Founded in 2013, Anna Robertson’s YEVU uses local Ghanaian enterprises and sustainable fashion to address urban poverty in Ghana. The company connects Ghana’s informal traders to wider markets in Australia and London where their vibrant, contemporary designs are able to flourish.
YEVU, which means “White Woman” in the local Ewe language, is a socially conscious clothing line made in Ghana. Robertson was often referred to as “yevu” when she spent her first 12 months in the bustling city of Accra. It was then that she fell in love with traditional wax print - the 100 per cent cotton fabric worn on the streets in an array of vibrant prints.
For YEVU’s debut range, Robertson partnered with a number of local seamstresses and tailors, operating as micro-enterprise in Ghana’s informal sector. The first collection was revealed in Sydney, Australia and sold out in a week. The company has since produced three more successful ranges.
YEVU’s primary objective is to create jobs that pay more than Ghana’s living wage. “These economic and creative opportunities empower, and as a result, improve the lives of individuals, families and immediate communities. Furthermore, YEVU connects micro producers and artisanal manufacturers with a global market, creating the opportunity for them to operate as part of an international value chain,” reads the company’s web page.
The company is especially dedicated to the women of Ghana who have less access to financial institutions, saving mechanisms and capital. Working collaboratively and transparently in this capacity empowers women through income generation and professional development, which enhances their self-esteem and ability to participate in decisions that affect them.