TEDxEuston 2013 Speaker, 7th Dec – Nkwo Onwuka

Fashion Designer, Afro-Bohemian, African.

Come, listen and interact with Nkwo Onwuka at TEDxEuston 2013, 7th December, London.  Get Your Tickets Here

It all started with an obsession with dolls, and a mother who taught her how to sew. Nkwo Onwuka earned her university degree in psychology, but her love of making pretty things has turned into a thriving fashion business. Nkwo is based in London, United Kingdom. Her collections are produced in United Kingdom.

Nkwo was making clothes for individual clients when in the summer of 2006 she wore one of her wrap tops to Liberty of London. A shop attendant was so impressed when she found out that Nkwo had made the top, that she took her to meet one of the managers who in turn gave her the details for the ladies wear buyer.
This led to the development of the ‘retro-wrap’ which is a re-engineering of early methods of dress where a single piece of fabric is draped, wrapped or tied around the body to form a garment. The unique wrap has won various accolades and was presented to Her Majesty the Queen when she opened the business centre at the University of East London.

Nkwo’s Inspiration

“There are so many different cultures and colors and so many inspiring things. When you walk through the markets, there are beads, there are all sorts of fabrics, so I find my inspiration from the whole of Africa.”

“I also draw inspiration mainly from the late ’60s and ’70s, from the free-spirited, carefree way of life and thinking of that era. African nomads are also of interest to me. My diffusion line (Afromania) is quite experimental – playing with ideas, fabrics and different shapes. I source the materials for Afromania from the U.K”

On Beating Copy Cats

“You just have to stay one step ahead and just create your own look, try to do it in such a way that nobody will follow you, and even if they try, it wouldn’t be the same.”

Promoting Africa

”… I believe that we all have the responsibility of looking out for our own. We should be united by ethical harmony, mutual respect and celebrating life together.”

Nkwo is devoted to promoting a positive image of Africa and her unique interpretations of the continent’s rich history, culture and traditions have seen Nkwo Onwuka emerge as one of Africa’s leading fashion designers – recently billed as the African Commes des Garcon by the fashion editor of Vanity Fair Italia and a champion of the African Renaissance.

Nkwo is dedicated to keeping Africa’s traditions alive and  working on projects that support communities and encourage self-sufficiency.

Nkwo has been a volunteer with Kambani since 2005. She has helped children with fashion in arts and continues to push her artistic boundaries. She is also keen to develop children’s awareness of cultural diversity through fashion in arts.

Achievements

After an exclusive shoot of her Afromania collection for BHF Magazine, the collection debuted at the prestigious Kulture2Couture 2007 where she won the coveted Phoenix Award presented by the Mayor of London’s office in conjunction with the V&A Museum.

Since then, Nkwo has featured in several high profile fashion events around the world including the Caribbean and New York Fashion Week in 2008, the first ever Africa Fashion Week in Johannesburg in 2009 and the Pan African Collection Berlin in 2010 where the collection was subsequently sold in the luxury brand store Galeries Lafayette.

After a few years of exploration and experimentation that led to the creation of the high street label, Afromania by Nkwo – the first African print collection to be sold on ASOS (the largest online fashion retailer in the UK) which played a large part in taking African print mainstream – the brand has come full circle and now focuses on creating collections of womenswear, jewellery and accessories that capture the African story, told with a 21st century slant.

The clothes are free-spirited and nomadic, inspired by the lives of the wandering people of the desert and the great plains. Modern interpretations of early methods of hand crafting like weaving, beading, hand dyeing and embroidery, create texture and surface decoration on fabrics as each collection becomes a celebration of the artisan and the nomad.

Being an African Designer

“Being an African designer hasn’t hindered me at all. In fact it has set me apart from the others as I bring something new and fresh with my African influences”

To Aspiring Designers

“Follow your dreams regardless or what people may think or say, but also realize that the fashion industry is a business like any other. If you don’t have a head for business matters or finance – find some who does to help you”

Come, listen and interact with Nkwo Onwuka at TEDxEuston 2013, 7th December, London.  Get Your Tickets Here

References

MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week Spring/Summer 2013

Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012

NotJustALabel

Featured in New African Woman magazine

Buy Nkwo at Agnes & Lola

Buy Afromania by Nkwo at Sapelle

Buy Afromania by Nkwo at Vou Brown

Buy Afromania by NKWO at MyAsho

Afromania By Nkwo (Facebook)

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3 thoughts on “TEDxEuston 2013 Speaker, 7th Dec – Nkwo Onwuka

  1. Pingback: TEDxEuston is 2 Weeks Away! | Tonianni

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