Ashanti Design: Loving and Embracing Africa to Reveal its Beauty to the World.

By Modise Tsiu and Dona van Eeden

Source: Ashanti Design Instagram

Driven by a deep passion for Africa, its people and its ways, Ashanti Design is a contemporary celebration of local and traditional craft. All their products are handmade with first-class quality standards by using recycled materials. Here you can find various unique homeware accessories and furniture items such as cushions, bean bags, and lampshades.

Ashanti Designs works with a community of subsistent farmers that make a living by growing their crops. They source the necessary materials needed to make their beautifully designed baskets from these farmers. Ashanti uses an invasive plant in Malawi, Cocculus Hirsutus, which they source from local farmers. They work with a team of weavers at the heart of Malawi, and they regularly collaborate on creating new designs for the weaved products.

View their gorgeous wicker lampshades here.

Sustainable Materials

Everything about Ashanti Design is based on three pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Social and Economical. It’s no quick process creating the fabric for Ashanti products: it’s intricate labour of love hand-woven from tradition, pride and the incredible artistry of the remote villagers who make it happen. The fibre of their colourful fabric originates from t-shirt offcuts: excellent material that would otherwise go to landfill. And because every inch is made from upcycled fabric that’s woven into existence by hand, each item is unique – just like you!

Making something out of nothing is at the heart of the African way. In a year, Ashanti Design sorted, stripped and tied 19 million six hundred thousand meters of colourful weft thread. They have weaved this into 62,000 meters of their signature fabric—all by hand. And to think that all that fabric would have gone to a landfill!

An Inspiring Process

Ashanti Design is inspired by all things Africa, and they celebrate the beautiful continent through traditional crafts. Ashanti Design aims to be socially and environmentally conscious and sustainable by working with local communities and locally sourced materials. The use of indigenous African techniques and tools to craft baskets contributes to a culture that will engender a future for African craft.

The process of how the products are made, from source to end product, is enriching and intriguing. Ashanti works with a team of weavers at the heart of Malawi, and they regularly collaborate on creating new designs for the weaved products. The process with the weaved baskets is remarkable because it is focused on upliftment, cultural preservation, and social entrepreneurship. There is a richness in the weaved baskets because it embodies indigenous knowledge passed down for centuries.

“We believe in doing our best to strengthen their livelihoods and in making a positive ‘Afronomical’ contribution at large. From craftsmen to transportation partners and manufacturers, the Ashanti team is all-African.”

Ashanti Designs provides a platform for the Malawian artisans to share their craft and make a living from something so rooted in their culture. This is often not an easy option for them due to lack of market access, start-up capital and modern designs to start viable businesses with their craft. This altruistic process by Ashanti exhibits a social responsibility that is effective and efficient in achieving sustainability.

Ashanti Designs goes into Africa to collaborate and find inspiration for their designs, loving and embracing Africa and revealing its beauty to the world. Ashanti gives hope to people by placing their destiny into their own hands and empowering them to do so. It is so exciting that a single process of making a lampshade and basket can increase societal development. People become confident that their culture has value and that being themselves, and embracing their culture, can make life meaningful and rewarding.

Visit and interact with Ashanti Designs on their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.

Are you in Cape Town? Pop into their store! You can find it at 77 Kloof Street, Cape Town, South Africa.


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