Kenneth Ize x Karl Largerfeld

by | Aug 16, 2021 | Culture, Design, Fashion, Lifestyle, New Talent, Trends

  • We spotted a star.
  • A collaboration, THE CAPSULE.
  • Gender Neutral.
  • Heritage into the future.

Lagos-born designer and 2019 LVMH Prize finalist, Kenneth Ize, was on The WIRE “Africa Issue’s” Top African Designers list. Prophetically, this year’s biggest collaboration comes in the form of Ize teaming up with prestigious global fashion Maison Karl Lagerfeld in an exclusive ready-to-wear capsule with online luxury fashion retail platform, Farfetch, for Spring/Summer 2021. Certainly, there was a time when African fashion influence was limited to a print or accessory but now, from voices like Kenneth Itze’s, the continent’s fashion authority comes complete with heritage, imagination, and storytelling.

The Capsule.

Through a future-looking lens, the tailored pieces are expressed with a dynamic versatility. There is a strong conversation between the bold colours and prints of Ize and Lagerfeld’s iconic palette of black and white. Interspersed are sensuous pops of colour, directly inspired by the traditional handwoven aso oke cloth of the Yoruba people of West Africa. These crisp prints swirl on shirts and matching pants. Fabrications are tactile from knits to silk to hemp. It is all at once both Nigerian and European, gender-neutral and celebrates the evolution of Culture.

Gender Neutral.

“Gender is a construct and there really is no reason why more collections can’t encompass this all-inclusive approach. It doesn’t matter what gender you identify with – it’s how you express yourself that’s important, and I think this collection allows for endless possibilities in that respect,” says Ize.

Adds Style Advisor, Carine Roitfeld, who curated the Collection: “When seeing Kenneth’s runway, it’s something that struck me. Everything feels interchangeable. I liked the idea of a shared wardrobe and we all thought it would make complete sense to build this capsule as a unisex collection. I’m sure Karl would have loved Kenneth’s work. Karl always gave such a powerful energy and great freedom; he always wanted to be surprised and expected people to go beyond their own boundaries.”

Heritage.

This is certainly no vainglorious affair for Ize. He has important things to say. Accessories, especially “The Phone Bag” are made from fabrics sourced from Nigeria as well as sustainably sourced leather – following standards set by environmental certification non-profit, Leather Working Group – in intricate weaving and detailing. Ize is devoted to preserving traditional Nigerian artisanship, working with a small community of weavers. And here he is most bold, transforming “handcraft into a new concept of “luxury and Art”. It is a revolutionary act that recolonizes the western view of African creativity and meets head-on Lagerfeld’s rocker-chic and classic French approach to tailoring.

Kenneth Ize is Maison Karl Lagerfeld’s first Black designer collaborator, and his distinctive African voice now occupies an important position, in both the annals of fashion history and global culture.

C.S.A.’s monthly cultural portal, The WIRE connects the dots of culture. With concise stories, many with video content, take a premium dive into the world of African entertainment & cultural fluidity. It’s one thing to be hip to what’s happening but it is another to know why.

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