Elizabeth Yemi Akingbade, Creative director Yemzi discusses Yemzi silk, her British-Nigerian link, and her highly anticipated SS17 collection Gold label-2 (high-end) to be unveiled during London Fashion Week in Dalston.
Yemzi is sustainable ready-to-wear fashion label with street-lux bohemian vibes for the active dreamer. By sustainable I mean that my company has human and environmentally friendly approach to business in terms of fair wage, safe materials and working conditions.
**How would you describe your brand and what you do?
Yemzi is sustainable ready-to-wear fashion label with street-lux bohemian vibes for the active dreamer. By sustainable I mean that my company has human and environmentally friendly approach to business in terms of fair wage, safe materials and working conditions. All pieces are designed by me, Elizabeth-Yemi Akingbade and made in London. The feel of Yemzi is streetwear meets luxury in a concrete jungle.
**What inspires your creative process?
To be honest I find inspiration in everything. My brand focusses in translating my experience as a British-Nigerian into fashion prints and designs.
**What Major bottleneck have you experienced in the course of conducting your work?
I have high taste but my budget is quite limited. Yemzi is a self-funded fashion business so my extravagant ideas are often compromised.
**How do you fight an inspiration bloc?
That never happens, I find inspiration in everything. The hardest thing is refining all the ideas to make a strong and concise collection.
**What’s your favorite fabric to work with?
I love Yemzi silk which is decorated with my hand drawn illustrations. It’s great because it can be rolled up without creasing and it’s so lightweight and flows in the wind like water!
**What stage would you consider your brand successful?
When I have reputable stockists in at least three different continents that have placed orders for several seasons.
**If not designing, what?
It would have to be something creativity lead, a Fine Artist, some type of writer or Art Director possibly. I’ve never really considered anything other than designing as a career.
**What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I’m currently finishing my masters in African Studies at SOAS (School of Oriental and African Studies) in central London and it has sparked ideas which I am incorporating into collections. Being raised by a white family I have had a huge disconnect from my Nigerian heritage so it has been amazing to study and visit my homeland.
**What is your favorite part about being a fashion designer?
Being able to express myself and seeing other people enjoy and feel empowered by it is very rewarding.
**What plans do you have for your brand, keeping the future in view?
I am presenting my SS17 collection on September 19th during London Fashion Week in a World War 2 Bunker in Dalston. I’m busy in my studio with my intern Krezsend developing what will be the second Gold Label (high-end) collection and I am very excited to share it with the world.