“Most of our accomplishments are off the runway; working with non-profit organizations to give back because we must accept our social responsibilities.” Believe it or not Ghana’s Nana Poku and Kwaku Awuah swear by their words when it comes to their philanthropist deeds. But there is more glee to these young humanitarians than goodwill just as I discovered when I spoke to these entrepreneurs in a phone interview.
In fact their new venture continues to make waves within the fashion industry and is one prospect to keep an eye on. The establishment of their clothing line, “54 Kingdoms” is a new venture the young entrepreneurs launched since 2007 in an attempt to create a brand of exquisite clothing with designs that embrace their Ghanaian roots.
At first Poku, 25 had his sights set on bringing attributes of the African culture into his venture outside of fashion, but it was not until his passion for fashion clashed with his keenness to his Ghanaian roots that Poku along with business partner Awuah, 26 decided to embark on their brand about three years ago. Creatively, the name 54 Kingdoms “symbolizes the total number of countries in Africa and the word ‘kingdom’ signifies that every African country is part of a larger kingdom.”
Precisely, 54 Kingdoms features patterns, designs, prints, and embroideries on its apparel that reflect origins of the African, Caribbean, and West Indies cultures. Of their line Poku says “each design has significance and appeals to different individuals based on their cultural heritage and ethnic background.”
Along with a laudable board of directors that included Tilo Stolz, Erika Gradecki, Justmark Anim, Wendy Quansah and Afia Okyere, the production of this apparel line continues to broaden into a variety of fashionable apparel spanning across the United States and parts of Africa.
First their “Freshman Collection” debuted in summer 2008 featuring a variation of tops, and t-shirts styled as everyday casual wear and corporate attire. Next to make its debut was the “Hybrid collection” a fusion of a soccer Jersey and a tee-shirt to create a unique combo of part shirt-part jersey all in royalty to the 2010 world cup games hosted by South Africa.
Currently creators, Poku and his partner Awuah have been on rounds showcasing their collection, first at the ‘Royalty Lifestyle’, then at Southern Connecticut State University.
But their biggest debut yet came at the 2010 African Fashion Week New York, where the designers showcased their “Genesis collection”; something Nana says signifies “the beginning of their brand and their big welcome to the fashion industry, making all know that they have finally come.” They also admit that “the entire process from conception to development was exuberating and a great feeling that cannot be duplicated.”
Right now, 54 Kingdoms is looking forward to expanding globally in an attempt to push forward the continent of Africa in a positive light. Both designers reiterate that “Our brand is to provide our consumers the opportunity to take pride and honor in their heritage and culture.”
In addition to expanding on their Genesis collection that will eventually include assortments of skirts, blazers, pants, jeans, and accessories all sticking to the theme of modern day trends with a mix of traditional symbols, Poku and Awuah are involved in community outreach, something they pride themselves on. Their most recent humanitarian project “Build for Haiti” will include a benefit concert slated for November and aimed at raising funds to support the Edeyo Foundation a charity that focuses on fixing a devastated Haiti through the rebuilding of schools in Bel Air, and Port Au Prince.
Futuristically, 54 Kingdoms hopes to set up the ‘Art Kingdom Foundation’, an establishment ascertain “to give back to children from less opportune countries, through the demonstration of their creative talent.”
Through triumphs and turbulence 54 Kingdoms continues to hold on to their belief, stating that “At 54 Kingdoms, we believe fashion cannot just be about aesthetics and presentation, it must be coupled with identity, education and empowerment, hence the formation of 54 Kingdoms motto ‘Identity through Fashion.’…Tomorrow we become successful and the only thing failure can teach you is how to be successful.”
Beauty Of The Dark Continent.
Just like every single one of the four million people who were forced to leave their families, cattle, and burning villages behind, she walked for hundreds of miles into the great unknown after the outbreak of civil war in Sudan in 1985, not aware if she would ever return to the place she had always called home, Read More...
DR. OLAJIDE WILLIAMS 'THE HIP HOP DOC’
“Switch it up/Put some water in the cup,” the man standing onstage alongside old-school hip-hop legends Doug E. Fresh and Artie Green raps with the swagger of a new school artist. With his tie loosely draped across his chest, his top button undone, and Ray Ban-like glasses reminiscent of B.O.B’s, Read More...