“Like many individuals, women and migrants, I have learned to become strong and resilient. It just so happened that discovering new ideas and bringing them to life has energised me to get out of bed each day.”

– Lily Abbew

Some of us are born with so much creativity running through our veins that it seems inevitable that it will become our path. Others develop their gifts gradually, with such passion and love, that they become forces to be reckoned with. But Lily Abbew is a rare breed. She falls into both camps. With a natural gift but also a deep commitment to the creative process, Lily has brought her visions to life with her business – Akos Creative.

“Creativity is a powerful word,” says Lily. “Something is not there, and then you create it. You bring it into the world. That is empowering, it’s satisfying and it helps us to thrive. Particularly in these uncertain times.”

Born and raised in Ghana, Lily grew up inherently knowing that she had a creative gift. “I remember being three years old, going to sit in my mother’s classroom, as she was a teacher. I sat for hours with a pen and paper, and just drew,” she says. “I have a distinct memory of drawing a tap. It marvelled everybody, and I have been creating ever since!”

Arriving in Australia in 2003 to further her education, Lily trained in both social work and graphic design, which has been the perfect melting pot for her greatest passions. “When I arrived in Australia, I experienced a culture clash,” she says. “But on a deeper level, I also realised that people have strong perceptions and beliefs that take some time and take a direct experience to shift. It causes us to think, ‘why do I believe this?’ and ‘why am I seeing things differently now?’ and I am interested in exploring that.” 

Lily does just that in her work – what she so perfectly refers to as “the heart thing” – which is reflected in Akos Creative’s logo, featuring a beautiful heart, and the name – Akos – which is Lily’s traditional name. “I have realised that I am so capable in my work,” says Lily. “It gives me so much joy and courage. It’s a blessing to have the motivation to create.”

Those creations are spectacular pieces of jewellery, which Lily hopes will inspire a sense of wellbeing for those who wear them. “The changing scenes of life affect all of us differently,” she says. “Like many individuals, women and migrants, I have learned to become strong and resilient. It just so happened that discovering new ideas and bringing them to life has energised me to get out of bed each day.”

The designs – which are made in vibrant, exciting colours – cover everything from bracelets, to necklaces and earrings, and can be a lovely reprieve from the darker Australian styles, particularly in Melbourne. “Australian fashion can be so muted, but I do find that certain people are drawn to bright pieces,” says Lily. “It’s those people who are not afraid to be different, and who are happy to say, ‘I’m here!’”

For those who not only want to express their creativity in their outfits, but perhaps in their own creative endeavours, Lily has very clear, sensible advice. “It all comes from within,” she says. “You already know what you want to do. What you want to do also takes time, but it starts with a simple step. Choose that step carefully. Then just go for it.”

And go for it we will. Starting with a new pair of earrings.

Published by Amy Malpass-Hahn, Freelance writer