At the Kokrobitey Institute in Ghana, sustainable design has always been a central concern

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Thousands of people have been touched by Neblett – affectionately known as “Aunt Renee” by all – and Kokrobitey over the past three decades. The institute has welcomed students from abroad, entrepreneurs and creatives who have followed apprenticeship programs, internships, residences and incubations. Neblett also works with the residents of Kokrobite village, providing training and creating jobs.

The program is extensive: Kokrobritey offers programs in fashion / textile, household product design, wood crafts, welding, glass recycling, jewelry making and development of beauty / skin care products, to name a few. An upcoming three-week course, to be held in January 2022, will focus on design focused on textile waste.

Design intern Hannah Riley and Renée C. Neblett. “What do I want people to see from us?” That somehow we try to practice what we preach, ”says Neblett. “We are trying to be a role model and trying to create a forum where like-minded people from various disciplines can come together and imagine what this world could be and who we could be in relation to each other.”

Photographed by Araba Ankuma

“We started to think about how we could make something and how we could employ people from that,” says Neblett. “Because even though education is really important, it’s hard to get people who struggle every day to sit down and listen to you, or engage in critical thinking if they can’t figure out how. they will earn a living. “

The institute’s latest fashion collection is a manifestation of this point of view. In December, the Kokrobitey Institute’s design team will launch the KI Design WOTE 2021 collection. Neblett led a team of six to create 30 vibrant, gender-neutral pieces that merge “African culture, the mother of modernity.” with its classic clean lines and love of color, with an urban energy.


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