African wax prints have been trending in the fashion industry for a couple of years now, with Burberry and Dior paying tribute to Ankara, in addition to the likes of Beyonce and Rihanna rocking the print in their videos and photoshoots. I had an opportunity to chat with Adeola Adelakun, the co-founder of Cultureville, an African inspired clothing brand that aims to make modern African fashion even more accessible to everyone. We talked about the ethical side of the business, her favourite pieces from the collection and how the brand has already been featured by Hello Magazine, ITV and Channel 4.
Tell us more about your brand
Cultureville is a fashion brand that specialises in hand-crafted clothing and accessories that feature bold African wax prints in contemporary designs. Our prints are ethically sourced from West Africa, where we are proud to work closely with local tailors, artisans and suppliers. Our production is based in Nigeria and Ghana, led by a female production team. The brand was created by my sister and I with the vision to make modern African fashion more accessible to everyone. With this in mind, we set about putting a modern twist on the traditional African prints we grew up with and made it available worldwide via our website, www.cultureville.co.uk. Cultureville has been featured on Hello Magazine, ITV, Channel 4 and Manchester’s Finest in the last year.
Who is your target customer / audience?
Individuals who love to express themselves through their style and who have an appreciation for connecting with culture and supporting the local economy where our pieces are made i.e. Nigeria and Ghana.
What are your favourite pieces from the collection?
What inspired you to start your own business?
We were inspired to start Cultureville because we love beautiful, bold ankara wax prints and we desired to make them easily accessible for those who’s heritage was African but who had grown up outside Africa. Adeola had been president of the African and Caribbean Society (ACS) at the University of Aberdeen and one of the key issues when having shows at university was the lack of access to clothes that represented our culture. No store existed that was easily accessible and a few years later when we had the resources and the network to create Cultureville, we were excited to fix the problems we had experienced.
Did you both always want to be an entrepreneur?
No! Ronke started her career working as a business analyst in media whilst I was a corporate transactions lawyer working on multinational deals, however our backgrounds provided us with the skills that have proved invaluable in business.
What tips would you give to an aspiring entrepreneur?
Find a problem you are uniquely placed to solve and learn from every experience because in business, you will utilise skills you never imagined you would require. From networking to leadership to logistics, being an entrepreneur requires a wide range of skills and you realise that every experience has the ability to teach you a new lesson.
Who are your role models or mentors?
Michaela Coel is one of our role models. Her work ethic is admirable and she has protected her creativity and ownership whilst representing black culture superbly and shining a light on incredible black creators in her work.
What’s next for you and your business?
African Print Homeware. We want people to be able to have our gorgeous prints in their homes. We are building a collection featuring a range of items to beautify the home with a touch of African culture.
To find out more about Cultureville, please visit their website www.cultureville.co.uk or follow on Instagram @cultureville .