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Australian-Ghanaian Alt Hip-Hop Artist Kwasi: 'Join The Fashion Revolution'

29 September 2023 | 5:35 pm | Kwasi

"When I saw the environmental damage being done in my dad's home country of Ghana, West Africa, I was inspired to use my own artistry to improve the situation."


Kwasi (Supplied)

I'm Benjamin Karikari-Yeboah, also known as Kwasi, a Ghanaian/Australian alternative hip-hop artist who uses creativity as a way of repurposing raw emotion and materials into something unique.

This approach was instilled in me at a young age when my Gram (Grandma) would take me to op-shops around Melbourne to search for toys that captured my imagination. I carried this practice into my later years as a thrashy skateboarder, selecting outrageous outfits to wear and digging for records to sample for my music production. This made me aware of how much we overconsume and sparked my interest in a cyclical approach to manufacturing.

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When I saw the environmental damage being done in my dad's home country of Ghana, West Africa, I was inspired to use my own artistry to improve the situation.

Ghana is one of the many places that receive castaway clothing from the Western world, referred to in Ghana as "Obroni Wa Wu" or "Dead White Man's Clothing," and most of it ends up in landfills, adding unnecessary pollution to the environment.

Fast fashion produces 92 million tons of textile waste per year, and the fashion industry is responsible for 10 percent of global carbon emissions, which is more than all international flights and maritime shipping combined.

Less than one percent of textile waste is currently being recycled into new clothing, while the rest ends up in landfills. We often buy clothing we don't need on impulse and dispose of it soon after. To address this issue, my approach to creating my apparel is driven by artistic alchemy, repurposing second-hand clothing and accessories instead of adding to oversaturated music merchandise.

Released on September 7, the iron-on ‘Ready to Go’ patch is the first item in my collection of adornments for re-purposing used apparel.

To coincide with the single release POISON, I will be releasing a limited run of ‘Poisonous Daisy’ pendants to decorate shoes and clothing items. These pieces serve the purpose of educating and raising awareness around overconsumption, by inspiring others to re-purpose their own second-hand apparel. Building up to a full collection of one-of-a-kind pieces, sourced and designed by me in collaboration with Instinctively Human.

Using the same ideals that hip-hop artists of the early ‘70s pioneered, the goal is to reimagine how we approach clothing consumption by taking raw samples, chopping them up, and giving them new life.

POISON is out now.