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Nkwo Onwuka; The Champion of Sustainable Fashion for Africa
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Nkwo Onwuka; The Champion of Sustainable Fashion for Africa

Nkwo Onwuka

The Nigerian Fashion designer Nkwo Onwuka has managed to develop a sustainable fashion movement in Africa. She created her fashion brand Nkwo Designs, in 2012. Nkwo utilizes traditional fabrics, upcycled denim and indigenous weaving methods to create beautiful apparel. Additionally, her brand utilizes the ‘philosophy of less’ as she believes in the core values of conservation of natural resources and taking care of the environment.

For instance, her focus on waste textile reduction has contributed to the creation of Dakala Cloth fabric. Besides, the Lagos Fashion Week Show, International Mainstream Medias including CNN, and Ted Talks have featured her works. Below, we are highlighting the influence of her designs, especially Dakala cloth.

Nkwo Onwuka Designs Influence

Nkwo Designs
Photo Courtesy: Nkwo Instagram Page, Gerewol Jacket

Nkwo designs possess the rich cultural influence of the free-spirited Sahel nomadic dwellers who move across the Sahara Desert and vast West African Plains.

Nkwo design processes are based on both new and old skills, all with the end goal of maintaining traditional craft. Moreover she gives life to fabric through weaving, beading, hand dyeing and embroidery. Additionally, Nkwo works with local craftspeople and small scale manufacturers across the African continent to create her fashion.  

Nkwo Designs
Photo Courtesy: Nkwo Instagram Page, Hand-Dyed

Dakala Cloth

Video Courtesy: Nkwo Instagram Page, Dakala Cloth Making

As innovation and demand for fashion is growing at an exponential rate, the traditional methods of creating fabric is diminishing since they cannot cater for the growing demand.

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However, although the new methods are coping with the demand, they have contributed to the production of more textile waste.

As such, Nkwo spotted a niche for the transformation of these waste fabrics through upcycling them and innovating cutting techniques to build a whole new fabric.

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