About The Brand Chinakwe
“I create art that will challenge the mainstream, igniting an understanding and appreciation for black culture, style and beauty. As equal to the western ideology of beauty, and to help forge a stronger pan-continent relationship between fashion and art”
'CHINAKWE' is a brand formed by artist and designerCaroline Chinakwe, originating from her desire to blend her biggest passion, art, with her first love, fashion.
After graduating from London College of Fashion and working in the industry for 20 years, Caroline felt the need to challenge the ideals of beauty and womanhood she lived side by side with during her career, and at the same time express what real beauty is for her.
Appalled by the white beauty and rigid stereotypes disheartening the way black models are treated not to mention the boxes they’re put in, Caroline understood she had to take action to spark a change.
Her art doesn’t want to be a mere self-expression, but an inspiration for the present and future generations to realize the change that is possible. As a self-taught artist, she started putting together her art pieces using a combination of various artistic mediums including photography, acrylic painted details and digital collaging.
In 2019, Caroline started sharing her artworks on social media and the overwhelming response pushed her to launch her first collection “This is Me” in 2020. The brand CHINAKWE was officially born. The artist poured into this collection all her resentment and frustration towards the industry that had homed her for the past years. The way black models were treated, either as a token for contrast or forced to look like white models, felt stifling and disrespectful.
'Let go of your past (blue)'
Through these pieces the mission of CHINAKWE started becoming clear:
"Art to empower, art to awaken your thoughts, art to fall in love with, art as a vibrant and colourful rebellion against what someone else decided is “the norm”
This is particularly present in the second collection “Colourism”, ignited by a very painful subject matter. This phenomenon is the discrimination of people belonging to the same ethnic group because of their darker (or lighter) skin tone. It’s a worse form of racism, as it happens inside the community you should feel safe in. And Caroline knows that well: she’s a lighter shade of black and she started feeling this difference as a child, when her mother would refer to her as the “light-skinned child” compared to her sister.