The award-winning Nigerian born designer Banke Kuku “Queen of Color” is widely is known for her creative & interesting blend of African and Western cultures. As CEO of Banke Kuku textiles, the eponymous brand creates eclectic bespoke woven and printed fabrics for both the fashion and interior industry.
While promoting African culture and tradition, Banke has collaborated with major fashion brands including Burberry, Duro Olowa, Selfridges, Lisa Folawiyo, Swoon, Jasmine Di Milo where she perfected her textile design skills and earned the name “Queen of Color”. Her designs have featured in a number of international fashion shows in Milan, New York and Paris.
In 2014, she won Women, a competition organized by Triumph International, an international underwear manufacturer founded in 1886 in Heubach, Germany. Banke’s prints have been described as an “exquisite piece of art” by Lidewij Edelkoort, one of the world’s most famous trend forecasters.
Who is Banke Kuku?
Banke Kuku, Nigerian textile designer and author of “Unwoven Threads of Nigeria” was born in Lagos in the 1980’s. Banke moved to United Kingdom at age 8 – long before her rise to fame, the textile designer has been fascinated with textile and began knitting at the age of 5.
In an interview with Ventures Africa “I have been fascinated with textiles as far back as I can remember. I was knitting at the age five. I would always pick the floral dresses and draw patterns on everything with a felt tip pen”.
Her parents recognized her creative passion at an early stage and supported her by allowing Banku to express herself creatively. She attended Grange Primary School. Making textiles her passion, she went from Central St. martins were she got a diploma in fine arts to College of Art and Design, where she got a bachelors degree and specialized in woven textiles. While working for Jasmine Di Milo, a now defunct fashion house owned by Jasmine Al fayed she was dubbed “Queen of Colour by the creative director due to her perfectionism in dying fabrics to an exact colour specification.
Her company, Banke Kuku Textiles was founded in 2011 which was inspired by her dedication and creativity in “fusing” West – African and Western-eclectic inspirations to create intricate and unique designs/textiles.
The uniqueness of her designs come from her ability to tell and African story and capture moods through pattern and color. Her designs are intricate and Nigerian culture. For example, the brand signature print – Delta Print, tells the story of the Niger Delta region.
Nigerian singer and songwriter, Tiwa Savage and a host of many others are among brands the ever growing clientele.