Kofi Annan: An Astonishing Mind Inspires a Beautiful Fabric

Kofi Annan might not be the first name that springs to mind when it comes to describing a fabric, but the mind of this great man is exactly what has inspired Maakola’s newest print; Kofi Annan’s Brains.

With a design that is equally strong as it is beautiful, this wax hollandais fabric, produced by Dutch fabric house Vlisco, is a stand-out for many reasons. The print is dazzling and powerful, and the man behind the name, even more so.

Who Was Kofi Annan?

Born in 1938, Kofi Atta Annan was a Ghanian diplomat who achieved so much greatness in his life.

Annan served as the seventh Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006. In 2001 he was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, and was the founding chair of the Kofi Annan Foundation. This important organisation’s mission statement is to mobilize political will to overcome threats to human rights and peace. He was committed to stopping the spread of HIV in Africa, fought against anti-semitism, and he established the modern Human Rights Council.

As astounding as all this is, it is but the tip of the iceberg of this astonishing man’s achievements. By understanding his commitment to creating a brighter and more hopeful future, we are reminded how we each have the power to create positive changes in the world.

The Story Behind the Fabric

At Maakola, inspiration drives our creation, and the achievements and work of Kofi Annan has inspired us to use this beautiful fabric and dedicate a collection to his astonishing mind and legacy.

But where did the wax hollandais fabric come from, and what was the inspiration behind the design?

Dutch fabric house Vlisco, renowned for creating fabric made with time-honoured methods, released this print at a very significant time. Vlisco name their fabrics with special meaning by the merchants of Central and West Africa, and this statement print is no exception. On the very day this particular fabric was released, Kofi Annan gave one of his final speeches in New York as Secretary General of the United Nations.

Vlisco noted how the groups of trees depicted a brain shape, and the outstretched branches had the appearance of neural pathways. Thus, the trees (or “brains”) became a reference to Annan’s brilliant and unique mind.

When Inspiration Meets Sustainable Fashion

This eye-catching fabric comes in two colourways, with more colour options to be revealed, and both make a powerful statement, much like their namesake. The design features one of Vlisco’s signature prints; small sets of trees with trunks leading into each other and branches reaching out and connecting together. The groups of trees are positioned in a pattern that very much resembles the shape of the brain.

Both colour options have the beautiful, deep indigo colour as a background that comes from another of Africa’s most popular textiles — Indigo Fabric. The first option features a purple design, the other showcases a bright coral print. The coral option has the added luxe touch of gold detailing.

Along with these options, Maakola will be releasing even more colours soon, so watch this space.

The Maakola Meaning: Small Units Generating Big Change

Maakola has with strong links to Ghana, after all, it is where our name came from and where our custom made fashion is created. It was therefore only natural that we were drawn to this fabric, as it celebrates one of the country’s most important and beloved figures.

We love the analogy between the tree design and Annan’s brain, but the African print has an extra meaning to us.

The branches of the trees have been compared to the brain’s neural networks — a pathway that connects to billions of neurons that guide our behaviour and create our own personal ecosystem. We also noticed a connection between these networks, and another powerful ecosystem.

We have discussed our Coral Reef fabric in a previous post, and we believe that the complex ecosystem of the coral reefs can be seen in the same way. Just like the neurons in the brain, coral polyps connect together to form colonies and then reefs. The reefs then provide shorelines with protection and a home to a huge number of marine life.

Both of these ecosystems — the brain and the reef — are essential to life, to progression and to growth. The prints on both Coral Reef and Kofi Annan’s Brain’s remind us of our connection to the world around us, to others and to nature.

Laila Abubakari in our Gaia Night Crop Jacket and Pencil Pants

Working with Kofi Annan’s Brains

This beautiful design can be found on Vlisco’s wax hollandais fabric — undeniably their most popular fabric. This is the original wax print fabric and is loved so much thanks to its myriad of qualities. Made from 100% cotton yarn, the woven fabric has a very tight weave, making it strong, durable and versatile. Prints look vivid and detailed, making it the ideal choice for the Kofi Annan’s Brains design.

At Maakola, we love this design, and it’s meanings, so much that we have incorporated it across our sustainable fashion collection. You can find the print on a number of our Gaia pieces; ranging from jackets to pants.

Create your own unique and powerful look, inspired by one of the world’s greatest minds, and do amazing things.

Discover More and Shop the Collection

Maakola is a made-to-order sustainable fashion brand, handmade in Ghana and Italy and aiming to empower women through stories and design.

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