Aurora Chiste is an interdisciplinary designer, entrepreneur, and pioneer of regenerative fashion. Sitting at the crossroads of art, sustainability, and technology, Aurora’s work reimagines fashion as a force for good – one that can empower and regenerate society, culture, and the environment.
Aurora uses fabrics and technology to create garments that challenge our perceptions of beauty, collectivity and consumption. From wax print Ghanaian gowns to the tailoring worn by an American presidential candidate and gender-neutral biodegradable T-shirts, Aurora pushes the boundaries of how fashion shapes identity and culture, as well as the economy.
By proposing the possibility of phygital and regenerative fashion, Aurora invites her customers to imagine the collective power of fashion to both display and take action. She confronts this by moving beyond the integration of fabrics and stories, leveraging the power of Web3 to explore the spaces where physical meets digital, and creating an integrated dance of fashion, self-expression and sustainability.
Aurora is intrigued by how the transformation of beauty requires rethinking the aesthetic and perception of clothing. Embedding data and technology into objects and experiences, she explores the possibility of a regenerative dynamic in which we reduce the harm we do to other people and the environment through the choices we make.
Central to Aurora’s practice is a concern with the relationship between ourselves and the planet, and the ways in which clothing and purchasing choices influence our perception of humanity, power, and wellbeing. What if we could use fashion to draw upon the consciousness of our clothes, expressing our collectivity in powerful new ways? These are questions that Aurora explores in her work.
Aurora’s imagination first took flight at the Makola Market in Ghana’s capital city, Accra. Every fabric pattern on sale in the market is given its own name and story with African life and culture woven in. “That resonated because to me, fashion isn’t only beautiful, it reveals who we are – not only our personal style, but our values. Ultimately, they’re not just clothes, they’re a reflection of ourselves and our changing society.”
Aurora founded Maakola on ESG principles with the aim of regenerating the planet through a consciously designed sustainable clothing system. Her work includes clothes, immersive digital experiences, and NFTs. She uses technological instruments including data and blockchain in her designs to drive the most urgent conversations of today, whether that’s reducing greenhouse emissions or guaranteeing that no child’s education will be compromised in the production of a garment.
The fabrics and stories Aurora works with fall into two categories:
- Threads of Freedom: The fibers that make clothing are an analogy for the threads that unite us as societies. Threads of Freedom takes the wearer on a journey that might begin with the Ghanaian market merchants centuries ago and end up weaving connectivity into our modern lives.
- Inside/Out addresses the level of care our planet demands and deserves. Inside/Out combines high-quality fibers with understated design to give meaning to a data-driven lifestyle. Every creation is a statement exploring new ways to relate to one another, make better choices, and become more conscious of the larger footprint that we – humankind – have on our planet.
Aurora founded Maakola with the belief that fashion offers the opportunity to foster social justice, sustainability, and cultural empowerment. She spends her time between the United States, Ghana and Italy.