portrait of Chrissa Amuah
Courtesy Chrissa Amuah/Amwa Designs

For Ghanaian Textile Designer Chrissa Amuah, Storytelling is Everything

The creative director and founder of AMWA Designs has recently released a new fabric collection with Bernhardt Design that incorporates abstract interpretations of Ghanaian symbols.

In the era of social media, why not embrace your unique backstory as an asset, says textile designer Chrissa Amuah. “I try to curate a very sincere and authentic social media presence,” she explains. Storytelling is everything, and the young designer operates by this philosophy online, at networking events, and in planning her own marketing materials. They include one of the business cards she handed to Bernhardt’s president and creative director, Jerry Helling, when she met him at an event a few years before their collaboration on the Duality collection launched this year.

“When you’ve truly understood your story, it’s very easy to share it with people, and carry them on that journey with you,” she said. Before her partnership with Bernhardt, Amuah would email companies of interest and send them sample packages—“light boxes covered with my textiles, and a goodie pack of samples.”

Being of Ghanaian heritage, Amuah incorporated Ghanaian and Adinkra symbolism into her fabric designs, even though she sometimes felt unsure of how the work would be perceived. “When I was starting, I was hesitant. I thought ‘Is it too Black for them?’ ” But ultimately she decided “you have to get over those thoughts. If the message is good and the visuals are strong, [design] crosses barriers.”

Courtesy Chrissa Amuah/Amwa Designs

And after the year we’ve all had, says Amuah, it’s simply high time that people learned to embrace each other’s heritage. In that vein, this year she also codesigned the Ghanaian pavilion for the London Design Biennale at Somerset House with architect Alice Asafu-Adjaye. “We speak about amplifying unheard voices and enhancing awareness of our shared humanity,” Amuah says. Her designs also lend themselves to such conversations.

The Duality Collection features traditional West African symbols.
Bernhardt Design developed its latest textile collection, Duality, with designer Chrissa Amuah, whose abstract interpretation of Ghanaian symbols informs six patterns. Courtesy Chrissa Amuah/Amwa Designs

Would you like to comment on this article? Send your thoughts to: [email protected]