Designer Spotlight: Nike Akinola London

I was alerted about Nike Akinola and was a bit shocked that i hadn't posted about them earlier. The pieces are beautifully crafted, fusing african prints with western outfits. Managing Director Chris Okesola kindly agreed to answer a few questions to offer us an insight into Nike Akinola.

1. Tell us a little about the designer, what is your background?
I was really into art at school; I loved painting and making sculptors. I studied art, business studies and economics for my exams. But by the end of my art course my designs had gone from painting portraits and landscapes to cocktail dresses and evening gowns. I realised there and then that this is what I love to do and I was determined to do for a living. Since graduating I been fortunate to work with Phillipa Lepley, Lindka Cierach and Alice Temperley.

2. Most designers usually design for themselves first. Please tell us what inspired you to begin to design clothes?
I just love to express my moods, thoughts and feelings through my clothes and I realise that no-one can express who I am better than me. So I began with little pieces, back then I had so many designs but I couldn’t sew so I used to customise everything. As soon as I knew how to cut a pattern there was no going back for me.

3. Can you tell us a little about your beautiful Ready to Wear collection, and what inspired it?
Nike Akinola London combines beautiful traditional African prints and lace with creative design and, most importantly, Africa’s art, history and culture in our fashion
The beautiful African prints and textile designs, both modern and traditional are a reflection of our surroundings in the natural world. When using traditional materials, we bring a sense of warmth, comfort, and harmony into the environment.

4. How did you get into the fashion industry? Who is the typical woman for whom you design your clothes?
My journey into the world of Fashion was not an easy, but I think sometimes when you really struggle to get what you want and where you want to be you appreciate it even more. If you really want this then you have to persevere. I like to design timeless pieces, the kind of woman I design for are woman who love to look immaculate and loves classic shapes with clean lines. For me the classics are called classics for a reason, I think trends are great and I respect them but if you only ever design based on the latest trends, then you will forever be dictated to has a designer

5. Where do you draw inspiration for your designs from? Does your culture affect your designs and how?
Our sophisticated designs pay homage to the ceremonial fabrics of African’s history. The luxurious and extravagant designs of our culture have been given an innovative twist, creating a more joyful, effortless, comfortable, and sexy style without being in-your-face. We show that African prints don’t have to be in maxi dresses to be fashionable. My culture dictates designs because it is rich and diverse. Not only do I come from Nigeria, I also live in what is for me the most culturally diverse city in the world, London. My clothes are an expression of my heritage as well as my western surroundings.

6. Has your design aesthetic changed as you’ve matured in your craft or do you have one set vision that you’ve stuck with it?
We evolve together, I am not the same person I was 5 years ago, and as I change in life, my designs also have to change. I design with a new perspective every season, I bring something new to each collection without losing the essence of Nike Akinola London.

7. Do you have any style tips for the readers?
Be comfortable, Be your yourself and be expressive. If that doesn’t work, put on your killer heels and face the world with your head held high.

8. If you had to describe you collection in 3 words what would they be?
Timeless, Elegant, Classics

9. Are your designs available for purchase and who are the stockists?
We are in discussion stages on getting our collection into a number of independent boutiques and also heavily pushing our own online store.

10. Last but not least, what does the future hold for Nike Akinola? What upcoming events can we see you at, any in Atlanta?
An amazing SS10 collection which is coming soon, I really want to bring innovative techniques to the industry. Our plans are to showcase our next collection at a number of fashion shows so stay tuned. Regarding coming to Atlanta...never say no, but more importantly when are you coming to London!

Go to the Nike Akinola website for more!


Old Cow said...

WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOP!!! Love it that you posted about a London designer. I love NIKE's stuff