African influences are essential parts of your designs. How do you feel about them?
My father is from West Africa and I’ve always been very much looking out for the work of contemporary African artists. They remain an enormous source of inspiration. More than that, the concept of upcycling is part of the whole material-culture in Africa, one can even say that part of their creativity is oriented around this topic. My goal is to create a bridge between West Africa and Europe by merging aesthetics. I would love to bring some new influences and values into the western fashion world, because that’s what I see the future in.
What is the reason behind African creatives getting more and more recognition in the West?
I think there is a shift in terms of perspective, I think fashion is not gonna be so eurocentric anymore as it used to be. We kinda realized that in Africa, there is a drive for creativity that is nothing like we experienced nor can imagine. Africa is much, much more than the poor continent as it has been portrayed for many centuries. There are many great African artists who were waiting for this moment of awakening to happen.
What can western designers learn from their African counterparts?
I think there is a more free, more joyful approach towards creation, one that is their own. In Europe, fashion has always been a very closed system, with everyone working almost exclusively within their own circles. Everything has been done in a very private, very hidden and very secretive way. These things don’t really exist in African culture. Starting with the idea of the tailor’s workshop being a space for social gatherings, open for the public. Things like this led to a different take on the creative process and also on the role of the designer. It’s a world where fashion is less about the ego and more about the community.