Art and creative designs have a way of making things right in the world. Sometimes a beautifully crafted piece can just take your breath away. Looking at Ruby Buah’s designs can have that effect. Sharing her passion with a global audience, Buah launched Kua Designs.
A former analyst at Coca-Cola, Buah began seeking a creative outlet several years ago and discovered jewelry-making. After a few years, she decided to take her hobby to the next level by enrolling in the Fashion Institute of Design in New York City. She then returned to Accra, Ghana to start a family and open her boutique.
Her collection includes clutch bags, beaded jewelry and clothing. She says her creations were ” born out of the joy of being able to re-purpose and create something beautiful out of everyday African print fabrics.”
In addition to the collection, Buah launched Kua Cares an initiative that trains and employs visually impaired women in jewelry-making. Named for her mother, Kua stands for “Keeping Us Authentic.”
Now Buah is bringing her designs to the U.S. in a five-city tour. She kicked the festivities off in Atlanta on Saturday (June 25) followed by Los Angeles (July 9), Miami (July 16), Washington D.C. (July 23) and New York (July 30).
What inspired you to move into design?
Being raised in a typical middle-class family in Ghana in the 80s and 90s, art and the creatives, in general, were treated as an afterthought. So, I really didn’t give myself permission to explore that side of me fully.
Fast forward to some years later as a young adult in the U.S. making my own decisions, I decided to nurture that side of me. I quickly gravitated towards designs that reminded me of back home. When I finally decided to take the plunge and make fashion my new career, I decided to tell the story of my culture through my designs. Ghanaian culture is vibrant, timeless and soulful. I could not resist sharing that with the world.
What made you decide to pick these five cities for your pop-up tour?
I picked these cities partly based on where most of my online orders come from. Also, these cities have a healthy population of professional African Americans and African immigrants and those have been the people who mostly gravitate towards my brand. In the future, I’ll be going to other cities.
Despite being cut off from our ancestral heritage in Africa, Black people in America have often sought out African art, jewelry, and clothing. How does your brand help bridge that gap for folks in the states?
When you own a piece of Kua, you own a piece of my heritage – West African heritage. My pieces give my African American clientele a cultural identity and a connection to their roots in Africa because my designs are made in Ghana, and there’s heavy use of African symbols and motifs in my designs. My Africa clutch bag for example is very popular because just by looking at it, it lets the world know that the wearer of the bag is unapologetically proud to be associated with Africa.
What else should people know about the line and your inspiration?
It is important to me that the person wearing Kua knows that through their patronage, they’re encouraging sustainability and independence in Ghana because our products have a direct impact on a family there—from our employees, some of whom are visually impaired, to the women at our local market from whom we source supplies.
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