Nigerian women’s wear label Kancky, is one of those labels that reinvented itself after a first incarnation as a niche high street brand capitalizing on the Kimono craze of 2014. Founded by Chikweluaku Nwafor, and run by her sisters Adaobi, Nkechi and Kosoluchukwu, the label’s debut collection ‘Espirit Libre’ was a trope heavy collection of 2016’s trends cobbled together and offered as a collection. The label had gotten down the tailoring and construction aspects of their brand from years as a mass market label but they were struggling with finding an aesthetic and a distinct point of view.
Their Resort 2017 collection (I wonder why these labels continue making resort collections in a country with no retail structure to support sales) is themed ‘Kalakuta Republic’. The sisters turn their attention homeward for their new collection, paying homage to Fela Anikulapo Kuti’s life and work. Or at least, that’s what it says on the press packet. The clothes however, show that the Nwafor sisters haven’t learned their lessons from ‘Espirit’ Libre.
If you’re going draw inspiration from a personality, or a well documented phenomenon or historical era, then you best be ready to do your homework and implicitly understand everything about this person/thing you can want to appreciate. Fela Anikulapo Kuti had three distinct eras, all differentiated by costume, sound and aesthetic. Each era was defined by the band Fela played with. Also Kalakuta Republic distinctly puts the era in 1977.
Save for the shekere on the model’s feet and the slit bell bottoms, there is nothing that represents Fela Anikulapo Kuti in this collection. Adire was never a distinct part of Fela’s aesthetic and the clothes, made from satin and art silk in no way reference directly or abstractly, Fela’s inimitable life and work. It is just another trend heavy, mass market collection, masquerading as high fashion.
Kancky really, really needs to consider switching to mass market altogether. It isn’t too late.
Photography: Nkem Mere (@nkemmere)
Model/Muse: Nkechi Nwafor (@keke_nwa4) of @bethmodelafrica
Styling and Art Direction: Luaku Nwafor (@luaku_tory), Adaobi Nwafor (@adaobikylie)
Hair and Make Up: Adaobi Nwafor (@adaobikylie).
Contact: [email protected] | @kancky_idgn