Collision Course: How Fashion Brand Kwasi Paul Fuses Two Worlds

By Bianca Gracie | December 6, 2023



This feature is in our Oct. Fall Issue. Click here to subscribe.


A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin' Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL
A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin' Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL

Designer Samuel Boakye masterfully merges two worlds—Ghana and New York City—in his brand Kwasi Paul (@kwasipaulofficial).


Samuel Boakye launched his first Kwasi Paul collection in 2021 PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL
Samuel Boakye launched his first Kwasi Paul collection in 2021 PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL

Where did your passion for design spark?

My interest in fashion actually first sparked toward the end of my college year. But I’ve always grown up around it because my mom went to FIT. We had the dress form, sewing machines and the needles on the floor. But I didn’t develop an interest for it till about post-college when a friend asked me to help him with his brand. Then I got super passionate about it. I was like, ‘I think this is something I can do. I don’t want to be a physical therapist anymore. I want to see what this fashion thing is looking like.’ So I taught myself how to sew. I made my first suit for somebody’s wedding and prom. And then it turned into one-off projects. After some time, I wanted to create something that’s a lot more personable and represents my DNA. That’s how Kwasi Paul came about.


A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin’ Vol II spring/ summer 2023 collection. PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL
A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin’ Vol II spring/ summer 2023 collection. PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL

The title of the label celebrates your parents’ names. You’re merging African with Western cultures.

I take inspiration from the types of fabrics that we use back home in the motherland. We’re really doing a lot of experimenting with kente cloth. Eventually, we want to figure out how to integrate it into the weaving process or even the dyeing process. The styles, craftsmanship and tailoring is how I try to weave both [cultures] together. Being firstborn generation—I was born in the Bronx and raised in Queens—I also weave that in. I also take inspiration from my parents’ old photo albums from when they first came to New York. I didn’t know my pops had that much swag back in the day (laughs). I remember this cream bomber jacket he wore [next to] some record players. I was like, ‘I got to do something like that.’ My mom was definitely always a fashionista—just traveling with her to Ghana and her wearing these nice bootcut jeans with this black shirt with some medallions on it. And growing up in Queens, there’s this hip-hop culture that you’re surrounded with.


A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin’ Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL
A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin’ Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL

What’s the inspiration behind your new collection, Market Symphonies?

When my parents first came here, one of the first places they went to was the African market. The African market is essential for people who are first coming to the States, even people such as myself, because it’s a familiar place in an unfamiliar world. Not only do you go there for your essentials—spices, food, sweets, clothes, accessories—but it’s a community as well. You go there for gossip, to play games and to watch soccer. So I wanted to highlight the African market within this next collection, and just highlight the community aspect to what we’re looking at, also highlighting some people that own the African market, hearing their stories from coming from the motherland to America, how they came about settling in the States, how they built their business, conversations to style, taking inspiration from the spices and what is essential in our household. We wanted to highlight different African markets in different cities, where there’s a high population of people from the diaspora.


A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin' Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL
A look from the brand’s Amerikan Dreamin' Vol II spring/summer 2023 collection PHOTO COURTESY OF KWASI PAUL

Tags: Bianca Gracie,

Photography by: