Under the Mag: new, young African designer: Uzuri Couture

A young, female Cameroonian creative mind has added her self to the list of fashion designers.23 year old Audrey NM has launched her own clothing-line called Uzuri Couture.Her first collection, launched in summer 2011, called “Beautiful Beginnings” is a combination of African wax and European styles, also known as Afro chic. With not even a year from her exposure of her first collection at Cameroon’s Independence celebration, this Dutch based International business graduate has won the Dutch Music & Fashion battle in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and her collection is yet to be launched in Paris, France. Time for a chat with the mind behind Uzuri.

“I consider my work as casual chic”

Audrey NM explains how her love for fashion started at the age of two.Growing up as a teenager, she cultivated an own style of fashion, which she describes as casual chic, preppy, rock-ish, but yet glamorous. Her work is described as trendy, elegant and European styled with traditional African print.

“Two types of style reflect in my work”  

Audrey has graduated from International Business and language studies, but always knew that fashion was the direction she wanted to go into. During an internship in Paris, Audrey knew that putting her creativity into clothing was something she was born to do. She draws her inspiration from African textiles and European designs.“I am originally from Cameroon. Having been brought up in Europe, my work reflects two type of styles, that is Western and African. Every country in Africa has its own colours in African print. I like to mix up these different colours to create variety in my collection. My culture plays a big role in my designs. Having also the Western culture in me, it was more than logical to combine those two worlds together. We have so many possibilities inAfricaand just showing them in the clothing is not even one tenth of what I want to be doing in the near future.” She states.

“This ‘ethnical’ style is our lifestyle”

Audrey continues by saying: “My view on African-inspired western designs is that I feel proud that Africa is represented in fashion in the way it is presented now. A few of my favourite African designers are: Cote Minou, Christie Brown, Adama Paris, and Jewel by Lisa. What we as designers have in common is that we are all using African fabric to give an” exotic twist” ,  but we are all creating fashion in our own way and that is what I love. Critics say that this ‘ethnical’ style, which we create, is a trend. But to us Africans, it’s a lifestyle and it defines who we are. So I believe this is not just a trend.”

“Inspiration from a new perspective”

“I believe what makes contemporary African fashion design different from western design beside the type of print is that we incorporate our culture and tradition, for example, different shapes, models, accessories and our music. This makes the designs of our clothing different. These elements give new perspective to our fashion which people evidently love.”

“The way forward is a specialist boutique”

Little by little, designs like mine are gaining a foothold in mainstream departments and it is beautiful to see that our craft is being acknowledged. But I know a lot of current and upcoming designers, like me, want to be featured in specialist boutiques or even have our own stores. For me, the way forward is specialist boutique, because it makes a brand that is unique, so much personal to the customer.”

“There can’t be enough of African designers. I say keep ’em coming?”

“Other young African designers people should check out, besides the ones I mentioned are David Tlale, Bridget Awosika, Imane Ayissi and Korto Momolu.  These designers show that Africans can also operate on the field of luxury products and they prove that there is place for us African designers in the overall fashion industry, with and without using African print. The sky is our limit and by God’s grace we will continue to put Africa more on the map.”

Audrey let us know that she has more projects and work in store that is yet to be released. This lady is creative, talented, smart and someone to lookout for.

More of Uzuri Couture’s collection can be found on Facebook.

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Thank you for you comment. Be blessed. ABINA

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