DESIGN WITH STORYTELLING
ASHES & SOIL combines design with storytelling. With its creations, the fashion label picks up on the fates of outsiders who have no other platform in society.
"I didn't want to spend my whole life using my capacities to build someone else's dreams. I want to see my own thoughts realized and inspire others to do the same," says Martina Offeh. The creative director is the mastermind behind ASHES & SOIL. She founded the label in 2019 and has since then focused on intercultural exchange and the representation of minorities in society.
ASHES & SOIL founder: Martina Offeh
In many regions along the West African coast, mentally ill people are marginalized by the community and do not receive professional help. Many of those affected do not know what is wrong with them at all. The first collection, "Introspection" is therefore dedicated to eight of them. On the company website ASHES & SOIL the label has documented the testimonials' stories about how people struggle with mental health problems and their stigma.
The collection consists of eight styles, one for each testimonial: four wool coats, three leather jackets and one quilted jacket. Each piece reflects the story of one of the people affected. For example, the lining is printed with illustrated portraits and the integrated "story label" explains what the person has gone through. The proceeds from "Introspection" will be used to support the organization "On The Move e.V.", which promotes mental health worldwide.
The current collection of ASHES & SOIL
It is also important for the label to visually pick up the origin of the testimonials. That is why African-inspired details can be found in every item. For example, the lapel collar in one style is derived from the colourful dashiki, which are traditionally worn in West Africa. In general, AHES & SOIL works with the most authentic colour schemes, patterns and native fabrics possible.
Nevertheless, the brand's products are not made in Africa. The leather jackets are made of naturally tanned leather in Turkey. Wool coats and quilted jackets are produced in a local factory in Germany, where fair working conditions are guaranteed.
"We are on a journey to capture stories and redefine the possibilities of art by balancing our heritage, our craft and our beliefs," the label explains. We're excited to see what stories Ashes and Soil will tell next.