Inspired by culture, Ethnik is an eclectic and vibrant collection of afro-centric fashion and home accessories, sneakers, boots and sandals, all handmade from aso oke. Created with today’s fashionistas in mind, Ethnik is reimagining aso oke within Africa’s contemporary fashion landscape at home and in the diaspora. Regarded as the fabrics of kings, aso oke is equated with royalty and originates from the Yoruba culture of Nigeria. Ethnik aims to redefine aso oke without taking away from its originality. Make it accessible to trendsetters across Africa’s urban cities without losing its regal and luxurious personality.
A fusion of fashion, art and culture, Ethnik is about cultural affirmation at a time when it is increasingly important to tell the world who you are through your heritage. Ethnik expresses elegantly the beauty and opulence of a people’s culture and history, and reiterates that aso-oke known for its versatility, durability and longevity stands out in a multitude of fabrics.
Creative director Tunde Owolabi is inspired by his Yoruba culture to create a brand that is aesthetically appealing to a fashion-forward global consumer base. Borne out of a need to showcase the art of creative artisanship and the splendour of beauty that is the finished product, Tunde designs the colourful aso oke pieces, which are hand-loomed by traditional weavers. Driven by his passion to preserve his heritage, he said: “My vision is to create a modern ethnic-inspired brand that appeals to fashion lovers across generations. I want Ethnik to showcase African history, culture, designs, artistry and craftsmanship. Our Scarified collection is inspired by the traditional Yoruba practice of scarification. While our Oriki collection pays homage to Yoruba praise poetry. Together both collections carry my identity and heritage aesthetics.”
“It’s important for me to bring aso oke into a contemporary space and make it cool for young people to associate themselves with it while maintaining its luxurious factor. I want people to feel like they are wearing a work of art, a collector’s item. It’s about creating individuality for the person wearing it and redefining culture. It’s imperative that I create and build on a sustainable brand because I want to make sure aso oke does not go into extinction.”
Aso oke is vintage Nigeria, and Ethnik is a non-conforming brand that is made in Nigeria for Africa and the world. Seeing your history and heritage in colour makes you proud and that is what Ethink wants to evoke in anyone who owns a piece – a pride in self, culture, country and continent.