Banke Kuku is known as the ‘Queen of Colour’ for myriad reasons, chief amongst them, her stint at Jasmine Di Milo where she honed her textile design skills. In 2011 she set up her eponymous brand Banke Kuku Textiles, and has not looked back since. With a string of collaboration from Lisa Folawiyo to Duro Olowu and Swoon Editions, the British-Nigerian textile designer, is as adept at creating striking prints for fashion, as she is for interiors.
I’ve always been fascinated by textiles. I used to knit and crochet with my mum when I was young. At first I wanted to study fashion, so I did my foundation at Central Saint Martins [college in London]. I specialised in fashion, fashion communications and textiles, but I didn’t really understand textiles before starting the course — I thought it all merged into fashion. When I started studying textiles, I knew it was what I wanted to do.
On her effort to merge cultures
I always like to tell an African or Nigerian story, and try to modernise traditional techniques, like adire, which is a Nigerian dyeing technique. Because I grew up in Britain I am also inspired by British culture and fabrics, so I try to merge the two cultures. My Aso collection is a good example: the stripes represent the stripes on a traditional Nigerian fabric called Aso-oke. They are woven over a western damask.
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