Recent years have witnessed a growing emphasis on the fashion industry’s impact on the climate and on the environment. Now more than ever, sustainability is at the forefront of global fashion discussions, and West African fashion brands have a lot to contribute to the conversation.

Chiip O Neal (C//O) is one contemporary Ghanaian fashion brand that uses innovative upcycling, exciting embroidery features, as well as cultural and sustainable design aesthetics to produce inspiringly confident yet valuable, functional pieces dedicated to solving the global initiative of fabric waste management.

“All fabrics we use are naturally-sourced from local stores that have been rejected and discarded as useless,” Neal Davids, who launched the brand in August 2019, tells me. “These we test and use to produce amazing, inspiring pieces that tell our seasonal and capsule stories more. We believe the future should be sustainable and should be a desirable way of living, therefore clothing should not be an exception.”

For Chiip, repurposed fabrics tie in artistically, creating less harm to the environment, whilst adding an extra layer of depth to their pieces. Chiip O Neal’s SS21 collection ‘Nomadishi’, features pragmatic and antique upcycled pieces, described as ‘a woven tapestry of cultures that merge together to influence global connections’.

“‘Nomadishi’ is a story about the evolution of mankind through historical developments. It shows the transitions through which man has evolved and become the best version of themselves. Nomadishi simply means the last wandering man, referring to us as we have emerged from generations of human evolution.”

Nomadishi’s standout accessory is the crossbody bag which is available in upcycled coffee brown leather and playful woven slings. Androgyny is on full display throughout the collection, which features unorthodox, intricately-woven pieces that transcend the boundaries of gender.

“In adition to being size inclusive, I wanted Chiip to be sustainably genderless. We are certain that man is no different from woman. Despite our genetic makeup, we are regarded as one being. In recent times we find ourselves drawn to each other and mutually relying on each other for benefit, hence why this collection transcends the boundaries of gender. We have so much to offer as a brand. The future of Chiip is very sustainable and will become more advanced in upcycled features that are impactful and tell creatively inspiring stories through our product pieces, which exude confidence and are designed to be timeless.”

By embracing such forward-thinking brand initiatives so early on, there’s no doubt Chiip O Neal will be a staple within Ghana’s fashion industry for years to come.

Creative Director: Neal Davids @neal__davids
Fashion Assistant: Francis Dzah @dzahboy_
Hair & Makeup: Ella Odor @odor.ella, Troy Melange @t_melange
Photography: Alfred Quartey @aquartey_
Models: Ella Nartey @urie_blaq, Emmanuel Wilberforce @isurboi_protein1, Terry Tyler @terry_tyler_