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Nana YaaSerwaah Akuoku


Rapunzel, 2021

Black Synthetic Hair fibers hand sewn/Adhered onto Nylon Mesh and hand spun Lace, trimmed with beading, sequin, marabou & Hackle feathers


“Growing up, my mom has always told me that a woman’s hair is an extension of her beauty. As a child, every few weeks she would take me to 125th street in Harlem to get my hair braided in elaborate braid styles by native African women. I always left those salon chairs feeling so pretty and filled with so much joy. It was when considering this childhood memory and the idea that hair has a real connection to our emotions that I embarked on this collection. .It is my hope that Rapunzel will make a woman feel as beautiful as does her hair.

Alt text: Female figure standing on bridge wearing a face mask and a long evening gown made of black braided hair.


Artist Statement:

I am interested in the line between Fashion and Art. I intentionally blur these perceived boundaries within my practice of creating wearable, textile-infused sculpture that diffuses the barriers between fashion, technology and “traditional art". I refer to this work as “Conceptual-Couture.” I work by combining traditional textiles and repurposed objects such as hair fibers, mirrors, Metal and wood to create unexpected textiles and unconventional fashion silhouettes that reimagine the human form both in shape and in movement. I am interested in removing preconceived notions of objects and their uses through applying an artistic approach to cerebral subject matter. I reshape the context of these objects to express my intended narrative; one which shifts with each work, but is often rooted in introspection, culture and Futurism/Afro-futurism. Additionally, As with my speaking work, "Grandma" I have incorporated fundamental robotics into my practice to both further emphasize the context and dimension of my work as well as to explore the unification of high-tech and low-tech, traditional and futuristic as well as art and utility.

Alt text: A female standing, holding an apple, and wearing a long evening gown made of black braided hair.

Alt text: A video of a female standing and wearing a long evening gown made of black braided hair.  A close up shot shows details of the black hair braids and black fishnet accents that make up the gown.

About Nana YaaSerwaah Akuoku

Nana YaaSerwaah Akuoku is a NYC based WearableArt Designer and visual-Artist of Ghanaian heritage and American nationality. Akuoku, a two time Alumna of the Fashion Institute of Technology; is acknowledged for her conceptual wearables that obscure boundaries between “traditional” art, fashion and technology. The uniqueness of Akuoku's practice is in conceptualizing innovative methodologies of approaching fashion design by removing preconceived notions of what objects and their uses are and in doing so, reshaping their context to express narratives related to identity, introspection and culture. She often refers to concepts in science, technology and contemporary art within her fashion-based practice. Akuoku is recipient of the Wassaic Project's Winter 2019 Teaching Fellowship. In fall 2020, Her works were on view at NORDSTORM NYC “Styling: Black Expression, Rebellion and Joy Through Fashion” as part of the Fashion film installation by artist Diane Smith. Past installations of Nana Yaa; include the Afrochella festival, the Ghana Tech Summit and The Black Gala at the Accra Science and Technology Museum. Her designers have been highlighted by publications such as Allure, Essence, and New York Times Style. Recently, Her work "Rapunzel" was worn by the opening performer of the prestigious “Wearable-Art-Gala”; Headed by philanthropist and Beyoncé’s mother; Ms.Tina Knowles-Lawson

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