© Nicolas Brulez


By Alice Butterlin

A newcomer at the Fall-Winter 2020 Paris Fashion Week, Kenneth Ize stunned attendees with a collection borrowing equally from his own Nigerian culture and the structured cuts of classic tailoring, creating a unique blend of his rich cultural roots and the itinerant young designer’s modern vision. After studying at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, Kenneth Ize showed his eponymous brand’s first silhouettes at Fashion Week Lagos, where his designs made a largely favorable impression. Aiming to pay tribute to his cherished heritage, the designer offers unique pieces in an array of vibrant colors that scream travel, fun and gender bending. In September 2019, Ize was a finalist for the LVMH Prize, which sealed his reputation as a designer to watch and placed his first Paris show on the radar of fashion adepts worldwide. And it was well worth the trip to discover looks based on asoke, a traditional handwoven cloth of Nigeria made in check or stripe patterns. In this way, collages of acid colors somersault across wardrobe staples like a short bomber jacket, blazer or cinched trench. Workwear is another big inspiration with quilted overalls with off-white, forest green, black and ochre stripes worn with a fringed bag at the waist. Men wear baggy jackets with long fringes that brush the ground over sweats lined with carnations. Elsewhere, printed ties, patterned sleeveless sweaters, round collar knit jackets and embroidered moccasins lend the collection a preppy hint. By pairing classicism with popular culture, the Austro-Nigerian designer has crafted a fresh and original collection that perfectly satisfies the cravings of the new generation and their predecessors: as she closed out the designer’s show, it almost seemed like Naomi Campbell only had eyes for Ize…


Photography: Nicolas Brulez

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