Our founder and creative director


My designs allow wearers to take a moment to live outside of their own personal experiences, to fully be part of the process of unseen interactions that take place throughout the fashion timeline.

As Creative Director at Maakola, I explore garment value through elements that tell stories about our relationships with others and the planet. The aesthetic and display elements allow for this cohesion. My designs allow wearers to take a moment to live outside of their own personal experiences, to fully be part of the process of unseen interactions that take place throughout the fashion timeline.

I see clothing as a powerful language through which to communicate change. I use technological instruments like data and blockchain in my designs to drive the most urgent conversations of today, whether that be reducing greenhouse emissions or guaranteeing that no child’s education is compromised to manufacture a garment. My work challenges fashion’s contribution to our evolution.

My design language is based on these three principles:

1- Collective Change

Clothing is more than just the sum of its parts. When you buy a piece of clothing, it connects you to the people – perhaps thousands of miles away – who designed and made it; to the raw materials that were grown and processed to make the garment; to the future generations that will have to find a reason to make use of what you discarded; and to the stories and dreams that garment is embedded in. Placing creative, environmental, emotional, and social value on clothing provides a model that can connect us to all those involved in the creation process, ultimately helping makers and consumers enter into a contract that positively engages with the planet and other humans. Creating systemic change can only come from transforming the collective consciousness as a whole.

2- Past/Present/Future

When you feel connected to the past, present, and future impacts of your choices, you can create a cross-referencing moment outside of your own personal experience. Clothing invites you to feel connected to your fashion footprint’s past, present, and future. When you feel connected to the process of clothing creation and the stories that your garments tell, you have the opportunity to generate eternal value by contributing to a net positive process. Every wearer is invited to participate in the collective and sustainable evolution of fashion. By creating a multi-dimensional fashion through which to reconnect and replenish an industry, clothing becomes an entirely novel way of having a collective impact. We present the opportunity to generate eternal value by contributing to a net positive process. The use of data-informed industry decisions in quantitative fashion not only represents the interpolation of data into the fashion industry—it also becomes a cosmos of possibilities in which collective potential is the main currency of artistic creativity. This is what will lead to regenerative fashion and a new type of economy.

3- Living Organism

Every piece of clothing is a living organism. Every creation is an experience curated by the designer, but its ultimate form and purpose is set by all the hands that will touch it. What you wear creates a space bigger than itself, acting as a springboard for collective thought and change. Each creation transcends all limitations of a piece of clothing. It creates communities, connects segregated networks, reinforces existing cultures, and creates movements bigger than a sum of its parts. As a designer, my practice has significantly changed from designing a product to a tool without a set outcome. The most magical part of my practice is that I can never predict how people will react to my pieces and how they will be influenced by my designs. I design a piece, manufacture it with selected tailors, and then sit back and observe how far my creations traveland what they become. Setting intentionality into the cloth and selling is only the beginning of the process. When my creations are worn and exposed to other people, they become living organisms that are animated, shaped, and kept alive by every person that touches them.

"My creations are living organisms that capture hundreds of women’s voices and redefine beauty through the story they tell and the impact they have on people and the planet."

What inspired me

"I believe in creating clothes that reveal who we are — not only in terms of personal style, but by shining a light on our values and making them visible."

A traveller at heart, I love going to local markets because that’s where I can talk to locals and understand what they value the most. In 2015, during a visit to Ghana for my non profit I spent a lot of time at the Makola Market in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. The saleswomen who traded Wax Prints fabric at that market immediately captured my attention. Their powerful and vibrant disposition of life was reflected in their energy, style, and colorful outfits. The saleswomen at Makola market and their products left a deep impression on me and were the inspiration to embark on this journey. That is why I decided to anchor the connection with the Makola market in the name of the brand: Maakola.

In Ghana, I discovered that clothes don’t just look good: They have charm, importance and significance. Each fabric pattern at the Makola market is given a name and a story that weaves it into African life and culture. That resonated with me, because to me, fashion isn’t supposed to be just beautiful; it is more than aesthetics and color. The clothes we wear are a way to explore and connect: with each other, with our own culture as well as other cultures, with the past, and with the future. Each and every one of us should feel good in – and about – what we wear. Ultimately, they’re not just clothes; they’re a reflection of a changing society.

Aurora Chiste


CEO and Creative Director, Maakola

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