Honored to have been selected as a Forbes Under 30 2016 Scholar. It’s a very exciting recognition, cheers to more exciting things to come and thank you all for the support you’ve shown LAJA so far. Much love and have an exciting week!
LAJA: So, give us a schpill about yourself.
Kemi: My name is Olukemi Adeyemi. I am Nigerian and the second child in my family of five. I grew up in Lagos, Nigeria but moved to the U.S for college. I am currently a sophomore at Temple University, Philadelphia and I major in Human Resource Management in the Fox School of Business. I am 20 years old! I love God, kids, food and helping people. I believe life is like a roller coaster ride and I try to enjoy every moment of it!
LAJA: Young minds winning! So what are the motivations behind Éclat Designs?
Kemi: Motivations for our designs are mostly the African print “Ankara” and the love for stylish items with a touch of Ankara. I can see or think of something really nice and come up with ideas on how our prints can be incorporated to make a lovely design.
LAJA: #Ankaralove all the way! In your journey, what are you most proud of?
Kemi: Right now I’m proud that Éclat Collections has a website! It’s amazing and humbling at the same time to see how far we have grown in one year and six months. The opportunities we have had and where we have been. I would not have believed any of all these would have been possible two years ago. I’m excited and I know it only gets better for Eclat Collections from here!
LAJA: Let’s jump several steps. Where do you see your designs in the next 5 years? 10 years?
Kemi: I see Éclat designs rising as one of the best African Inspired lines. I see celebrities and people from different decent rocking our items! Eclat is working hard to not only be known in the U.S but worldwide. A brand to be reckoned with.
LAJA: Your thoughts on the future of African fashion?
Kemi: I believe fashion in Africa will become a lasting trend. We have a growing potential and market for fashion in Africa. Amazing talents everywhere and even undiscovered ones. It will be a platform for transformation in different African cities and hopefully a thread that binds us together. We just need to cultivate the habit of supporting and encouraging our own as that is vital for growth!
LAJA: Kudos to you on being a full time student and business woman. How do you handle both while keeping your sanity?
Kemi: Honestly, God has been my strength and biggest motivation. He truly keeps me going and focused when it gets hard and stressful. I’ve also learnt to multi-task and to set my priorities right. For now, my education comes first and then my business. When it’s getting overwhelming I slow down a bit with my business in order to gain balance. My younger sister, Tofunmi Adeyemi, has been my right hand! She’s really awesome and helps with the business. She handles a lot which makes life easier. My friend also Tinuke Faloye, has been of great support as she assists with our social media and designs. It does get stressful sometimes but when you love what you are doing, you’re motivated to keep it going!
LAJA: Snaps for the prioritizing tip, I agree, it’s everything. Since you give goof advice, what’s your biggest life and career tip?
Kemi: For life, be grateful to God for the things you have, where you are and the people around you. Life can get tough but don’t dwell in your pains and misfortunes that you get so blind to those around you that may be going through the same or worse and fail to lend a helping hand. Everyone has different seasons in life, be present in your life and work towards being a better you.
For career, never despise small beginnings. It may not be smooth at the beginning and you may get discouraged but keep pressing on and going after what you love. Stay true to yourself, idea and build great relationships along the way!
LAJA: I’m a big believer in quotes/proverbs so what’s yours and what does it means to you?
Kemi: My favorite quote is “Charisma without Character leads to Disaster” I love this quote as I believe ones attitude in life is very important and can set the tone of success or failure. Your character can take you to places beyond your imaginations. People may forget your face but won’t forget how you made them feel. It’s not just okay to have a nice face without a nice attitude. Beauty fades but character stays.
LAJA: It was lovely speaking with you, Kemi. If we want to come say hi, where do we find you?
Come find us on:
Instagram : @eclatcollections / @kemstarr__
Facebook: Éclat Collections
I love learning about new brands and personalities pioneering the use of African prints in fashion, art and beyond. If this describes you, LAJA wants to hear your story. Shoot an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll go from there!
Photos provided by Éclat Collections
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 email@example.com