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fashion interview

Introducing Fashion Designer Kunmi Oni: the founder of 1964 Brand

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.

Kunmi Oni’s collections are available to cop on her website and Afrikea (For free worldwide shipping). You can also follow The 1964 Brand on InstagramTwitter, and Facebook.

Creatives Around Us granted permission to feature photos by Kunmi Oni

Categories
art creatives

Dare Adenuga Makes Art With Threads, Ropes, Fabrics, Newsprints and Acrylic

Visual artist Dare Adenuga bares his soul through his art. His work varies from painting to sculpture and mixed media with no limitations to experimenting with elements. 

Dare began creating art since he was a child. His artistically inclined father helped nurture his craft until he moved to Yaba College of Technology, where he studied Fine Art. While in school, he took part in several student exhibitions like Beautiful Nigeria at the National Museum Onikan and Olokun Art festival in Badagry before graduating as a painter in 2011.

Since then, Dare has participated in several exhibitions like ‘The Root,’ ‘Prince Charles Royal Visit,’ ‘It’s not furniture,’ and was also a finalist at the 2017 ARTXLagos/ARTXPrize.

Now, he makes art with just threads, ropes, fabrics, newsprints, and acrylic in his studio.

As a storyteller, it’s no surprise that Dare bases the theme of his art on real-life situations, and as he creates, he does not hesitate to share the story behind each piece.

To see more of Dare Adenuga’s brilliant creations, follow the artist on Instagram and Facebook to commission a piece of your own.

Visual Artist Dare Adenuga makes art with threads, ropes, fabrics, newsprints, and acrylic.

Creatives Around Us granted permission to feature photos by Dare Adenuga.

Categories
art creatives

Designer Hanan creates notebook covers from a place of dreams and prayers

Hanan of Hanan Artistry started from writing dreams, ideas, suggestions, and prayers to designing notebook covers, sketchpads, bookmarks, and keyholders. Each design is crafted with love by Bamidele Ayomide or, as her audience likes to call her: Hanan of Hanan Artistry, mostly in her department studio or dorm room in the University of Lagos, where she studies Architecture.

Hanan began creating notebook covers in September 2020. “I appreciate paintings, but I could not help but wonder if I could take those paintings off the wall and transfer the design to an item I can acknowledge every day,” Hanan tells Creatives Around Us.

“I want to create functional artworks that have a purpose,” continues Hanan. “I started with notebooks to make my audience understand the value of writing things down, it really goes a long way. I want to let people know it starts with a book filled with dreams.”

The talented bookmarks designer says she gets her craziest ideas after she’s prayed. “My inspiration comes from God.” She says while explaining the reason behind her name. “Hanan means ‘Gracious gift’ in Hebrew.”

Check out Hanan’s designs below and cop your pieces from her collection on Instagram. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Hanan of Hanan Artistry designs notebook covers, bookmarks, keyholders, and sketchpads to show people that it starts from a place of dreams.

Categories
art creatives

Segun Akano Makes Art from Screws

Nigerian artist Segun Akano is among artists who makes art from unusual materials. He focuses his art on relief sculptures and models with light and optical illusion. Using a small cog capable of maintaining monumental and durable structures, the artist shapes people in bas-relief using screws, constructing visual nuances to reveal light and shadow.

Segun’s works revolve around the female form, womanhood, African culture and legendary stories. He started creating art after graduating with his first degree in Analytical Chemistry from the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology in 2008.

Segun Akano’s strength is displayed not only in the skill of his gesture in screwing in the materials he uses but also in the care given to the nuances that he constructs by the different heights of these same tools. These shades allow for the shaping of the folds of the fabrics, which he somehow manages to sculpt just like the intricacies of human anatomy.

Segun Akano held his recent solo exhibition at CAL Bank Head Office, 23 Independence Avenue, Ridge, Accra, Ghana, organized by Kalizma Art.

For more information on how you can commission a piece of this artist’s beautiful works for yourself, follow him on Instagram and Facebook.

Nigerian Artist Segun Akano makes art with screws

Categories
community creatives

Tunde Onakoya’s Slum Chess Dream

– “It is possible to do great things from a small place”

Tunde Onakoya is changing the communities around him one chess piece at a time. He runs Chess in slums, an organization that teaches vulnerable kids how to play chess, and he’s sharing the individual stories of the children he’s coaching. Chess in slums came alive in the slums of Majidun, Ikorodu, Lagos when he met Basirat, a five-year-old child who wouldn’t let him go until he gave her a piece to hold.

Two years down the line, with a hundred kids successfully trained and thirteen children on lifelong scholarships, Tunde Onakoya keeps defying all odds by reaching into different slums to give a chess piece to underprivileged children.

This recent tournament happened at the heart of Lagos. A low-income community, tagged ‘the floating village of Makoko’ or ‘the slums of Makoko’ stilts in a lagoon off the Third Mainland, where Tunde Onakoya discovered Ferdinand, a child battling spastic cerebral palsy. According to Tunde, Ferdinand outperformed everyone at the training centre a few minutes into learning board arrangements.

Using the classic chess movie “The Queen’s Gambit” as inspiration, Tunde worked with his team to make suits for the children who participated in the competition. “We had a revolutionary idea to make suits for the boys and dresses for the girls,” Tunde wrote, “to tell a new narrative of children in the slums that is not just one of poverty, but an image of what is possible if they’re given equal opportunities to excel.”

After two weeks of chess lessons, chess in slums organized a tournament to celebrate their excellence, and Ferdinand won with a phenomenal performance. “In those two weeks where we taught him chess, I never heard him speak an English word,” Tunde says. “but on the final day of the tournament when he held up his trophy, he muttered the word ‘champion’.”

During the period they stayed at Makoko, Tunde and his team profiled about a hundred children who do not go to school, and they are launching a campaign to get them back to school to establish a chess centre in their community.

According to Tunde, ‘a slum is just a place. It doesn’t define the people who live there. This is why we must be relentless in our fight to create an equitable future for these children who have been marginalized for so long.

To let them know that their dreams are valid too.”

Tunde is using the game of chess as a framework to promote learning and enhance intellectual development amongst vulnerable children.

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