“I want this collection to bring a smile to your face, fill you with pride for your culture, or fall in love with black beauty and culture, giving you the confidence to own who you are and experiment with colour and embrace it into your own everyday life”
- Caroline Chinkawe -
When artist and designer Caroline Chinakwe was constructing her debut collection 'This is Me', it was really about letting herself go and her imagination run wild. Within the black community, we are often made to believe that our features, skin tone, hair and body types were not attractive enough and didn’t fit into the Western idea of beauty. This depiction was heightened when it came to black women in mainstream media, and the lack of diversity that was prominent within her work as a black stylist and designer in the fashion industry for 20 years. Black models were either made up to look like white models, or seen as a contrast token. She felt that our style and beauty wasn’t acknowledged, understood or appreciated.
Her frustrations with the industry motivated her to create the collection ‘This is Me’, highlighting our culture, which is full of style, colour, beauty, prints and texture all wrapped in confidence and pride. As fashion is her first love, Caroline’s inspiration started with accessories such as hats, glasses and jewellery. Each piece was styled and designed in a manner that was similar to how she would normally conduct a shoot, but instead of working on live models, it was now a digital canvas. The creation of this series was also guided by Caroline going through a spiritual awakening, practising positive thinking, self-confidence and the power of manifestation. So when it came to choosing titles for each piece, such as 'Patience', 'I can’t be stung by you' and 'Let go of your past', they were all about capturing moments at that time of her life.