Two Ghanaian designers, Aisha Ayensu and Sammy Oteng have taken a bold stance and secured their positions as sustainability thought leaders on the global stage.
The two have been named in Vogue’s prestigious “The Vogue Business 100 Innovators” list which was published on Monday, September 11, 2023, ahead of the global Fashion Week in European and North American Cities.
Sammy Oteng: Redefining Fashion and Advocacy
Sammy Oteng, a skilled fashion designer who owns the label, Otteng has been making waves in the industry for over a decade.
What sets him apart is not just his remarkable talent but also his dedication to making a socio-political statement through his work.
Oteng fearlessly tackles issues like neo-colonialism, sexuality, and gender fluidity in his designs, using fashion as a powerful medium for dialogue and change.
His innovative approach also earned him recognition as a Gucci Design Fellowship Finalist, a prestigious honour in the fashion world.
But Sammy Oteng’s impact goes beyond the runway. He has led groundbreaking research on secondhand clothing consumer behaviour in Accra, shedding light on the far-reaching consequences of the secondhand clothing trade.
Through various media appearances and discussions, he has sparked conversations about the trade’s implications on Accra’s socio-economic landscape.
Oteng is also a Senior Community Engagement Manager at the OR, an organisation based in both Ghana and the US which is tackling the unsustainable volumes of used clothing entering Ghana through the global secondhand trade.
Aisha Ayensu: A Beacon of Sustainable Luxury
Aisha Ayensu, the visionary behind the luxury brand Christie Brown, has redefined the fashion scene in Ghana. Her label seamlessly blends modern luxury with African tradition, creating a unique aesthetic that has garnered global acclaim. Founded in 2008, Christie Brown stands as a testament to Ayensu’s relentless pursuit of excellence in craftsmanship and design.
In a region where manufacturing at scale remains a challenge, Ayensu has taken a remarkable approach. Her brand produces locally in an atelier in Accra, ensuring that every piece is meticulously crafted to her exacting standards. Ayensu maintains a strong connection with the women in her employ, all from local communities, by regularly holding informal coffee meetings with every department at the atelier.
Aisha Ayensu’s dedication to sustainability goes beyond the buzzword. She has been committed to responsible practices from the outset, focusing on harvesting resources in local communities while ensuring that these resources are not depleted or permanently damaged. For Ayensu, sustainability is about nurturing the most vital resource: people.
In her own words, Aisha Ayensu expressed her evolving perspective on sustainability, emphasizing the importance of community and resource preservation. Her brand, Christie Brown, has always been rooted in these principles, making it a beacon of sustainable luxury in the fashion world.
Recognizing Sustainable Excellence
The inclusion of Aisha Ayensu and Sammy Oteng in Vogue’s “The Vogue Business 100 Innovators” is not only a recognition of their outstanding contributions to fashion but also a celebration of their unwavering commitment to sustainability.
These two designers from Ghana are redefining what it means to be thought leaders in the ever-evolving world of fashion, proving that sustainability and style can go hand in hand.
Industry insiders have taken to social media to applaud the two for their hard work.
*An earlier version of this article mentioned Sammy Oteng as a Former Design lab Manager at The OR Is Present instead current role as the Senior Community Engagement Manager