Interview: Textile Designer Banke Kuku Fuses Afro And Western Style, Catches The Attention Of Vogue Italia

For those of you that may not know Banke Kuku the textiles brand based in the United Kingdom then here’s introducing you to Designer/Creative Director behind the self-named brand. Banke Kuku is known for printed and woven textiles in fashion and interior designing.  She caught the attention of Editor of Vogue Italia, Franca Sozanni for her creative and expert use of African prints and textiles and was featured on

Banke Kuku graduated from Central St Martin’s and Chelsea Art College where she studied Textile Design. She was awarded the title ‘Queen of Colour’ by the famous Creative Director of Jasmine Di Milo. Her designs are ‘Exquisite Pieces of Art’ which has been further affirmed by Lidewij Edelkoort, one of the world’s most renowned trend forecasters.

She has a vast experience in the industry and has worked with prints experts Duro Olowu, Jasmine Di Milo, Burberry, Jewel by Lisa, Lot 78 and more. Her print designs have graced the catwalks of London, Paris and New York and woven interior fabrics have participated in furniture shows from Milan to Africa.

Largely influenced by Africa and her Native Nigeria, Banke Kuku’s prints have been worn and made even more famous by America’s First Lady Michelle Obama, Singer Kelis, and E! News co anchor Catt Sadler.

Early in 2012 Banke Kuku’s cushions were displayed for sale in one of the world’s most renowned departmental stores Selfridges UK among other luxury lifestyle brands such as Missoni and DVF. brings you textile designer Banke Kuku, the queen of colour, elegant fabrics and Afro-Western style!

OB: What does fashion mean to you?
BK: To me fashion is how you inject your person style on trends.

OB: Why interior design? As opposed to clothes and accessories?
BK: With Interior design my fabrics don’t get cut up into tiny bits as much!!

OB: What are some of your accomplishments as a designer?
BK: I have really cool opportunities as a designer. Most recently being featured in Italia vogue as a result of Franca Sozzani coming to my studio was amazing! I felt more than blessed! Featuring in publications around the world for example vogue, Elle decorations, The times UK, This Day Nigeria, The nation Nigeria. Stocking in the world’s best stores cuture lab, Selfridges. Taking part in Millan furniture fair.  

OB: For how long have you been designing?
BK: I have been working in the industry for 4 years

OB: Where do you get your inspiration?
BK: I get my inspiration for my surrounding, people, buildings, nature, other people’s emotions and my emotions.

OB: What are your goals for the Nigerian fashion world?
BK: The fashion world in Nigeria is getting bigger, lost of new talents entering the industry daily. I would definitely like to push for a bigger platform for new designers. My personal goals for the industry would be to contribute to the domestic arena. That might entail creating more awareness to what’s going on within textiles on a local level. It’s important to become a global brand and show the rest of the world what Nigeria is all about.  We must not forget where we came from its important to keep local industries running.

OB: What do you like best about designing?
BK: I love being able to have meaning in my work, it’s almost like having a creative voice. You have the ability to make statements and translate it in a beautiful way.

OB: What are some of the influences your work has experienced?
BK: My work is very influenced by African and western culture. It is also influenced by English textile designer, William Morris he was a textile designer during the 1800s.   

OB: What are the major frustrations of being a textile designer?
BK: Being a textiles designer can be tough as it’s quite hard to protect yourself in terms of copy right.  

OB: What are your favourite patterns/prints to work with and why?
BK: I love digital print. There is so much flexibility, for example no colour limitations and intricate details within patterns can be picked up easily. It’s quick and efficient.

OB: Do you have a dominant colour you put in your designs, and why?
BK: I work with all colours.

OB: How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
BK: My line can be quirky and although it’s intense in terms of colour and pattern it is bold elegant and modern and certainly makes a statement.   

OB: How would you describe your personal style?
BK: My style is simple clean lines, I never over complicate. In the summer I’m more adventurous with fabrics and colours. In the winter I wear a lot of dark colours.

Banke Kuku Cushion Collection

OB: Who are some of your favourite designers?
BK: Etro, Dolce and Gabbana, Dries van Noten

OB: What advice would you give someone just starting out in textile designs?
BK: Always develop your skills. Keep your mind open, go to galleries, shows it’s important to see things. Find an identity and stay true to it.

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