Nigerian designer, Deola Sagoe was interviewed by leading Black Women’s Magazine- ESSENCE.com. In the interview, the designer talks about her brand and how her Nigerian and African cultural influences are reflected in her designs.
Below are snippets from the interview:
ESSENCE.com: As an African designer, you are always seen is a representative of that continent. Is that how you wish to be seen, or as a designer with her own unique worldview?
DEOLA : Every true designer I know has his or her own deeply held point of view. This is usually fashioned by their environment and concerns, but also from that uniqueness that comes from within you, and as such is not defined by geography or location. I’m black, I’m a Nigerian, and I’m a woman – guess it’s no surprise that you’re going to see that in my work no more than if I was Japanese or Dutch.
ESSENCE.com: So you seek to strictly represent your homeland?
DEOLA: I would like to think I represent an Africa that is still yet to be fully appreciated, an Africa that is not just one homogenous blob but a rich continent of diversity and expression. African cultures are so fluid by the way, it’s mixes of European, British, French, Portuguese from our colonial past and American coming in from modern day enterprise and international business. If there’s a mixing pot somewhere on this Earth it’s got to be Africa that’s why things are often very rich here.
ESSENCE.com: How does your Nigerian culture in particular inform your work as a designer?
DEOLA: Nigeria is a nation often debated across the world but actually rarely truly investigated. Nigeria is a strong nation; the people are proud and culturally very rich and diverse. For me it’s like a goldmine that I can delve into. I go in the mine and when I return to the light I discover that I have gems of every description, and I’m usually surprised! What I mean is, whenever I’m designing I’ll start with some element of my culture and then I’ll go on and add myself to it, what I’m feeling at the time, and then, by a miracle, things start to just happen. It’s really the most wonderful thing to be a kind of conveyor or channel for something new to come into being, and yet you can feel its lineage.It has a link to history and culture. The Nigerian consciousness has yet to be fully explored but everyday it keeps offering up gems.
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