Limelight: Buki Akomolafe
[MIKARA] How would you describe who you are, as a designer, and your becoming into Buki Akomolafe, the fashion brand ?
[BUKI] I am very conscious as a designer, i care where my fabrics come from, where to produce, how to produce…but at the same time i want to enjoy creating clothes, as working with colours, prints. That was my challenge at the beginning, i did a lot of research, where to get organic and certified fabrics that are fun to work with at the same time. Cause i wanted to create an ethical brand that has certain values but is also fun at the same time. Secondly my dual identity and the wish to use fabrics and patterns from different worlds.
[MIKARA] When did you know you wanted to become a fashion designer?
[BUKI] I was always interested in clothing, already as a young child…After graduating from high school i visited a design school at their ‘open day’ and i was amazed by the drawing teacher…the way he explained his way of teaching. That day i knew, i want to study fashion design.
[MIKARA] How did you come to terms with your specialty, quilt clothing, being apart of your brand?
[BUKI] I actually didn’t like quilting at all ;), as the traditional ones. But i started to do some experiments with the african wax prints for my graduate collection, as i was inspired by the ‘Baye Falls’, a specific Sufi group in Senegal. They have a certain way of clothing, such as Patchwork. So i started to do a lot of research regarding patchwork…that’s how i came to quilting. And i also wanted to use the african wax print fabric in a different way.
[MIKARA] What is your process for designing? How do get into the rhythm of creating your collection(s)/pieces?
[BUKI] My process of designing mostly starts with the fabric. I feel the texture, look at colours and then create a shape. Especially with the quilting…it’s a different way of designing, as the final quilted fabric is quiet stiff and requires certain shapes. Mostly i get into the rhythm of creating if i have time…time to slow down, to have a clean mind and not being distracted by things. I have a lot of ideas, when i’m traveling and not in my daily routine.
[MIKARA] What is fashion to you? How do you define fashion?
[BUKI] Fashion sustain your identity. You can feel safe in certain clothes at certain occasions. I believe you can set statements with fashion, cause YOU decide what to wear, how to wear it and when.
[MIKARA] Describe THE perfect Buki Akomolafe client in 3-5 words?
[BUKI] Self confident, aware, conscious and willing to pay the true cost of a garment.
[MIKARA] How has fashion made you express your new dimensions in your brand? Life? Confidence?
[BUKI] Fashion is my language to express what i see, feel about today’s world. With the decisions and choices i make regarding fabric, production and styles. The Brand is my tool to be the change and create awareness and responsibility.
[MIKARA] What luxury designer/brand do you admire the most and why?
[BUKI] Dries van Noten, i love the way he works with colours, prints. And the fact that his Brand is still independent and not part of the big fashion houses.
[MIKARA] Out of all of your products, what would you say is your favorite item to create and why?
[BUKI] At the moment it is the Quilt Coat, doing the quilting is like meditation and the blue colour is calming. It’s a long process and in between i get exhausted, but if you hold the final piece in your hand, it’s always worth it.
[MIKARA] If you could pick a celebrity/influence to be your brand ambassador for a season, who would it be and why?
[BUKI] Emma Watson, cause i like her spirit and consciousness.
[MIKARA] What do you do for fun when you are not designing ? Do you have any hidden talents?
[BUKI] 🙂 i sing (used to sing in a Band some years ago), spent time in the nature and do sports.
[MIKARA] What’s next for Buki Akomolafe? Where do you see yourself in 3 years? 5 years?
[BUKI] Collaborations with Artisans, promoting the brand. For the future, I want to stay true to my values and promote slow fashion.