DESIGN & STORYTELLING
ASHES & SOIL combines design with storytelling. With its creations, the fashion label picks up on the fates of outsiders who otherwise have no 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 head behind ASHES & SOIL. She founded the label in 2019 and since then has focused on intercultural exchange and the representation of minorities in society.
ASHES & SOIL Founder: Martina Offeh
In many regions on the West African coast, mentally ill people are expelled from the society and do not receive professional help. Many of those affected do not know at all what is going on with them. The first collection, "Introspection", is therefore dedicated to eight of them. On the company's website ASHES & SOIL the label has documented the testimonials' stories, their struggle with psychological problems and their stigma.
The collection consists of eight models, one for each testimonial: four wool coats, three leather jackets and a quilted jacket. Each piece reflects the story of one of the victims. The inner lining is printed with illustrated portraits and the integrated "story label" explains what the person went through. The proceeds from "Introspection" will be used to support the organisation "On The Move e.V.", which is committed to mental health worldwide.
The current collection of ASHES & SOIL
It is also important for the label to visualize the origin of the testimonials. That's why African-inspired details can be found in every item. For example, the collar of one jacket is inspired by the colourful dashiki, which are traditionally worn in West Africa. ASHES & SOIL generally works with colour schemes, patterns and native fabrics that are as authentic as possible.
Nevertheless, the brand's products are not manufactured in Africa. The leather jackets are made natural tanned leather in Turkey. Wool coats and quilted jackets are made in a local workshop in Germany, where fair working conditions are guaranteed.
"We are on a journey to capture stories and redefine the possibilities of art by reconciling our heritage, craftsmanship and beliefs," the label explains. We are curious to see what stories Ashes and Soil will tell next.