Over a thousand people from different backgrounds were present at Rawlings Park in Accra on October 29 2023, for the second edition of the Obroni Wawu festival. The event, hosted under the theme “The Adeɛyie (to make better) Resurrection”, brought fashion enthusiasts and key stakeholders from different parts of the country and beyond, to celebrate Kantamanto Market for its role in reuse, repair, upcycling and remanufacturing of used clothes for global sustainability, circularity.
Organizers of the program, the Or Foundation and Kantamanto Market Community, say this year’s event was a call for all fashion enthusiasts and anyone who’d ever worn ‘foose’ back to the roots of Ghana’s culture of preservation, whilst also celebrating the importance of Kantamanto Market to Ghanaians and global circularity at-large.
Delegates from Ghana, Chile, Uganda, Kenya, France, USA, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK, on the first day of the two-day event, participated in a forum dubbed the “Circle Talk” which discussed pertinent issues within the fashion industry. Thought provoking conversations were held on secondhand fashion, a prosperous future for the Kantamanto community and its relevance within the Ghanaian fashion culture.
The second day, which was the highlight of this year’s event, presented festival-goers with a fashion show, spotlighting the skills within the Kanta community. Multiple events including musical performances, adeɛyie demonstrations, pop-up shops, a popular energetic drip contest, and a runway show featuring upcycled designs and stylish outfits from 5 emerging designers from the Obroni Wawu October (OWO) school.
Neal Davids, from the OWO school, said the event was a very significant one for them given the role that used clothing and Kantamanto has played in the socio-economic formation of the country. “Foose and the culture of reuse and repair has become an integral part of African Fashion. Events like these are important to empower young designers and shine a spotlight on the creative industry in Ghana. There is no reason why their work can not compete on the global runway when time meets opportunity. When I was an upcoming stylist, I only wished such an event existed.”
The lead organizer of the event, Sammy Oteng, called on all industry players and policy makers to rally around the conversation on proper recognition of Kantamato within Ghana’s fashion industry. “Our focus is to center the Kantamanto Community. This is a first of its kind event in Ghana and Africa, urban thrift and upcycle culture is on the rise and we believe events like this will not only celebrate and spotlight Kantamanto and Ghana for its creative entrepreneurial pathways within the industry but also cement its name as a flagship and global hub for circular fashion” he said.
The entire event proved to be a resounding success, drawing in a substantial crowd, generating high levels of patronage, and leaving behind a sense of anticipation for the next one. As festival goers continue to share rave reviews with the #ObroniWawuOctober hashtag on social media; Obroni Wawu October has firmly established itself as an annual highlight in Ghana’s cultural calendar.
Obroni Wawu October (OWO 2023) partners included The Or Foundation, Kantamanto Used Clothing Association, Debonair Afrik, Palm Moments, Ghana Food Movement, Mabilgu Foods, Suya Republik and the She Guards with support from 3Music.tv, TV3, The Multimedia Group and Yfm.