17-year-old Kiibati Segun-Adebowale is the founder and creative director of Ankafrika, an Afro-centric brand for youths and kids. Currently studying fashion in Ryerson University, Toronto, Ontario, she is also the Co-Founder of Alheri. Kiibati is not only a fashion enthusiast, her high school experience was filled with lots of medals from sports and academic laurels. In an interview with the The Eagle Online, Kiibati shares her experience as a young fashion entrepreneur and other interests
What stirred your Interest in fashion?
I have always loved fashion. For me it’s more inborn than being stirred up. I love how fashion makes me feel. I love that I can channel my personality through a dress, it has just always been exciting for me.
At 17, do you think you can compete in the Nigerian fashion industry?
I believe I can compete in the Nigerian fashion industry 100 per cent. I have no single atom of doubt in me and the impact I can make in the industry. The passion, entrepreneurial abilities and most importantly, the voice of the Holy Spirit makes me believe I can.
What inspired the name Ankafrika?
I truly wanted to encapsulate the main purpose of my brand in the name. Ankafrika to me means “Celebration of culture”.
Do you have plans of going into adult fashion anytime soon since that’s where the money is?
I definitely know that as I grow in age, I will be open to expanding because I would want to design and make clothes for my age group also. But I would be sticking with the sole purpose of the brand which is to encourage youths and kids to embrace their culture.
Tell us the idea behind Abeke Collection, which is to be released on January 1?
The journey of this collection started during the period of the #Black Lives movement. The first collection, although I loved it, I got distracted. So, for this collection I want to draw myself back to my main purpose. I went back to my roots as a Yoruba lady, so I dedicated the collection to the culture. I was very intentional with this collection, which is why I wanted every material sourced from the authentic location; Abeokuta. However, due to the pandemic, I was not able to visit Abeokuta personally, but I got in contact with a lady who has been in the business for years and from there we kicked off.
Which persons do you admire in the Nigerian fashion industry?
There are so many amazing and talented Nigerians in the fashion industry and they are all so inspiring. But I admire Dumebi Iyamah, because she has such a calm and amazing personality. She also has an impeccable work ethics and stays grounded in her faith and in her vision for her brand.
What is your staff strength?
It’s an incredibly small but passionate team. I handle the creative directing, designing, social media etc and the tailor handles the execution. I also get assistance from my friends and family.
What other skills do you possess aside fashion?
I am actually very good in painting. AIso, I am a very good cook. I am also really creative with graphics and videos.
Where do you see your brand in five years?
I love to dream big. I see my brand worldwide. I see my brand encouraging the younger generation to appreciate their culture. I also see my brand sponsoring initiatives to assist young and creative people who don’t have the opportunity l had as regards finances and support.
What is your state of origin?
I am from Osun State.