Kunmi Oni is a Nigerian fashion designer based in Lagos, and the founder of the minimalist clothing line, The 1964 Brand. Kunmi, as a child, has always been artistic. After university, her mother, Felicia, ignited the passion in her to create her brand. Three years and five collections later, Kunmi Oni’s brand stands as the ultimate fashion brand for her chic millennial audience or, as she likes to call them, her 1964 women.
Kunmi Oni’s story is that of determination, perseverance, and success. Throughout her story, Kunmi shares her inspiration to create, her challenges, recent collections, and the love she receives from her ’64 girls. According to her, “our brand grows because we have an amazing community of ‘64 girls who root for us daily.”
C: You have grown quite a community around the 1964 Brand. Can you tell us the story behind your brand? What inspired the name?
Kunmi: The name 1964 was inspired by my mum, who was born that year. The entire brand was created to honour her memory as she was the one that encouraged me to start the brand and gave me all the resources I needed to start when I was fresh out of uni and could not get a job.
C: On your About Us page, we saw that a woman named Felly inspired the 1964 Brand. Is Felly your mum?
Kunmi: Yes, yes! Felly is short for Felicia, which is my mum’s name, and as I mentioned earlier, 1964 was inspired by her. Our design choices reflect the kind of clothes she loved to wear.
C: Have you always wanted to design dresses? When did you first realize you wanted to create women’s clothes?
Kunmi: There was no defining moment for me. I’ve always been good with my hands. I also express my creativity in other forms like blogging, drawing, and photography.
C: Who is Kunmi Oni? Tell us something that people do not know about you.
Kunmi: Hmmm, I’m not sure there’s any.
C: Who is your target market?
Kunmi: The 1964 Brand is for women who are big on self-care and would choose comfort over glamour when it comes to their style and fashion choices.
C: What is the 1964 brand message to her market?
Kunmi: Always seek to create ease around your life every day. Prioritize your self-care and mental health above all else, including when it comes to your choice of clothes.
C: Let’s talk a bit about your 1964 community. Have there been any challenges? Do you feel people got the 1964 Brand message?
Kunmi: Well, when we initially started, I was afraid that Nigerian women who are our primary market (we are based in Lagos) might not be able to relate to the brand message because Nigerians are generally “on the go.” But over the years, as we keep telling our story, more women, including women from all over the world, have been able to relate as they are now choosing a life of ease and comfort and seeing them join the community makes my heart full.
C: Your designs are brilliant. What inspired you to create such designs? Tell us about the Meraki and Rebirth collections.
Kunmi: Every 1964 collection tells my story. MERAKI was created at a time when I was in a dark hole, and creating clothes for 1964 women was the only thing that kept me going. MERAKI represents creating with soul even when people and life want to discourage you. Our REBIRTH collection is our most unique collection to date. It tells the story of the 1964 woman: a woman who puts her mental health and self-care first, who pushes through and reinvents herself no matter any setback she might face in life.
C: What feeling would you say the 1964 brand evoke in your audience?
Kunmi: A feeling of self-love. A feeling of community and a feeling of being part of something bigger than just selling clothes.
C: Can you tell us something that a customer has said to you after wearing your designs that you feel describes your clothes quite well?
Kunmi: Yes, yes! I had someone send a message to me once saying our pieces are the most beautiful and comfortable clothes she has worn in a while and, this made my heart full.
Creatives Around Us granted permission to feature photos by Kunmi Oni