Nigerian designer Wekaforé Maniu Jibril was born into an appreciation of craftsmanship. With a father who is an architect, a mother who is a textile manufacturer and a grandfather who was a tailor in the Ogori village, it is not surprise that he made fashion design a permanent part of his life. He moved to the UAE with his family when their home was destroyed by a fire. Facing racial discrimination and familial financial difficulties, he never lost the memories he had learning basic stitching from his father and spending time helping his mother in her workshop. A ‘By Wekafore‘ imprint was launched in 2013 with a capsule collection titled ‘Welcome to Black’ produced in Dubai.
His Wekafore brand pays homage to his grandfather’s work, who died in his village without being able to witness the forms that fashion takes in city life. Working with a team of creatives from Kyiv in the Ukraine who took an interest in the story behind the brand, Wekaforé has managed to build his brand.
Wekafore designs branch out from the roots of Wekaforé’s nostalgia and the framework set out by Negritude writers. He is also inspired by African photographers such as Mali’s Malick Sidibe whose black and white images documented the popular culture in Bamako during the 60s and 70s. With the aim of highlighting a different side of black culture, the brand draws on 1970s street fashion and combines this with neat tailoring methods. This can be seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 lookbook titled ‘Thank You Florence’. Wide-leg pants, velvet dresses and leather shorts can be seen alongside t-shirts with prints inspired by Nigerian TV, sweatpants and a metallic skirt.
Check out the Wekafore website to have a look at the full lookbook.