Over the years, it’s not uncommon to find a popular celebrity who has been styled by or worn a piece from a Nigerian fashion designer, or other designers in Africa. The African fashion industry is steadily growing and gaining immense recognition by the second.
The former Prime Minister of The UK, Theresa May, during her last visit to Nigeria, rocked a custom-made jacket from Emmy Kasbit and she could not stop gushing over it. So, what defines the Emmy Kasbit brand and what makes them special?
Stay with us as we go on this inside journey of the Nigerian fashion brand.
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About Emmy Kasbit
Emmy Kasbit is a Nigerian fashion brand that has sustainability, culture and the preservation of culture at the very heart of their designs. With this, the brand engages with local artisans to bring traditional staples to the modern age using indigenous and unique fabrics.
The fashion brand was founded in 2014 by Emmanuel Okoro when he identified a need to dress the unconventional man and woman with fierce sartorial instincts.
“I’m a self-taught designer with a lot of internships under my belt and that has really helped me. I have worked under established designers and production houses, so I had the experience before starting my brand.” – Emmanuel Okoro
Execution And Funding
Most of the designs and fabrics in the Emmy Kasbit brand are inspired by the heritage and culture of the Igbos in Nigeria, and like the founder shared,
“We used Akwete fabric for the recent collection because it was an ode to culture. Akwete is an indigenous fabric belonging to the Igbo tribe of Nigeria, and that’s my tribe.”
The design process in the Emmy Kasbit brand is extremely detailed and requires a high level of precision just like the founder shared.
“I’m telling an African story with every collection. I can’t tell an African story with a western fabric. By making my textiles, I create and customize my motifs based on the inspiration of the season.” – Emmanuel Okoro
Working in a typical collection involves textile making, sampling the handmade materials, designing motifs from cultural references, and then working with weavers.
“It takes about three to five months to produce a single collection. We can’t make any mistakes at any stage of production.” – Emmanuel Okoro
In 2018, Emmanuel Okoro emerged winner of the first Fashion Focus Fund which was organized by the Lagos Fashion Week to support emerging fashion designers in Nigeria. This win helped boost his brand with a fund of 5 million naira and a business mentoring opportunity with Ijeoma Ogbechie, the director for capital markets technology at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Maki Oh is a fashion brand that fuses traditional African techniques with detailed contemporary construction to cater mostly for modern women. The brand was founded by Amaka Osakwe in 2010 to make an impact by evolving African textiles and traditional tailoring.
The designs in the brand are a liaison between modern contemporary fashion trends and traditional African vibe so they can be worn comfortably by different people.
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Shekudo is a fashion accessories brand that focuses on the local artisan and craftsmanship scene while integrating age-old techniques to create contemporary products. The brand, which was founded by Amy Akudo Iheakanwa, designs footwear such as mules and other accessories such as earrings for their customers.
The brand mainly uses indigenous materials like Akwete, aso-oke, local leather and many more for their products.
Emmy Kasbit caters to both modern men and women, and one of the things that makes an Emmy Kasbit client stand out is the fact that the outfits make them bold and confident.
“Womenswear is inspired by our menswear. Our womenswear is made up of pants and jackets, so we design for the career woman. We don’t go deep into dresses.”
The Emmy Kasbit brand is one that channels immensely the deep-rooted cultures in Nigeria to produce outfits that have strong, architectural silhouettes which are pleasing. With their unique designs, which are a good combination of bold lines, vibrant colours and textures, the brand utilizes and promotes West African weaving techniques.