Let’s get loud – meet socially responsible streetwear label IDEY KOKO
It’s hard to deny the appeal of a bold African print, but a lot of the time Western folk will fail to recognise the significance of the culture it comes from. These aren’t just clothes – each design tells a story, with many commemorating events, culture and art references. It seems like a cheap shot when big corporations appropriate these designs for massive profits without giving anything back to the country of origin, so how do you embrace the culture while helping the people behind it? IDEY KOKO is a Sydney-via-Ghana-based streetwear label bringing the fun, flavour and beauty of African prints to a brand-new market with the utmost respect, served with a serious side of social responsibility.
IDEY KOKO is the brainchild of Evrithiki Diinis, an Australian creative who was inspired to make tangible change after working overseas in Ghana for a year. During her time working for a think tank, Evrithiki learned more about the failings of the traditional aid model and wanted to find a way to help vulnerable micro-businesses in the country. Upon returning to Australia she developed IDEY KOKO, a socially responsible streetwear label that connects local makers in Ghana with a global marketplace. Launching as a pop-up in Sydney back in 2016, the label has grown into a killer business serving up limited-edition looks loaded with personality.
The label’s design process is split between its two countries, with manufacturing taking place solely in Accra, Ghana by a collective of 15 tailors and seamstresses. The team is made up of a number of micro-businesses that Evrithiki became familiar with during her time in Ghana. Every garment you see is handmade by the collective using locally sourced West African print cotton fabric, with each team member paid per garment at a price they have set themselves. This means the people making the clothes can earn more than the average annual salary in just a few months – so you can shop knowing that you’re making a real difference to someone’s quality of life.
Need some IDEY KOKO action in your life? You can shop the range online, or pop into the Windsor ‘Design A Space’ store in Melbourne for a look. We’ve also heard whispers of a Brisbane pop-up in the future, so watch this space!