an excerpt from

    GREY
is the
    new
bold

a conversation with Rukky Ladoja

an excerpt from

    GREY
is the
    new
bold

a conversation with Rukky Ladoja

photo Niyi Okeowo

GREY Projects — whose many fans include writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie — is a Lagos-based fashion label which prides itself on offering bold and cosmopolitan designs that are approachable and affordable.

We talk to co-founder and creative director Rukky Ladoja about the challenges of running a fashion label in Lagos, and why Nigerian women are particularly exciting to design for.

PS: Do you have the conscious goal of representing Nigerian or African fashion to the world, or is this something that doesn’t interest you so much?

RL: The difficulty of this idea of representing African fashion to the world is that we are conscious that there is this specific idea that the world has of African fashion. GREY doesn’t necessarily fit that mould. When people say ‘African fashion’, they’re often thinking of traditional culture, African techniques perhaps, like tie-and-dye, traditional African fabrics, or sustainable fashion. I wouldn’t say we fit into any of those moulds. Although we do have quite an artisanal style — we have people who work on the design exclusively who put the pieces together, instead of having everything factory-made — I think more than anything we represent a move towards a more contemporary kind of African fashion. A more modern take on what African fashion is meant to be.

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Our latest SS18 collection, for example, was inspired by the amazing patterns you find on these beautiful poisonous frogs. That’s not traditionally ‘African’, but it is a source of inspiration that came about because of where we happen to be. And every so often we do have collections where we’ll use an object or symbol or something from African culture. For example, there was this traditional African comb that you would remember from when you were a child, when your mum used it on your hair, and her mum used it on her hair. And that did inform one of the designs that we had in our SS17 collection.

So we do have these African influences, of course. But this idea of what is African fashion and how the world sees African fashion can be quite tricky. I would say that we are simply an African-based fashion brand which is hoping to have an international appeal. And we want people to know that things from Africa can compete internationally, while still having this unique edge because of where we’re from.


Find the rest of our conversation with Rukky in Issue One

So we do have these African influences, of course. But this idea of what is African fashion and how the world sees African fashion can be quite tricky. I would say that we are simply an African-based fashion brand which is hoping to have an international appeal. And we want people to know that things from Africa can compete internationally, while still having this unique edge because of where we’re from.


Find the rest of our conversation with Rukky in Issue One

© 2018 Perfect Strangers LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Foreign Policy Design Group

© 2018 Perfect Strangers LLC. All Rights Reserved.
Website by Foreign Policy Design Group

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