoBurg SA] | CHALE WOTE 2013

Reimagining African folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions is the theme for CHALE WOTE Street Art Festival 2013. Everything points to a classic show this time around. The festival has over the last few years challenged the music and art space in Accra in a super-funky urban way.

For the first two years, the festival was organized as a whole day’s event. It is a major attraction for tourists, art lovers, musicians, graffiti + mural artists, poets, and musicians – and basically anyone who appreciates or has a curious mind for art made in Accra.  This year the free festival will be running for two (2) days at its signature venue, James Town, on September 7th and 8th, 10am – 9pm.

Fresh Digital Art by Frame 14 [Ghana]

Fresh Digital Art by Frame 14 [Ghana]

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The OFFICIAL CHALE WOTE 2013 Poster

CHALE WOTE 2013 official poster

CHALE WOTE 2013 official poster

Hot off the presses!

The JAMES TOWN Experience

by NANA OSEI KWADWO | Photos by MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE

THE HUNTER KIDS - James Town | Accra

THE HUNTER KIDS – James Town | Accra

I stared in awe – my mind and soul were buried in what lay before me. In my mind’s eye it was so awesome I forgot someone was trying to get my attention. I was fixated with these kids designing kites; they played different roles in the design process by folding papers, sticks and threading kite.  One of them drew a prototype of the kite on the pavement with the oldest amongst them cutting and joining paper with broomsticks. The rest were obliged to tie the thread to the kites and test flights.

TOOTH BRUSH GUY- STROLLING GOATS-MANTSE ARYEEQUAYE-2013

Continue reading

CHALE WOTE Swings Back into James Town

SAVE the DATE poster: CHALE WOTE 2013

SAVE the DATE poster: CHALE WOTE 2013

We’re working our way to CHALE WOTE 2013 – a massive festival jam in James Town – on September 7th and 8th.

200 artists. 2 days. Too much free fun.

This year’s theme is to Re-imagine African Folklore by creating exciting and futuristic versions of communal stories that will magically come alive on the streets of James Town. We’ll have it all on High Street from live music, experimental theater and spoken word, extreme sport stunts, dance flash mobs, street fashion parades, graffiti murals and crazy art installations to a film festival, international food and fashion marketplace and even a masquerade procession.

To see a taste of what you’ll experience at CHALE WOTE 2013, check out last year’s highlight video:

 

Stay tuned to this blog for more updates on CHALE WOTE 2013.