Modern objects with age-old techniques

Meet Maria, the Catalan and Ghanian-based founder of Aketekete

Aketekete is an ode to the past and to never being forgotten. After discovering Ghanaian craftsmanship, Maria decided to start a project alongside a group of artisans. Our shared link to African communities and to Africa—hers to Ghana and ours to Malawi—made us excited to ask her about her journey in creating her brand and her life in Ghana.

How did Aketekete come to life?

I moved to Ghana 5 years ago with the idea of learning about textile design. During the first year, I traveled, got to know the country, learned about Ghanaian craftsmanship, and made really good friends. During that time, I also started to see how, in my opinion, even though it's a country with unique craftsmanship, it wasn't valued enough. Based on this idea, along with a group of artisans, we decided to start a joint project.

What is the philosophy behind your production process? Can you tell us what 'Sustainability Through Craftsmanship' means?

We started this project with a clear idea: to work on our pieces with love, patience, and delicacy. We believe in sustainability as a philosophy to work on every day: using natural or recyclable materials, valuing the hands that produce them, and promoting the continuity of traditions.

An important component of your designs is color. What value does it have for you?

In Ghana, everything is about color. The streets, people's clothing, the markets, life itself. Colors also hold cultural meanings and are used to tell stories. Aketekete was born to give a voice to craftsmanship and the Ghanaian people. Color had to be a part of it.

Who makes up the Aketekete team?

We are a community of creatives who come together to promote craftsmanship. Currently, we are a team of 70 artisans and 3 designers, each of us dividing the work according to our knowledge and specialties.

What relationship do you have with the artisans in Ghana?

For us, Aketekete is not a company; it's a big family. From the start, we wanted to ensure that both the artisans and the team were aware of and responsible for the decisions and the direction that Aketekete takes as a brand. We're in constant contact, despite the distance between some of us.

What is your day-to-day like in Ghana?

If there's one thing Ghana has, it's that it's always unpredictable. Each day is different; you have to adapt to the moment and work to the rhythm of life here.

I have my sacred moments that no one can take away from me, like taking my dog for a walk early in the morning while listening to music. But afterward, I go where the day takes me. Honestly, it can be a bit stressful at times, but it's also exciting because each day is an adventure.

What kind of people would you like or believe wear your designs?

When I think of Aketekete's customer, I think of someone who wants to learn about Ghanaian culture, who wants to be part of a project that's not just about design but about community, growth, and empowerment. Someone who takes pride in owning a piece and admires it each time they wear it. Someone who wants to share the project with their people. Someone who wants to pass down the piece to their children and so on.

Could you give us 3 tips for readers about things you do to consume or live more sustainably in your day-to-day life?

Buying local and seasonal food, using second-hand clothing, and supporting small businesses.

These three actions have had a significant impact on my relationship with my surroundings. Understanding the processes, appreciating the present, and growing in alignment with my values.

A Quick catch Up! :)

What do you do on a Sunday afternoon?

In Ghana, there's a tradition of going to the beach Chiringuito on Sundays. I love it! It's a great way to disconnect and start the week with new energy.

If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?

Cheese. No doubts.

Drink that makes you the happiest.

Right now, it's Orijin! It's a Ghanaian herbal liquor, and I love it. Super refreshing.

First thing you do when you wake up in the morning.

Have a cup of tea in the garden with my dog.

Favorite daily self-care routine?

Barcelona, to see my loved ones!

Favorite place in Ghana?

Bolgatanga, where most of our weavers reside. I'm in love with the tranquility in that part of the country. The connection with nature, the savoir-faire.

Favorite Instagram account?

I have many accounts I like. @sophia_roe for her energy and strength, @esdecirdiario to stay informed, @piariverola for inspiration.

Favorite HAAN product?

SPF 35 Sunscreen. I love it because it's super lightweight and absorbs immediately.

Dream to fulfill at Aketekete?

For the company to be self-managed by the artisans.