I met up with the brains behind Chukwu “D’ Designs, Derrick Okeke. While shooting his pieces for this post, I learnt he is self-taught in the art ofankara wrapping and sewing. Talk about determination! Derrick is a Nigerian native and only started creating his designs back in 2015. I first saw his pieces during the African Explosion fashion show I went to last year and got way too excited seeing his shoes glide down the runway. Without much ado, enjoy the causal chitchat and I hope you appreciate this rising talent as much as I do…
LAJA: Tell us about Chukwu “D” Designz. What’s your background?
C: Chukwu “D” Designz are a variety of shoes and custom made clutches hand wrapped in beautiful African textiles. Chukwu “D” is what I used to personalize my business name, which comes from my middle name ‘Chukwudi’ meaning ‘God is alive’ or ‘there is God’. I have always been inspired as a child by African prints by it’s geometrical shapes and boldness in color, in my eyes these prints spoke strength and confidence to me. My designs comes form my prophetic vision of the chosen fabric that will be later crafted on a canvas whether being on a shoe or bag. My background is Nigerian (Igbo) and American. I consider sharing my stories of inspiration on each hand wrapped shoe and bag.
LAJA: Who or where do you get your inspiration from?
C: I get my inspiration from my Nigerian cultural background, watching numerous of Naija films. Nigerian culture is full of life, energy and love. I am also inspired in the process of how the fabrics are actually made and that each print has its own symbolic meaning.
LAJA: Where do you see your designs in the next 5 years? 10 years?
C: In the next 5 years, I expect to see my designs featured in fashion magazines and worn by many who are inspired by each design that is created. In the next 10 years, I see my designs in stores and advertised internationally. I would love to see my designs to be showcased in a high end fashion show along with other well-known designers.
LAJA: What do you believe is the future for African fashion?
C: I believe the future for African fashion is bright and full of growth that will never lose its trend because African print looks good on everyone!!!
LAJA: Your favorite piece from your collection?
C: My favorite piece from my collection is my 1st design that I created for my sister (Chinyere) who first gave me my stamp of approval to continue…honestly all of my pieces are my favorite because I put my heart into each design.
LAJA: What is your biggest life and career advice?
C: My biggest life and career advice is to always trust God and believe in yourself. Get connected with a good and strong support system and never give up on your dream because dreams do come true!!!
LAJA: Your favorite quote or proverb and what it means to you?
C: ‘There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs’ Author: unknown
This quote means that success only comes from hard work and dedication. Through sacrifice and loosing countless numbers of sleep I am now reaping the start of success from a business that I have envisioned to prosper and reach many all over the world…
Chukwu “D” Designz will be featuring his piece’s in Duke University’s Annual African Cultural Showcase, JABULANI.
Date: Saturday April 2nd 2016 7pm (FREE Admission)
Location: Duke University’s Paige Auditorium.
Learn more about Chukwu “D” Designz
Cell: (919) 523-0066
Love African fashion/African prints and want to share your story? Are you a brand/personality pioneering the use of African prints in fashion, decor, art and beyond? We want to hear your story. Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org