Why We Are
Across Southern Africa, we’re joined by a blend of exceptional human beings and communities – master artisans, weavers, pickers, washers and personified beams of splendour that make Ashanti Design what we are.
Our home base in Paarden Eiland, South Africa, is where the core Ashanti Design family call home.
A mix-match crew of multitalented artists we're firmly committed to the upliftment, individuality and artistry of our weavers, welders, seamspeople and all the others in between. We do our best to celebrate the differences, cultivate common ground and create a supportive, nurturing environment in any way we can.
And yes, sometimes that might mean a watergun fight.
We're also firmly committed to upskilling and training - assisting existing team members climb the ladder all the way to the top. And we've got some stars on our team. Amiena for example started out on the sewing line, but it quickly became clear that she had impressive organizational skills. So we promoted her to handle logistics, accounts, and admin - and she's been crushing it ever since. And Siya? He started his journey with us in the fusing department and worked his way up to become our dispatch manager, showing off his skills and expertise every step of the way.
We want to see our team members succeed in every area of their lives. Want to get your driver's license? We'll help make it happen. Need help finding a new home? We're on it. We believe in understanding what our staff needs and trying our very best to make it happen.
All our woven basket products at Ashanti Design are created in the beautiful country of Malawi.
Over many years we've built up long standing relationships with our facilitators, partners and weaving communities. In total, there are 7 weaving villages that we work with, each one bringing a specific style, technique and creativity to these products.
The benefit which these communities recieve from their work with Ashanti Design is often lifechanging. The money received from their woven goods is sometimes the only form of income they have, and once an entire village rallies together to produce these goods the entire area can transform.
We believe in:
Paying these individuals and communities fairly.
Working with their traditional techniques, shapes and personal styles, instead of projecting our creative views onto them.
And assiting in other ways whenever neccesary - be it emergency food rations, medical care or other human-essentials.
Our relationship with Madagascar stretches back decades to when our founder Rob Walker boarded the first commercial plane to the island and became captivated with the beauty of the country and it's people.
A few years later he returned to run a commercial recycling project taking fast fashion waste material and weaving it into a multi-coloured fabric.
This became the basis of the rainbow beanbags Ashanti Design was famous for in the mid 2000's.
The fibre of our colourful fabric originates from T-shirt offcuts. This perfectly good material, considered ‘waste’ by clothing factories, would usually end up in a landfill. We buy it and transport it to weavers in villages all over Madagascar.
These artisans sort the offcuts, cut them into strips of tarn using a razor blade, tie the strips together and roll them into balls of ‘yarn’ that are used for the weft in the weave.
Madagascar is one of the most impoverished and isolated nations in the world and our upcycling project not only provides a vital wage for 100's of people, but also helps reduce waste which would ordinarily end up in the countries already bulging landfills.
In addition to a livable wage we try to support these communities in any additional ways we possibly can.
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