Kiibati Segun-Adebowale is the prodigiously talented Creative Director of Ankafrika By Kiibati. At 18 she has displayed her ingenuity in different areas which include graphics, painting, entrepreneurship and cooking.
Her brand, Ankafrika By Kiibati, which she described as a celebration of culture clocked one this month. In this interview by FrontPage, Kiibati who is studying Fashion at Ryerson University in Toronto Canada shares her dreams of her brand. Excerpts:
What stirred your interest in fashion?
I have always loved fashion. For me it’s more in-born than stirred up. I love how fashion makes me feel. I love the fact that I can channel my personality through dress; it has just always been exciting to me.
At 18, do you think you can compete in the Nigerian fashion industry?
100 per cent. I have no atom of doubt in myself and the impact I can make in the industry. I have the passion, the entrepreneurial ability and most importantly, the voice of the Holy Spirit.
Where do you see your brand in five years?
Hmnnn, I love to dream big. I see my brand worldwide. I see my brand encouraging the younger generation to appreciate their culture. I also see my brand sponsoring initiatives to assist young and creative people who don’t have the opportunity I had as regards finance and support.
What was your parents’ reaction when you told them you wanted to study Fashion
My Parents’ immediate reaction was, just like any other African parents’ – hesitation. I sensed their initial shock when I informed them I was switching from Mass Communication to Fashion, especially my father who had wanted me to study Mass Communication. He asked me to go and pray about it and after praying, I came to tell him that, that was still my choice and he was cool with it. More importantly, my parents have always supported me in everything. So, as usual they supported my decision and encouraged me in every way they could – financially, emotionally and prayerfully.
I love to dream big. I see my brand worldwide. I see my brand encouraging the younger generation to appreciate their culture. I also see my brand sponsoring initiatives to assist young and creative people who don’t have the opportunity I had as regards finance and support.
What other skills do you possess besides fashion?
I paint well. I also cook really well (my parents can testify to that). I am also really creative with graphics and videos.
What inspired the name “Ankafrika?
I truly wanted to encapsulate the main purpose of my brand in the name. Ankafrika to me means “celebration of culture.”
Do you have plans of going into adult fashion anytime soon since that’s where the money is?
I know that as I grow, I am open to expanding because I would want to design and make clothes for my age group also. However, I would be sticking with the sole purpose of the brand which is to encourage youths and kids to embrace their culture.
Tell us the story behind Abeke Collection which was released on January 1, 2021?
The journey of this collection started during the period of the #BLM movement. The first collection, although I loved it, I saw that I got distracted. So, this collection I drew myself back to my main purpose. I went back to my roots as a Yoruba lady and dedicated the collection to the culture. I was very intentional with this collection; I wanted every material sourced from the authentic location, Abeokuta. Sadly, due to the pandemic, I was not able to visit Abeokuta personally, but I got in contact with a lady who has been in the business for years and from there we kicked off.
What’s your educational background?
I attended Mind Builders Nursery and Primary School, Ojodu in Lagos for my primary education and Trinity International College, Ofada, Ogun State, for my secondary education. I am currently in Ryerson University, Toronto Canada, studying Fashion.
What is your state of origin?
Osun State, Nigeria.
Which persons do you admire in the Nigerian fashion industry?
There are so many amazing and talented Nigerians in the fashion industry and they are all so inspiring. Personally, I admire Dumebi Iyamah. She has such a calm and amazing personality, impeccable work ethics and stays grounded in her faith and in her vision for her brand.
What is your staff strength?
It’s an incredibly small but passionate team. I handle the creative directing, designing, social media etc and the tailor handles the execution. Of course, I also get assistance from my friends and family and I am so grateful for them.