With His Label on Pause, Designer Kenneth Ize Plots His Next Move – WWD

Paris — Kenneth Ize has put his label on hold as he plans his next move after parting ways with an investor last summer.

The Nigerian designer revealed he was taking a break in a short Instagram post on July 23rd, and was a no-show at Paris Fashion Week this fall.

In his first interview on the subject, Ize told WWD that he will no longer work with Roberta Annan, founder and managing partner of the Impact Fund for Creatives in Africa (IFFAC), and will resume next year on his own terms. said he hopes After initially struggling to digest his setbacks, he said he felt energized and ready to bring new ideas to the table.

Raised in Austria and educated in fashion, Ais is re-introduced to his culture and spirituality, spending time in Lagos, Nigeria, learning about the Orisha deities of the Ifa religion practiced in the Yoruba community.

“It’s like stepping into a whole other space, and it feels unrushed. You can start when you want to start, finish when you want to, and get a taste of what it’s all about.” I am very grateful to have been able to do this,” said the designer, who has followed a whirlwind trajectory since reaching the semi-finals and was awarded the LVMH Prize for Young Designers in 2019.

“The whole process of consulting the gods is literally like a celebration. I think it means a lot to me to be able to reach that point in my life now that I’m 32,” he added. “I’m feeling good. I’m really enjoying my break.”

While he’s made headlines thanks to the support of influential industry insiders like Naomi Campbell and his collaboration with the Karl Lagerfeld brand in 2021, his business has grown to include UPS’s signature handwoven fabrics. He said he was held back by a series of setbacks, including losing two shipments. The fabrics he used for many of his designs and his partner in Italy who failed to pay for the goods sold.

Kenneth Ize RTW Spring 2022 behind the scenes.

Kuba Dabrowski/WWD

“I was out of luck,” he lamented, saying he would pour his personal savings into the brand’s fabric production facility in Nigeria to keep it going. “There was a problem,” Ize said.

“We just structure and organize the company, so we have a lot of work to do at this level. I think IFFAC was probably overwhelmed. And I have investors, but I can’t generate them and I can’t make more money into my business,” he said.

“We have to take a step back,” he continued. “The plan is to come back next year.

A spokesperson for IFFAC confirmed that it is no longer working with Ize.

“Unfortunately, the relationship between IFFAC and Kenneth Ize fell apart after a €520,000 investment due to irreconcilable financial differences. have agreed to enter into the arbitration process under the auspices of the Company, which is still ongoing.

“In the meantime, IFFAC wishes Kenneth success in his future endeavors and is confident in his creative abilities,” the spokesperson added.

Ize said she’s staying away from social media while she resets. “I don’t watch fashion. said while

While planning his next move, he’s been working on a capsule collection of vintage pieces customized with the brand’s signature, such as ouroboros, a circular symbol depicting a serpent eating its own tail and a dragon.2022 Ize’s final runway collection for fall mixed vintage finds with his trademark plaid fabric.

He founded the Kenneth Ize NGO, a fundraising vehicle, to fund local production units and training facilities.

“Hopefully we’ll start raising money by February and see what happens. I’m still opening the door for investors to come,” he said. “Brands aren’t going anywhere, but let’s bring them back to you all feeling refreshed.”

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