The essence of Kathrin Eckhart’s brand is joy, fun and adventure. Her studio, born in Switzerland and now set up in Ghana, cares about conscious craftsmanship and upholding the highest possible standards.
Working closely with master weavers in Ghana, Eckhardt Studio creates carefully woven pieces using local resources that inspire wild creations.
Kathrin's studio places artisans at the core of what they do, providing fair pay, investing in their education, and good infrastructure to continue her vision to "dream big, visualise big, create big."
Before her move to Ghana, Kathrin spent 12 years as a fashion stylist and writer in Zurich. She worked for six years quietly developing her own aesthetic in the fashion department of NZZ am Sonntag. Then with a degree from the University of Lucerne in Social and Communication Sciences, she began working as a freelance fashion stylist and writer.
Looking for a new challenge in 2016, Kathrin Eckhardt decided to design her own collection, all handmade products in Ghana. The craftsmanship and beauty of the Ghanaian culture, both fascinated and inspired her and set her on a new course. She combines contemporary European designs with African craftsmanship, using local resources and crafts to create a collection that unites both worlds.
Humbly Kathrin describes how her early days in Ghana were incredibly challenging. “At first, I didn’t know how to move around, and I didn’t know the social rules, But then I just started like a little child, learning my first steps and going out into the world.”
“Moving to Ghana was a bit like a rebirth. I was never a designer, but Ghana made being a designer possible for me, I had this access to a new part of myself. ”Kathrin Eckhardt, Founder of Kathrin Eckhardt Studio
“Part of my approach is about simplicity. That usually starts with a drawing. And by that, I mean a drawing by hand, not something done in photoshop. Not something with measurements, but like actually doing the drawing while sitting with the artisans. And then I add some measurements and colours, and I let them start and just see what is coming out. ”Kathrin Eckhardt
Kathrin describes her entire collection in terms of a mood. When talking, her sentences are full of descriptions of her family of products, referencing them in terms of their energy and their charisma.
Speaking from her garden in Accra, she describes her fashion and homewares line as an act of true collaboration.
“I am leading the way, but it’s not only my credit at all. It is a collaboration” she says.
“That‘s why it’s really important to me, who is making my products. What has really inspired me here in Ghana is just how talented people are at improvising and in re-using stuff. Not throwing things away, but always finding a different way to use things.”
“I believe in the unseen. So if there is passion, then I think you can feel it in the end product. If someone puts a lovely, happy energy into the making of the product, then the customer can feel it.”
Inspired by small brands like Australian jeweller Lucy Folk right through to powerhouse brands like the Spanish fashion house Loewe, recently Kathrin decided to create some interior art objects that were shown at Galerie Mueller alongside work by El Anatsui, Miriam Cahn, Alfonso Hüppi, Willi Müller-Brittnau, Tadaaki Kuwayama and Lynette Yiadom-Boakye. “I like to challenge myself, and I get bored easily. So it was my vision to make these huge, giant baskets. They ended up being shown for two months in an exhibition in Basel called Remember To Expand.
For the show, Kathrin Eckhardt created eleven basket objects as single pieces in Accra, Ghana which are available for sale on The Together Project along with her beautiful homewares. Click here to view more from this creator.