Ashanti Lifts The Lid On African Creativity

From the humble origins of their bestselling beanbags to contemporary lampshades, Ashanti’s range of products capture a distinct and vibrant aesthetic using local, responsibly sourced materials and techniques culturally unique to a handful of rural villages throughout the African sub-continent.

It is this relationship with skilled artisans that celebrates Ashanti’s resourcefulness – an ability to create something from nothing; recycling, upcycling and turning waste into wonder.

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For example, to make Ashanti’s unique textiles, fabric off-cuts from the garment industry are sorted into colours, pulled apart to provide thread for the warp and shredded using hand blades into narrow strips for the weft. These strips are tied tightly together then rolled into balls, ready for mounting onto African hardwood looms.

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Ashanti then takes this hand-woven material and manufactures their products to the highest quality standards, offering their customers a durable and distinctive product.

And because each product is lovingly woven by hand, each item is perfectly, wonderfully, consistently inconsistent – no two will ever be quite alike.

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Ashanti textiles are all woven along principles of fair trade; providing a sustainable source of income for impoverished communities. Says Ashanti’s founder, Robert Walker, ‘Every inch of thread, frame and fabric is of Africa, from Africa and for Africa. We are not an NGO but we are 100% committed to our continent’.

Last year alone, they rerouted over 62 kilometres of discarded fabric off-cuts headed for landfills, transforming them into handmade one of a kind luxury beanbags that are easy on the eye and easy on the environment; employing at least 4 villages and empowering over 1,600 people along the way.

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Ashanti’s palm leaf baskets, regularly reinvented in different shapes and sizes, always with an innovative take on texture, are hand-woven by 20 different villages across Malawi, providing work for over 120 artisans who in turn feed over 600 mouths in what is largely considered the world’s poorest country.

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It’s this beautiful chaos that is a part of every day life in Africa and a common thread lovingly hand woven into all of their products. Ashanti relies on its relationships with rural villages to transform raw materials and their natural surroundings into unique designs that enhance every contemporary interior.

All images courtesy of Ashanti


More on Ashanti

Ashanti’s flagship store is located in the heart of Cape Town on Kloof Street

Visit their website: ashantidesign.com

Like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter


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