Aberrant Maia

Interview with Kojo Kusi

“It’s not just a piece of clothing – it’s literally art!” Words such as these are likely to be uttered whenever you encounter fashion pieces by the amazingly talented creative, Kojo Kusi. Kojo Kusi is the founder of STUDIOKOJOKUSI, WILD CLAIM, and is part of KEJETIA BOYS Inc. His designs have won him features on Vogue Italia, GQ ZA, Guap and many other publications plus an opportunity to showcase his designs at the Glitz Africa Fashion Week. Without telling it all in the introduction, let us dive straight into this interview with this incredible designer.

Black and white photo of Kojo Kusi

Photo of Kojo Kusi
Photographer: Kwame Afrika

Ayeyi: Hi Kojo!

Kojo Kusi: Hello, how are you doing?

Ayeyi: I’m doing great! I’m also real excited about this interview so let’s get right to it! Kojo Kusi, when anyone mentions that name – your name – what do you want them to remember?

Kojo Kusi: A creative with no boundaries; someone who strives to see his ideas become a reality.

Ayeyi: Mhmm…Love it. And one way you have made your ideas become a reality is through fashion. Was there any specific moment when you knew you wanted to become a fashion designer or did you happen to find yourself in the field?

Kojo Kusi: I made the decision to pursue a career in fashion design when I was still in high school and it’s one of my best decisions. Even though I made that decision after completing my high school education, it was very difficult trying to hang on to it because I had a family member and other people suggesting other professions to me. It was confusing, but I was able to hang on to my decision and I’m loving it!

Ayeyi: Love the way you stuck with your guts and refused to be swayed. So, you often describe your work as a collision of art and fashion. What does that mean?

Kojo Kusi: I’ve always been a lover of art and as far as I can remember, I was doing art, even in kindergarten. I studied visual arts in high school, so deciding to pursue a career in fashion design triggered that phrase. I had a rudimentary education in fashion and formal education in art, so the balance is pretty cool.

Studio Kojo Kusi collection at 2020 Glitz Africa fashion week

 “NO BOUNDARIES” collection at the 2020 Glitz Africa Fashion Week
Photographer: Nana Poley

Ayeyi: Talking of balance, how are you able to juggle the creative and business sides of fashion?

 Kojo Kusi: It’s tough but it’s a learning process so I’m down for it and paying good attention to every aspect of it. I have basic knowledge when it comes to business so I’m learning and putting in effort to keep a good balance for stability.

Ayeyi: (nods head in affirmation) Now, let’s dig a bit deeper into your creative process. When creating a collection, what does the process look like? 

Kojo Kusi: First, I create a mood board and sketch all the pieces. Then, I go to the market to source fabrics that will suit the collection and the silhouette I want to achieve. I work on the production by myself so basically STUDIOKOJOKUSI is a ‘slow’ fashion brand and every piece I produce is made to order.

Ayeyi: Interesting. So when you create the mood board, do you have any particular colours, patterns or prints you like to work with?

Kojo Kusi: Ever since I started designing, I doubt if I can pinpoint a particular colour or fabric as my favourite. I’ve grown to fall in love with every colour and fabric; I will work with any colour and fabric, if it suits.

 

Studio Kojo Kusi collection at 2020 Glitz Africa fashion week

 “NO BOUNDARIES” collection at the 2020 Glitz Africa Fashion Week
Photographer: Nana Poley

Ayeyi: Now, one thing that fascinates me about art is the ability of an artist to tell stories or convey emotions through their works. In your case, how do you use your clothes to either tell stories or evoke emotions?

Kojo Kusi: Being able to infuse an emotion or a certain character into a piece of work is very challenging because it takes a whole different inspiration and mood to be able to achieve that goal, and that’s exactly what I’m trying to project with my second collection. There’re certain elements I attach to the pieces to project the inspiration behind the piece and that could be a picture or a particular fabric to complete it.

Ayeyi: You have brought me right to my next question. You have been teasing us on social media with your next collection, titled “Welcome to the Studio.” What is the inspiration behind this collection?

Kojo Kusi: WTTS is a collection that projects the vision and the DNA of STUDIOKOJOKUSI. There are a lot of special elements attached to this collection that makes it exciting and edgy. The inspiration for this collection is my journey so far as a designer. The idea is to introduce the brand properly to my audience.

Ayeyi: And if you had to introduce STUDIOKOJOKUSI to your audience in three words, which ones would you use?

Kojo Kusi: PRECISION, DIVERGENT, PRISMATIC.

T-shirt with the inscription "Kejetia Boys"

Kejetia Boys SS21 Collection
Photographer: Kwame Afrika

Ayeyi: Kojo, I’m curious as to what important lessons you’ve picked up since embarking on this journey?

Kojo Kusi: One thing I have learnt is to be concise with my work. As an upcoming designer, it’s very easy to get the urge of doing a whole lot of different things which might have no meaning or intentionality. I’ve grown as a designer and I’m very intentional about my work now.

Ayeyi: Speaking of growth, STUDIOKOJOKUSI is not the only brand people associate you with. Can you tell us about the other labels you are involved in – WILD CLAIM and KEJETIA BOYS. inc? 

Kojo Kusi: WILD CLAIM is a brand under STUDIOKOJOKUSI and the concept is to highlight social injustice and wrong stereotyping in society. KEJETIA BOYS. inc is a brand established to project activities in and outside Kumasi. It’s a collective and I’m only a quarter of it. 

Men wearing T-shirts with the inscription, "In Foose We Trust"

Kejetia Boys SS21 Collection
Photographer: Kwame Afrika

Ayeyi: Till date, how has the reception to your works been so far?

Kojo Kusi: It’s been great and I must say I’m loving it. Also, a lot of people got exposed to the brand after my first showcase at the GLITZ fashion week, and since then the reception has been great.

Ayeyi: I must say that your collection at the GLITZ fashion week was super dope! We are about to end this interview but is there anything about the future that excites you the most?

Kojo Kusi: The future looks great and I believe whatever work I’m putting in right now is the reflection of my future and everything is moving smoothly so I’m geared up for the future.

Ayeyi: And I am sure there are some people reading this interview that would like to buy your clothes. What is the purchasing process like? 

Kojo Kusi: I’ve started stocking some pieces at the Lokkohouse and also I take orders through my DM on Twitter or Instagram, but I’m working on an official website to ease things up.

Ayeyi: Kojo, thank you so much for talking to me. I really appreciate it and I can’t wait to see the further amazing things you would do.

Kojo Kusi: Thank you so much for this platform, I appreciate it!.

Black and white photo of Kojo Kusi wearing a cap

Photo of Kojo Kusi
Photographer: Kwame Afrika

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