Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize Bringing Nigerian Culture to Paris
Paris Fashion Week has witnessed several African fashion designers having prominent shows and events. Designers like LVMH Prize winners, South African designer Thebe Magugu and Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize were among others. Both the designers have their own style; however, Kenneth is the one who brought Nigerian culture to Paris.
Speaking in an interview, Kenneth said, “To me, Paris is where people come together. Paris is the capital of fashion. [Many]Nigerians cannot travel outside the country, so it’s not easy to actually show what you can do outside of our country. So for me, it was about having a conversation. I really wanted to make people jump into conversations that they might be thinking about [but] not speaking about yet.”
Last year in September, Kenneth was even named an LVMH prize finalist that was when he captured the fashion world’s attention.
For his Fall 2020 show, Kenneth showcased a colorful collection of his signature pieces rendered in aso oke, a traditional Nigerian fabric that’s made of handwoven squares. The show was opened by Imaan Hammam and Naomi Campbell closed it.
Speaking about Naomi, Kenneth said that Naomi was incredibly supportive. Further he said, “I saw her at my friend’s house, and I was just like, ‘Can I have you do the show?’ Ever since, she [has been] so supportive and just making sure that this show really happened. She was so excited.”
Born and raised in Vienna, Kenneth belong to a traditional Nigerian family, that’s the reason he is strongly connected to his roots. Originally he designed menswear, however, in mid-2019 he began creating womenswear, as he realized that most of his customers were women, as they were buying the pieces he designed for men.
Kenneth studied at University of Applied Arts in Vienna, before launching his first full-fledged collection in 2016 he was experimenting with textiles.
He said, “Honestly speaking, I was really never not going to be a designer. I just love clothes.”