Whenever I remember this design brand, the first thing running through my mind is “so different” and if I have to add any more to that, it would definitely be a round of applause!
Onwuchekwa_bcd needs no introduction; with it’s signature styles embodying a mix of bold patterns, symmetry, prints, leather, zips, interesting combination of fabrics (you just name it) yet, finished with delicate, fine detailing, taking the average man and woman from just ‘looking good’ to ‘stylishly, looking good’, with a dose of fresh it is just that evident that the moment an Onwuchekwa piece is spotted, it can’t be missed.
“They say the apple does not fall far from the tree” and these words couldn’t be truer because the creative mind behind the brand itself – Mr Chikezie Daniel Onwuchekwa, is no conformist. His pieces have been seen on the likes of celebrities and public figures such as JideOfSt’ola, Denrele Edun, Stan Nze, to mention a few and yes, Onwuchekwa is based in Abuja and made in Nigeria.
Without further ado, let’s now chat with the Creative Director and better understand the Onwuchekwa brand, shall we?
Thank you so much for having me.
So first of all, what inspired the name ‘Onwuchekwa” and what does it mean?
Actually ONWUCHEKWA is my surname and means “Death should wait “. I wanted my brand name to not only be unique but also sound unique, and also be a declaration of something positive.
You feature quite an interesting variance of ‘mix and matches’, bold patterns, prints, symmetry, colors, and a whole lot of beautiful bold designs. What inspires the ‘Onwuchekwa look/style’?
To understand the Onwuchekwa style, you need to know who the Onwuchekwa man/woman is and what they are about. They are bold, fearless, and sometimes very relaxed and completely unafraid to turn heads, hence the brands aesthetic with mix and match of bright and subtle colours, fun prints and interesting intarsia details.
Do you have any collection/piece you’re most invested in, emotionally?
I love all the pieces I have designed, the ones I have to embellish later are the ones I would say I’m invested in emotionally.
Which local and/or international designers are you inspired by (if any)?
I love Bridget Awoshika, Wanger Ayu (I think the Wanger Ayu woman is a mixture of beauty and brains which makes her every piece unique). I Love Balmain, I’m always thrilled by the intricate detailing of most of their pieces.
Let’s talk a little on design in the Nigerian Fashion industry. Being a credible part of this industry, would you agree that there is indeed a tough yet salient competition existing and how healthy or unhealthy is it?
Just like every industry the fashion industry is no different; it has its ups and downs. As for competition I’m only in a competition with myself, my previous work must show growth and better choices.
In terms of business and publicity, what mediums would you say works best for design brands; social media presence, location or referrals and what has worked best for Onwuchekwa?
Word of mouth, a client with a satisfied service will call again. Social media is also very good but it’s not the ultimate; because at the end of the day in fashion seeing is actually believing.
From the brands conception till now, would you say Onwuchekwa is still on the initial path you envisioned for it, or is growing and building up on a different lane?
I would like to say I’m am still very much in my lane and plans to make the necessary steps towards growth have begun.
Onwuchekwa turned 2 years old on the 29thof May, absolutely lovely! How would you describe the journey so far?
It’s been an amazing journey to self discovery, there’s been a lot of pain, sleepless night, but with God on my side It’s been nothing but a learning experience, and I’m looking forward to the next year’s of my career in Fashion.
Longevity in mind, would you say your design pattern and signatures currently are likely to be a staple style for the brand?
Absolutely, one of the things I’m most proud about is that people can tell an ONWUCHEKWA piece from something as little as the cut. I’ve had clients tell me that someone actually walked up to me and said “you’re wearing ONWUCHEKWA right? So yes the brand aesthetics will remain, but it will get better I promise.
Should we be expecting anything from Onwuchekwa considering you just turned 2 years old on the 29th? (A runway show, giveaway, you know all of that good stuff *wink*).
There would be a giveaway for all our Day 1’s and for all those who have gone out of their way to make this journey a walk in the park.
5-10 years ahead of now, what would be a satisfactory picture for your mind when you think about Onwuchekwa?
I’ll keep working hard to make certain we get to where we need to be, and by God’s grace it will be real soon.
What advice will you give designers/design brands, especially unique brands like yours, which are still growing in our Nigerian fashion community?
My advice will be get an education in fashion no matter how little, intern or work with an established brand, learn the ropes, a dude or dame that knows the ropes isn’t likely to get tied up. Don’t be afraid to fail, because at least you tried. Keep your creative fire burning by always choosing to see things differently.
Spoken like a true visionary, well here are a few pieces from the brand. Enjoy!
Remember, “Don’t be afraid to fail’, and do not conform, be you, be bold, be unique!
*More interesting designs and looks can be seen here*