Fashion and style in Africa has taken a great leap from the earlier times of simple raffia weaves, straw ornaments and ivory accessories. Times in which people were inclined to more functional and basic clothing aesthetics. It has now ventured into the era of more sophisticated personal ideologies and attire preferences. Like civilization, it is ever-changing, and it thrives off evolution. What’s ‘trendy’ today might be ‘old school’ tomorrow.
Keeping in mind where we are coming from, our roots stand as a standard for ‘good’ change. Fashion is simply a depiction or creation of our identity or who we choose to be. Culture is the backbone of our identity. Without it, identity cannot stand. So it is important that culture is always kept in the stack when playing the cards of change.
Of course, other factors significantly contribute to fashion and style. However, a building of true regalia must have all its pillars firm and intact. Losing one makes the center unstable. And without the center, the structure loses its shape.
The series ‘Culture Shapes Fashion’ is centered on brands that displayed collections during the previously concluded ARISE Fashion Week and Jazz Festival 2023, which brought out culture’s imprint on fashion. This week we start with Éki Kéré.
Creating its designs largely from natural fibres and dyes, the brand derives one of its core values from decreasing its fashion carbon emission footprint.
Founded by Abasiekeme Ukanireh, Éki Kéré, as a brand, views fashion through the lens of functionality, culture, and environmental contributions to what we wear. Creating its designs largely from natural fibres and dyes, the brand derives one of its core values from decreasing its fashion carbon emission footprint. While pursuing this objective of managing its operational effect on the environment to the best of its ability, it still produces amazing attires.
As one of the thirty brands showcased at the ARISE Fashion Week and Jazz Festival, Éki Kéré came with a story to tell. A story that plants questions in the mind and makes people see fashion in a new light.
How will civilization adapt to the changes in clothing which are bound to occur?
What form of dressing would be adopted as style and fashion?
Will perfectionism still be necessary, or will necessity usurp the craving for perfection?
These are the type of questions Abasiekeme Ukanireh seeks to spark in the minds of the people of today’s civilization and fashion industry.
Made from materials that accentuate her core values, her divine-looking raffia pieces depict the clothing she believes civilization of the next century will adopt and embrace: whether driven by the availability of resources or changes in trend.
She believes humans will keep wearing more functional attires and put less effort on perfection. They will lay more emphasis on connecting with who they really are. We are, after all, all imperfect beings.
As one of the thirty brands showcased at the ARISE Fashion Week and Jazz Festival, Éki Kéré came with a story to tell.
Another look at the designer’s collection: one sees what seems like a picture of the two sides of humanity. The all-white pieces represent a simple and singular way of life, which every human being seeks at some point. And the more colourful pieces of the collection represent the intricate and more sophisticated pattern of living, which is more of an everyday lifestyle.
Éki Kéré’s collection takes its stand with the notion that culture shapes fashion. Éki Kéré: a mind of the future.