The Vogue Guide to Shopping in Accra
Courtesy of Ophelia Crossland
Life in Accra, the capital city of Ghana, is vibrant, a cosmopolis with convenient social amenities, historic landmarks, and a towering list of eclectic festivals that are particularly alluring. Its pulse, however, is the culturally attuned creative expression that manifests in arts and crafts, music, culinary dishes, and fashion. Should you be planning a visit to Accra, figuring out what to pack for your trip can seem daunting. But don’t be frustrated yet, as Accra’s prolific fashion scene might be the right motivation to travel light. Come along as Vogue explores, in no particular order, the city’s hottest retail destinations and some hidden gems too.
Shopping in Accra has undergone a seismic shift thanks to the pioneering role of retailers such as Viva Boutique. The multibrand luxury retail experience is located in the hip Osu neighborhood and is home to international brands such as Bottega Veneta, Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Alberta Ferretti, MaxMara, and many more.
In 2018 Viva opened Viva Concept Store in East Legon, which offers a curated edit of its signature international labels as well as prominent African designers, such as Duaba Serwa, Dye lab, Melange by Pistis, Tiffany Amber, and Obida. They also stock handpicked home decor, skin-care products, and their in-house beauty brand So Aesthetic. With a backdrop of understated yet tasteful decor, Viva Boutique and Viva Concept store will impress you.
Located along the switchback road in bougie Cantonments, the Lotte comprises two floors of compartmentalized retail space. It is Accra’s biggest luxury retail concept store by size and variety of merchandise. The Lotte is unequivocal of its mission to champion artistic expressions in fashion, art, and sustainable design. As such, it carries exclusively indigenous African and diasporan luxury powerhouses such as David Tlale, Thebe Magugu, Andrea Iyamah, Christie Brown, Torlowei, Loza Molaembho, and Titi Adesa and beauty brands Charlotte Mensah, R&R Luxury, Dabota Cosmetics, and ByAdel. A selection of evocative art and artifacts punctuates the retail experience. At the Lotte, explore the thoughtfully curated pop-ups, in-person consultations with distinguished African designers, and a host of signature events while you are in Accra.
The Shop Accra by Eyetsa
The Shop Accra is an experience like no other. Located in the quieter neighborhood of Osu, the Shop Accra stocks an expansive range of indigenous African textiles, such as the bogolanfini (mud cloth), kente, and indigo-dyed adire cloth. Its collection of quirky slogan T-shirts—like the classic “Make Fufu, not War”—could make anyone crack a smile. The shop also stocks a wide variety of skin-care products, aromatic candles, beaded bags, sculptures, books, and curios of all kinds. And in case you get fatigued while shopping, the kitchen bar is on hand for a treat.
Elle Lokko Tropics and Modern
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Elle Lokko artfully crafts a chic, contemporary African aesthetic of its own. Created for the modern feminine, Elle, an offshoot of its parent brand (Lokko House), is a curated window to Africa’s luxury fashion, beauty, and accessory brands. The store is housed in a colonial-style edifice in Osu, with baroque skirting, antique furniture, and walls that evoke the nostalgia of 16th-century frescos. Soothing indie music accentuates the Elle Lokko experience. The collection of unique and versatile products of exceptional quality attests to the discerning taste of founder Stefania Manfreda. Elle Lokko is a formidable contender in Accra’s progressive retail scene.
If your shopping needs transcend clothing to home goods, NuAfropolitan is a great place to look. NuAfropolitan is a full-service design studio specializing in contemporary furniture and product design of distinctive Afro-inspired aesthetics. Established by University of Arts London alumnus Jewel Arthur, NuAfropolitan is the gold standard for excellence in craftsmanship, sustainability, and creative cultural expression that embodies true African luxury. On sale are the brand’s iconic root tables, a cane-and-raffia dining set in a quirky Hulk green, a sun mirror with ostrich-feather detailing, cowrie necklaces, and feature lamps composed of recycled paper. Don’t miss the opportunity to see the pop-up if you swing by the Galleria.
Wild Gecko may suffice as your one-stop shop for a chic ethnic look and traditional accessories. Its extensive range of reasonably priced artifacts and convenient location set it apart. Indeed, if you belong to a tour group under the care of a local guide, a visit to Wild Gecko or the famed arts center may already be on your bucket list. In the unlikely event that you fail to grab a few artifacts while in the city, Wild Gecko is on hand at the duty-free shopping area at departures.
The Custom Experience
Beyond concept stores, the custom-tailoring experience is integral to shopping in Accra. Accra is also home to many prolific designers, some of whom you may encounter on the shop floor of the above-listed stores. They are affable and may accord you a personalized shopping experience if you schedule an appointment beforehand. Here are a few recommendations if you desire to explore the city’s fashion scene a little further.
Visit Ophelia Crossland in Osu for a head-turning couture look. Duaba Serwaa’s studio in East Legon is one of Accra’s best-kept secrets. Kwaku Bediako’s Chocolate Global, located at the Galleria in Kempinski, is the go-to for avant-garde Afrocentric luxury. A moment in the company of Ghanaian fashion luminary Kwesi Nti and his classic cuts will leave you spellbound. Ethical fashion brand Larry Jay is another favorite, not forgetting the immersive flagship store of streetwear brand Free the Youth. And should you swing by Accra Mall, visit the beautifully curated Kiki clothing and Woodin stores. With these at your fingertips, you have every reason to look your best for your events in Accra and beyond.
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