Obroni Wawu October receives top reviews for its innovation and inclusivity
Over a thousand people from different backgrounds gathered 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 together fashion enthusiasts and key stakeholders from various parts of the country and beyond to celebrate Kantamanto Market for its role in reusing, repairing, upcycling, and remanufacturing used clothes for global sustainability and circularity.
Organizers of the program, the Or Foundation and Kantamanto Market Community, state that this year’s event was a call for all fashion enthusiasts and anyone who has ever worn 'foose' to reconnect with the roots of Ghana’s culture of preservation, while also celebrating the significance of Kantamanto Market to Ghanaians and global circularity at large.
Delegates from Ghana, Chile, Uganda, Kenya, France, USA, Nigeria, South Africa, and the UK participated in a forum called the “Circle Talk” on the first day of the two-day event, discussing important issues within the fashion industry. Thought-provoking conversations centered on secondhand fashion, a prosperous future for the Kantamanto community, and its relevance within Ghanaian fashion culture.
The second day, which was the highlight of this year’s event, featured a fashion show showcasing the skills within the Kantamanto community. The day included various events such as musical performances, adeɛyie demonstrations, pop-up shops, an energetic drip contest, and a runway show featuring upcycled designs and stylish outfits from five emerging designers from the Obroni Wawu October (OWO) school.
Neal Davids, representing the OWO school, emphasized the event's significance given the role that used clothing and Kantamanto have played in the socio-economic development of the country. “Foose and the culture of reuse and repair have become integral parts of African Fashion. Events like these are crucial to empower young designers and shine a spotlight on the creative industry in Ghana. I only wished such an event existed when I was an upcoming stylist.”
The lead organizer of the event, Sammy Oteng, called on all industry players and policymakers to support the conversation on recognizing Kantamanto within Ghana’s fashion industry. “Our focus is on centering the Kantamanto Community. This is a first-of-its-kind event in Ghana and Africa. Urban thrift and upcycle culture are 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 solidify its name as a flagship and global hub for circular fashion,” he stated.
The entire event proved to be a resounding success, drawing 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.