NKWO looks to a sustainable future of fashion with new collection


THE world is only two weeks into 2021, but talks have already resurfaced regarding the ever-growing concern on climate change and the damaging effects that the fashion industry has on the environment. 

In a report published in Business Insider, the production fashion is responsible for 10% of total global carbon emissions, is considered to be the second-largest polluter after oil, and uses up to 1.5 trillion litres of water at the risk of the planet’s biodiversity. 

The Gerewol Jacket from a 2020 collection. Picture: Instagram/nwko_official

The staggering reports released by environmental organisations, along with the wide-spread criticism from the UN and the EU has prompted various fashion retailer giants (like H&M; Zara) and luxury brands (Vivienne Westwood, Malawi’s Mayamiko and Suave Kenya) to create and not waste clothing pieces in a conscious manner – using sustainable materials like cotton, bamboo, linen, hemp, silk, wool and various non-animal leather (vegetable, apple and cactus).

On the forefront of African luxury brands heeding the environmental call is Nigerian artisan label NKWO – who focus on mixing traditional and contemporary crafts of sustainable sourcing. 

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The brand’s core values of blending natural resources and the environment while reducing textile waste, and the invention of their own fabric that they call Dakala Cloth, have led them to being considered an innovative fashion brand in Africa. 

They have steadily grown as a brand that harnesses the crafts of early methods of hand crafting like weaving, beading, hand dyeing and embroidery into modern interpretations that give new longevity to Nigeria’s art in crafting and follows NKWO’s inspiration of the African plains and its nomadic people.

NKWO’s latest collection titled ‘Basic Blues’, features a lookbook of patchwork upcycled denim, tye-dye outfits and cotton pieces that the label made in collaboration with a master dyer from Northern Nigeria. Their new collection uses blue and white colour palettes on easy-to-wear pieces, including their updated versions of NKWO’s Dakala cloth on patchwork outfits. 
The brand wrote in their official statement that the release of their new collection was inspired by the tye-dye prints of the Kofar Mata dye pits in the Kano region, and preserve their traditional craft skills through their commitment to working with local artisans. More looks from NKWO’s latest collection are available on their Instagram page.

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