Ghanaian fashion whiz kids unite Africa through fashion
Nana Poku, has over the years expressed his love and passion for Ghana through screen printing and embroidered images on t-shirts, and so it was no surprise that when he dreamt of owning a clothing line, he decided to maintain those elements. He teamed up with another Ghanaian, Kwaku A. Awuah, a young fashion entrepreneur to unleash 54 Kingdoms into the mainstream. With the duo's burning passion to connect African and Caribbean cultures, they brought onboard Brey Golding, a Jamaican-American designer with several years of experience in the fashion business.
Today, 54 Kingdoms is a promising clothing company that aims to address the problem of cultural disassociation, using fashion as a means to create cultural inclusion. The team believes that as individuals migrate away from their native place of birth, reconnecting and identifying with people of similar heritage, culture, and ethnic background becomes significant. Therefore, 54 Kingdoms aspires to target this need of re-association and linkage within the African, African-American and West Indian communities via its motto, 'identity through fashion'. We caught up with the team to find out more about their clothing line.
Why the name 54 Kingdoms?
The name 54 Kingdoms developed in two parts. The number “54”, which symbolizes the total number of countries in Africa and the word “Kingdoms,” signifies that each and every African country is a part of a larger kingdom spanning overseas to include our brothers and sisters abroad.
How do you describe your collections?
The heart of 54 Kingdoms lies within the graphics located on each clothing pieces. Each design will have significance and appeal to different individuals based on their cultural heritage and ethnic background. Some designs will incorporate items such as national leaders/figures, monuments, proverbs, symbols, writings and even shine light upon political issues. 54 Kingdoms' mission is to bring the ideology of ethnicity, culture and fashion integration to a higher level. Therefore, when 54 Kingdoms is mentioned, we want our customers to think trendy, bold, quality and identity.
What range of clothing do you have?
Well, our current collection consists of tops & t-shirts, but we are working on spanning from the everyday casual wear to office and evening attires for both male and females. Items will include but not limited to tops, blouses & skirts, sweaters, blazers/jackets, pants, jeans, clothing accessories and many more.
What makes your clothing African? The styles are quite Western.
Well I guess most people would not view our clothing as the traditional African attires due to the fact that we are not sewing kente, kaba, etc. We can tell you one thing though; people will definitely know Africa is in the building when you wear 54 Kingdom attire. What makes our clothing African are the graphic elements we place on the clothing (i.e. African symbols, iconic African leaders, etc).
What materials do you use?
Our customer satisfaction plays a key role in deciding what materials to use for our products. We only want the best for our consumers and therefore we use high-quality materials including: silk, linen, denim, leather, wool, polyester and high cotton count fabrics.
What are the future plans for the line?
One of the biggest aspirations 54 Kingdoms really looks forward to fulfilling is the establishment of the 'Art Kingdom Foundation'. This foundation aims to give back to children from less opportune countries to demonstrate their creative talents through a yearly design competition. The winner of the contest will have their design produced as part of 54 Kingdoms' collection with a certain percentages of the product proceeds going back to the winner, the winner's community, and the remaining to the Art Kingdoms Foundation.
Where can one buy your clothes from?
At the current time our clothes can only be purchased through the 54 Kingdoms web portal located at http://www.54kingdoms.com. But, we are also looking to expand into brick-and-mortar locations globally.