Ghanaian Creative Director, Stylist, and Designer, Kusi Kubi shares with OBVIOUS his Season II Lookbook for his fashion brand PalmWine IceCREAM, titled “Kuku Hill Crescent.”
The collections pay homage to his mother and Osu, a neighborhood in the central part of Accra, Ghana’s capital city where he grew up.
When the world has become more conscious of the role the fashion industry plays and its effect on the environment, it’s commendable that this budding brand on the fashion scene is making use of thrift clothes as part of the items sourced in this collection.
Every week, tons of imported used clothes, popularly called “obroni wawu” (dead white man’s clothes), pours into Accra’s famous and largest thrift market, Kantamanto, where one can find both vintage and trendy European fashion labels on sale.
Unfortunately, many of the clothes not purchased are disposed of to degrade the environment both on land and sea.
Kusi Kubi’s new collection also reflects the modern society in which we live now, which is genderless and non-binary. The collection uses gold chains, leather, and denims, giving off a bold aesthetic look.
Your brand name PalmWine IceCREAM (PWIC), is quite interesting. How did you come by it?
I wanted to create a name that resembles the look, taste, and feels of a tropical climate. PALMWINE IceCREAM is a blend of tastes and feelings, which are not necessarily meant to be combined, but once brought together, exudes a new and unfamiliar sense. PWIC stands for all the things that we are told or made to believe should not co-exist with one another.
What inspired you to start your fashion label?
After many trips back and forth from Ghana, I found myself always buying, amassing items, and always sewing clothes to give as gifts when nobody I know was really in need. Carrying the weight of items on all these journeys got me thinking about using and how I need to learn to work and live with less.
The second-hand clothing market in Africa is a big industry. We willingly receive items from other parts of the world and somehow learn to find their use. I wanted to find a way to create new from the old, to bring life to clothes that had died in other times as a conscious effort to reduce waste. This led to PALMWINE IceCREAM.
What is the inspiration behind your new collection?
PALMWINE IceCREAM is built on a foundation of sustainability. My childhood upbringing in Osu inspired KUKU HILL CRESCENT.
My beloved mother was a style icon within our community. At a very young age, she would explain to me the importance of being an individual, knowing what works for me, and most importantly, understanding the value of staying in your lane.
Never focus on things that have nothing to do with you. This collection is dedicated to my dear mother. She was all about accessorizing, boldness, and definitely unapologetic with her style.
Who did you have in mind when you created this collection?
Almost every item in the collection is genderless. The brand is welcoming to anyone who feels a connection to our creative output. It requires some confidence, but confidence is very subjective, and we have garments that cater to all. This season, we used many embellished pieces that include crop chain tops, skirts, and vests. This somehow gave the collection a slight bondage feel.
How would you describe your new collection?
What motivated you, especially in the face of such a challenging time to create this collection?
During lockdown due to the covid 19, l was getting restless; no one could do anything because the entire world was locked off. This somehow allowed me to think about my career: What do I want to do now? Do l want to do a follow-up collection for PWIC? I decided instead to work on season 2 during a challenging time than sit and wait.
Waiting is not something l do well, so l put a team of creatives together, and PWIC SEASON II was birthed.
As a relatively new brand on the fashion scene, what has the reception been so far?
As a creative individual, when you create, you put yourself out there and never know what the feedback will be. You can only believe in your ideas and push through. The feedback has been positive and rewarding. PWIC team is highly pleased with the feedback received so far.
Do you have a favorite piece from your new collection?
The denims and leathers from this collection are reworked. This season there’s also a lot of linen, sheer harking back to the tropical West African origins of the brand. The jewelry and accessories are sourced from Italy, while the denim and leathers hail from Accra through Europe – Kantamanto Market.
My favorite piece has to be the layered reworked denim pants. The entire Look 1 is my favorite.
What do you aspire to achieve in the coming years with PWIC?
Our Aim at PWIC is not to saturate the market but to produce clothing for people who believe in what we do and stand for. Currently still nurturing PALMWINE IceCREAM for Season 3, I’ll love to have a runway show, collaborate with other creatives to give the label different influences, and one day have a stand-alone store.
Giving back to the community somehow is also very close to my heart, so I’ll love to have a PWIC foundation that gives back.