Banke Kuku, designer.
“My designs tell stories about west Africa. When people are attracted to a piece, they’ll ask what inspired it. Beauty draws people in. It gives me the opportunity to discuss native parables and current issues on the continent. I always hope that when people hear them, they’ll want to help in the way I do.”
“I met a photographer who showed me some images of the Niger Delta after an oil spill. They possessed this rare ability to be both awful and wonderful at the same time. I couldn’t go there and see for myself as it was too dangerous, but the photographs inspired me to create the Delta series, and the Delta Sola print was born.”
“Oil spills are actually vibrant and colourful, but I like the idea of creating opposites, so I chose a monochrome palette. Black and white is also gender neutral, plus it goes with everything. The Milly’s the perfect partner because such a bold pattern needs to be applied to a smaller accent piece. It gives the customer the chance to have something special without overwhelming a room.”
“My ultimate goal? To have a boutique hotel decorated from head to toe in these incredible west-African stories.”
Having graduated from Central Saint Martins, Banke worked as a freelance fashion designer for several years. In 2011, her dream of creating an interiors collection came to life, and Banke Kuku was born. Her clothing has been worn by the likes of Michelle Obama, and her growing interiors collection is stocked in stores including Selfridges.