Paris Fashion Week kicked off on Monday and young designers from several continents across the world have put up stunning shows. One of them is Nigerian-born, Austrian-raised Kenneth Ize who happens to be a 2019 LMVH Prize finalist. His Autumn/Winter’20 collection pays homage to iconic African crafts and textile weaving, including the aso-oke; striped and multicoloured fabrics handwoven in Nigeria. In an interview with Vogue, Ize revealed that his mother’s style of dressing after they relocated to Europe was an inspiration for the collection.
“I tried to reflect back to the time when [my family and I] were in Africa and how things changed all of a sudden when we moved to Europe. My mother stopped wearing African outfits every day, only wearing them on Sundays. On Mondays, she would go to work in corporate clothing and be a completely different person. She was always so looking forward to Sundays because it was the only time she could really express where she was from and her culture.”Kenneth Ize in an interview with Vogue.
International supermodel Naomi Campbell closing Ize’s presentation was also a major highlight. She’s been a huge supporter of his brand and he calls her his fairy godmother too. In an instagram post, she wrote, “Congratulations [@KennethIze] on your first show in Paris today. I’m so proud of you. Beautiful collection, thank you. For the first time the seasonal collections in Paris have 3 AFRICAN DESIGNERS”.
According to the Financial Times, Ize launched his brand at Lagos Fashion Week in 2013 but took a two-year break to complete a master’s program at the University of Applied Arts Vienna in fashion design. He did this under the tutelage of fashion icon, Hussein Chalayan in Austria. His brand focuses on recreating Nigerian fabrics with a touch of luxury.