Upcycled Avant Garde: The Slum Studio

We are honoured to announce the arrival of The Slum Studio to AKOJO MARKET. The Slum Studio creates wearable art pieces from textiles waste from Accra, Ghana. Shop a limited number of unique pieces exclusively at our London Concept Store at Spitalfields.

AKOJO MARKET caught up with founder and artist Sel Kofiga to learn about the inspiration and creative process behind this multi-faceted brand:

Portrait of Sel Kofiga, founder of The Slum Studio

What was the inspiration for starting The Slum Studio and how did you begin?

The Slum Studio is a Ghanaian based multi faceted brand which is interested in the politics of clothing and regenerative fashion. I am a multi media artist who has always wanted to explore with space and objects. I use art and photo documentary to tell stories of second hand clothing redistribution using the medium of wear. Though I am not a fashion designer, I’ve always been fashion oriented and interested in the effect of fashion on the environment and wanted to create something out of the old/used, something that would talk about my personal connection with second hand clothes and how it affects my immediate space, so in 2018 I started researching and experimenting and here we are.

Your expert knowledge of the second hand clothing market in Ghana is unique to your business - can you tell us more about the creative process once you’ve sourced fabric?

As an artist the interconnection between spaces, objects and bodies are very essential in my practice and I love to explore it every now and then. I think it is important to look at the beauty of our market spaces but also try to as much as possible to tell the story of my people and what they do with second hand clothing in Ghana. For this reason, I capture the intriguing engagement and redistribution through photo documentary and later paint them onto fabrics i’ve sourced from various markets. Each piece is a unique product with colors and symbols created from the photos. After sourcing the fabrics, I hand wash them, dry them and ready them for the next phase of the production which is the painting, drying, cutting and sewing.

What are your hopes for the future of the communities that work in the second hand clothing markets, working after devastating fires, illness and Covid, and more?

Ghanaian merchants, resellers and thrifters are using their creative and imaginative skill to turn things (waste) around in the best way possible and their work needs to be known and supported. I hope for a future where upcycle leads. A future where we are all very careful and conscious of our consumption. A future where everybody understands the future of the earth depends on what we choose to wear and what we choose to wear today is affecting somebody else in a different space.


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