Ghana meets Sicily. Among design, Arts&Crafts and sustainability
KxK is... the place where the Ghanaian and Sicilian know-how and traditions come together
KxK is... a lab of ideas and creativity where Kente, the precious cloth of Ghanaian Kings, join itself to the Sicilian culture and the best entrepeneurs and craftsmen of the two countries cooperate together.
KxK is an ambition, a vision, and a mission
KxK is a project of eco-design & eco-craft promoting values of social innovation and interculturalism. It focuses on Kente, the precious handmade fabric worn to create the robes of the Kings of Ghana.
KxK is the meeting place between the skills of Kente weavers living in Ghanaian villages and the know-how of Sicilian craftsmen. The result is a collection of design objects that are strictly handmade, unique and limited editions, made with the Kente cloth. The purpose is the revival of the ancient know-how and craft traditions of both the cultures: the Ghanaian and the Sicilian one.
KxK is the meeting place of two cultures that results in traditional manufacturing and design. They are the expression of the union of people and an instrument of promotion of "diversity" and "community".
KxK is the "KxK Network Lab", a laboratory of ideas and creativity, joining entrepreneurial and craft excellences in both countries.
KxK is also…
We want to promote the quality and the value of unique and handcrafted products.
The respect of the environment starts from the choice of raw materials to be used in the production process: from the use of natural fibers to waste materials to be ricycled.
The entire production is entrusted to the work of several local manufacturers with a special care for "fragile people" and for the redemption of the land.
We look for no serial productions and the absolute uniqueness of each product, made with strips of Kente. KxK items are different from one another, unique and unrepeatable as well as their imperfections, according to the paradigm "No two alike."
This traditional symbol of the Sicilian culture in the world, symbolically associated with the social emancipation of the masses of Sicilian immigrants but also of the illegality of the Mafia in the past, today is a symbol of freedom and redemption for new generations. Over time, this Sicilian headdress has become a must-have accessory of the current fashion world. It's suitable to embellish any outfit because of its versatility (by the most casual to the most sophisticated one).
The use of Kente for its manufacture is aimed at celebrating the meeting of the Ghanaian and the Sicilian cultures, taken place in Sicily where Ghanaian people are a large part of the community of new migrants. That enhances this product of the Sicilian tradition adding value and new and deep meanings to it. The multiple colours and the geometric patterns of Kente add great panache and originality to the Sicilian item.
The manufacture of the "coppola" hat, hand-crafted by excellent Sicilians craftsmen, and the use of strips of Kente cloth for each of these items also make it an article unique and unrepeatable, limited editions and numbered.
THE KxK COPPOLE: THE SICILIAN CAPS IN KENTE
Tradition, design and innovation: these elements have produced the first collection of the KxK bags.
Part of this collection is the result of an innovative design of any most typical objects from the Sicilian rural tradition: one of them is the “coffa”, the basket that was used in the past to give fodder to horses or mules in the countrysides. It is obtained by the hand woven "curina", the tender part of the leaves of the Sicilian dwarf palm.
Today, the Sicilian coffa has crossed the borders of the island and switched sides. Even coming from its first role of a humble working tool, it has been revised, adorned and turned into an elegant bag lady, findable in the collections of the most famous designers worldwide.
The KxK bags' design started both from the original coffa and from other Sicilian objects, such as the shepherds' water bottle in goatkin, doubled, folded, stretched, extended, and crushed to create a new object: a high fashion accessory. It combines tradition and innovation, breaking the rules, but being rooted in the cultural history of our Sicily.
The Kente fabric, symbol of the Ghanaian tradition, here becomes an element of innovation that gives the product both originality and uniqueness.
KxK bags are produced in limited editions and numbered. Their exclusivity is also the result of the work of Sicilian craftsmen, project partners and network members of the KxK Network Lab. They assembly Kente clothes with the rich fabrics and waste leathers coming from previous processing of the major high fashion brands. That makes the KxK bags' collection unique and absolutely unrepeatable.
THE KENTE CLOTH
KENTE, THE CLOTH OF KINGS
Legend has it that about 375 years ago two brothers from the Bonwire village, in the ancient Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana, inspired by a spider weaving its web, wove a strip with geometric patterns. The fabric had an infinite variety of colours and geometries. It was called "kente", which means "basket", as it evokes the weave. It was of such beauty that it became "the fabric for the robes of Kings".
Kente is woven in narrow strips of cloth, then sewn together to create drapes for men's garments and now also pieces of cloth for women.
The wood loom, activated with incredible skill and speed from the hands and feet of purely men weavers, has dimensions typical of the portable looms of nomadic African people: it was loaded on beasts of burden and carried beyond deserts, rivers and mountains, spreading the art of weaving.
THE BONWIRE VILLAGE
This precious fabric, designed in the seventeenth century in the village of Bonwire, is one of the most popular fabrics from Africa, and Bonwire (in the Municipal District of Ejisu - Juaben in the Ashanti Region, Ghana) is still the most famous centre for weaving Kente.
This precious fabric, having so many meanings, is still one of the most significant expressions of the Ghanaian culture. Over the last centuries, the fabric has undergone many changes: the wires, originally made of silk, have been replaced by rayon, silk and cotton, to be accessible to a larger number of people. New models with new meanings are constantly being designed, but many of the original models are still used in weaving. The fine cloths to wear for ceremonies have given way to objects of common use.
GEOMETRIC PATTERNS AND
Each geometric pattern in Kente cloth design holds a specific meaning: a name, a piece of oral literature, philosophical concepts, moral values, a human behavior and attributes of plant and animal life. The collection of different patterns on a single cloth holds another symbolic meaning. Therefore, before becoming a master weaver, a person must learn the meanings of all of the patterns and how to create them.
COLOURS AND MEANINGS
Kente traditional colours are originally taken from the roots and leaves of the trees. According to Ashanti tradition, black represents Africa, red means the blood of their forefathers, yellow represents gold and green means the forest.
Gold is also the royal colour, a symbol of well-being, glory and spiritual purity.
Blue stands for peace, harmony and love.
Brown is the colour of Mother Earth and is associated with healing.
Green represents vegetation, growth and spiritual renewal.
The KxK Network LAB is a laboratory chain in network where eco-craft makers from Ghana, from Sicily and the Ghanaian community in Sicily, will be involved in the production of design objects strictly handmade, unique and limited series. made with Kente fabric the traditional Ashanti Kings' clothes of the ancient and namesake empire in Ghana.
KxK is also an informal place where designers and craftsmen from Sicily and Ghana share their skills and know-how. It's an opportunity of visibility for designers and craftsmen of the network, but also of training and free benefits for all members of the network.
It's a network open to all those who like teamwork and challenges, wish to embrace the KxK project and contribute to it by networking their personal skills and know-how.