Life Liveth in Me: Yaw Tony On the Creation and Evolution of His Label


Photography by Claudine Baltazar

The Life Liveth in Me founder creates silk scarves inspired by his Ghanaian heritage, Salvador Dalí and everyday life.

Canadian scarf brand Life Liveth in Me was created by accident. Founder Yaw Tony was born in Ghana and raised in Toronto. While he has always loved to draw, instead of pursuing art, he went to school for architecture and kept his sketching on the sidelines. One pivotal day in 2014, a group from Germany’s Vitra Design Museum found Tony’s art online and asked if they could feature it in their latest exhibition. As it was a travelling installation, they suggested he print his pattern on canvas for easier transportation, and thus the idea behind Life Liveth in Me was born.

Life Liveth in Me
Photography by Alfred Quartey

“The brand’s philosophy is that there’s a beautiful life living inside you,” Tony explains. “It’s about awakening the goodness within us so we can impact the world in a very meaningful way.” This translates into hypnotic silk scarves with hidden messages that would look as at home hanging in a gallery as they do around your neck.

Each colourful Life Liveth in Me piece has its own folkloric story that’s told through Adinkra symbols — a series of Ghanaian motifs with various spiritual connotations. Sometimes the designs are pretty literal, as seen on “Love Birds,” which features two feathery creatures perched on a branch. But more often than not, the scarves are more abstract and meditate on the meaning of life, like “A Pursuit of an Unknown 2Mor= (Tomorrow).” “I gravitate to stories that are universal and focus on human behaviour,” Tony shares. “I want to remind people of their inner potential, purpose and gifts.”

Here, Tony talks about finding inspiration in the every day and how growing up with Ghanaian music made him a lifelong storyteller.

Ghanaian music

“My father used to play a lot of traditional Ghanaian music in our house, and the singers were always telling stories, so I think subconsciously this had a big influence on me.”

Adinkra symbols

Photography by Seyi (Ua.X)

“Adinkra symbols represent the proverbs, philosophies and values of the Akans of Ghana. They’re so interesting because each icon is a full sentence, so you can take, say, five and have a complete paragraph.”

Everyday life

Photography by Carlyle Routh

“I get most of my inspiration from my surroundings. I can just bump into someone wearing a very funky pair of shoes and they will influence me that day.”

Salvador Dalí

“I admire how he tells stories: They look very surreal. My work uses the same style because I get stuck in these imaginary worlds and find it a bit difficult to come out of them.”

Hermès scarves

Hermès “Tied Up In Knots” 70 cm scarf. Photography courtesy of Hermès

“I love Hermès scarves because they’re art-driven and the brand is not afraid to use colour. Also, I like that the animals in the designs look anthropomorphic, which is a style I use in my sketches.”

This article first appeared in FASHION’s October 2023 issue. Find out more here.


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