We do Africa Modern
It all started with an obsession with dolls and a mother who taught her how to sew. Nkwo Onwuka earned a degree in Psychology, but her love of making pretty things has turned into a thriving fashion business.
The label debuted in the UK at the prestigious Kulture2Couture, 2007 where NKWO won the coveted Phoenix Award presented by the Mayor of London's office in conjunction with the V&A museum. After a few years of exploration and experimentation with innovative techniques as a form of preserving traditional craft skills, the label relaunched as an artisanal brand in 2012 and is now based in Nigeria.
The clothes are free-spirited and nomadic, inspired by the lives of the wandering people of the African deserts and the great plains. Modern interpretations of early methods of hand crafting like weaving, beading, hand dyeing and embroidery, give new life to fabricsby transforming their conventional uses and making the transition from tradition to modernity.
Working closely with artisans and local makers across Africa,the label aims to educate and employ small scale manufacturers/producers, enabling the growth of sustainable businesses.
Nkwo is devoted to promoting a positive image of Africa and creating meaningful change on the continent by involving as many parts of the expanding fashion eco-system as possible. Her unique interpretations of the rich history, culture and traditions have seen Nkwo Onwuka emerge as one of Africa's leading fashion designers as she champions the African renaissance.
Africa has a long tradition of cloth weaving, however, it is one of our traditional handicrafts that is fading away as some of the processes are time consuming and the demand for cheaper mass produced textiles is very high. This has led to a booming fashion industry that in turn produces copious amounts of watse. It also led NKWO to to start up a sustainability project where the main focus is textile waste reduction through innovative cutting techniques, recycling and fabric manipulation.
During an experimental session in the NKWO studios, a modern 'strip weaving' technique emerged. From off cuts, Nkwo Onwuka had produced a new fabric that looked like handloom woven cloth, it had a distinctively African feel to it and was named DAKALA CLOTH because it had all begun with left over pieces of denim and as a nod to the sound of Africa's long tradition of cloth weaving … Sakala-si sakala-sa Sakala-si sakala-sa ...
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