CHINAKWE is a contemporary, Afro Lux, art and lifestyle brand. Founded by artist, stylist and designer, Caroline Chinakwe. The brand is rooted in the artist’s African heritage and European upbringing, showing her creative use of prints, styling and bold colours to depict her cultural influences. CHINAKWE officially launched in March 2021 with a product range that originally featured artwork. This started with Caroline’s debut art collection ‘This Is Me’ in 2020, which was expanded with the latest collection ‘Colourism’ in 2021. Her artwork brings the vibrancy and history of black culture to life by showcasing this through lifestyle products for the modern consumer that is ready to embrace the Afro Lux culture.
Following the success of her art series, Carolines found that there is a huge gap in the market for modern African lifestyle products that interlink with Western-style. Products that represent African culture and history in a cool, classy, yet bold way. This concept is missing in the choice of homeware available on our high street retailers, and so the idea for the CHINAKWE lifestyle brand was born. CHINAKWE later transitioned into the fashion and homeware industry with a product line that includes; luxury soft furnishings, reupholstered vintage chairs, silk scarves and loungewear. Featuring, designs and prints that range from detailed, vibrant, Afro-influenced designs from her art collections, to very minimal and unobtrusive prints.
The CHINAKWE brand is an ode to owning, embracing and appreciating multiculturalism and identity. A love of eclectic craftsmanship, the different, the bold and the love and appreciation for culture will define a CHINAKWE customer.
CHINAKWE’s vision is to 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.
Through each piece, CHINAKWE has the mission to:
- Support the evolution of digital contemporary art in a technologically led world.
- Promote the positive representation of a spectrum of melanated people across the art and fashion industry
- Create artistic and consumer-led experiences that promote the value, creativity and diversity of African art and artists to a new generation of art consumers.
- Lead the increase in market share of art by black artists.
SUSTAINABILITY AT CHINAKWE
At Chinakwe and as a small start-up business, we are taking steps to allow ourselves and our world to thrive by minimising our environmental damage. Our love of eclectic craftsmanship has allowed us to produce a service that reduces our material waste when creating edgy fashion and homeware pieces that you will love.
We have collaborated with other London based artisans and manufacturers to reduce our carbon emissions which are contributing to global warming. Alongside creating bespoke made to order collections to limit production whilst allowing you to customise each piece to meet your specific needs. Lastly, by reupholstering pieces such as our Queen and Spiritual dining chair we are bringing life back into 1950/60s pieces to represent black culture and vibrant style in a cool, classic, and simultaneously bold way. Every little thing we can do as a world combined will make such a big difference!
SUPPORT SMALL UK BUSINESS
"Supporting the CHINAKWE brand is supporting, diversity in the types of brands we see on the high street. Inclusivity of black-owned businesses amongst other businesses and promoting the visibility of black style and culture."
The effects of the global pandemic have had a huge effect on small businesses and as a small business ourselves, our priority is to support other small businesses in the UK and we do this by our collaborations with other creatives and manufacturers in the UK. Choosing to support small and independent businesses is an act of respect towards what the business stands for. They are run by individuals and not boards, they are the essence of a community and contribute to the growth and expansion of a city.
Caroline has collaborated with some amazing designers and artists to produce her work and is thankful for trusting her with their creativity, designs and skills. These include:
- Jewellery artist Anita Quansah - https://anitaquansahlondon.com/
- Jewellery artist Moyo by Bibi - https://instagram.com/moyobybibi?igshid=1vbqz73rg3596
- Hat master Maxhatter - https://instagram.com/max_a_hatter?igshid=1f3c5dyrl33x6
- King of photography Emmanuel Oyeleke - https://instagram.com/emmanueloyeleke?igshid=e9liof6fn1sy
- Models Ajara Leigh and Uju Marsha