Eku Edewor is FAB in more ways than one! Fashionista, TV Presenter, Actress and off course a FAB Awardee! Vogue Italia’s Shomara Roosblad recently caught up with the awesome lady and had the chat published on their website. See interview below:
“Eku Edewor can be described as a woman who isn’t afraid to dress up. It is an attitude towards style that is embedded in her ever since childhood. She spent her youth between Nigeria and England. Surrounded by family members who had a great fashion eye and knew the importance of translating ones personality into dressing. Learn more about the face of African entertainment and her fashion sense while she reminisces about fashion memories, talks personal style and the influence of her roots.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What role did fashion play in your childhood?
I grew up in two places, in Nigeria and the UK. I had an interesting childhood, where I experienced a lot of culture as I have parents that like to travel. I have spent Christmases in Eku in Delta State, the village my family is from in Nigeria and summers in Europe, America and other African countries. Growing up I experienced the world through my parents’ eyes so I was privy to a lot of fantastic art, museums, restaurants and shopping. I may have not appreciated it then, but it has definitely shaped my relationship with clothes. I was in Lagos until I was thirteen then I moved to Cranbrook, Kent where I went boarding at Benenden School.
My mother, Juliana Edewor, has always been incredibly stylish and her expression of fashion has always been individual and at the same time incredibly current, so I think an appreciation of style when dressing was passed down to my twin sister Kessiana and I. My parents split when I was young and both remarried. My late stepfather, Peter Thomas, was a superbly dressed man, he really informed the importance of quality in ones clothing, quality over trends and quantity. My Father, Hugh Thorley, has an innate elegance when it comes to dressing and he taught me that confidence adds so much more to a garment.
What is your earliest fashion memory?
Well apart from watching Style with Elsa Klenchs on CNN with my mother for as far back as I can remember, I would say my earliest fashion memory was when I was twelve years old. This is my earliest memory of making a decision about what I was wearing in order to make a fashion statement.
I was at Grange Secondary School in Nigeria and I remember my preppy style was considered incredibly ‘English’ and far too proper for secondary school children at Grange. And at the time ‘Urban Style’ and ‘Ghetto Fab’ was having a real moment, guys wore Timberlands and baggy pants and XL T-shirts and girls wore extra mini skirts and mini tube tops and were all relaxing their hair. I was never going to wear a super mini and a tube top, as my parents would have freaked, so my twin and I went to Wrangler in Ikeja with my mum. My twin Kessy bought cute carpenter jeans if I can remember kind of baggy and I got a grey satiny dungarees and we both had these very cute white sleeveless cotton tees slightly cropped with a little hood, I wrapped the dungaree straps round my waist so I could wear them low rise and I believe we wore them with platform trainers. Then we straighten our hair and styled it with a centre parting, so it came down to the middle of our backs. We basically looked like mini Aaliyahs and I remember we stopped traffic. We had everybody telling us we ‘did good’ and of course we loved it. We felt like little celebrities.
How would you describe the Nigerian fashion culture today?
I must say that we Nigerian women love to express ourselves, we love bold colors and bright patterns, we are magpies. We love sparkly garments, sparkly accessories and form-fitting shapes. So, I can see how it is hard to introduce anything other than that into our culture, we are incredibly flashy and showy, that is just who we are. But, I will say as fashion grows here as an industry I am observing that our approach to dressing is evolving. Nigerians have swag and even if we aren’t the fashion capital of the world, we most certainly believe we are! And that’s what I love about the fashion culture here, we are proud people, we can dress or overdress past you, it may not always be right but we are all dressing up.
Unfortunately, it sometimes also results in, what I believe is a lack of imagination to how people dress as a whole. I feel that global trends are picked up very quick and then ultimately overdone. I think there is a sense of ‘mine is better than yours’, which points more to owning items and wearing trends rather than making any personal long standing style decisions with what one has. I’m not saying that to be stylish one must always make outlandish style choices or dress like Coco Chanel, but style evolves, it is something you develop for yourself and if you are preoccupied with owning next seasons bag you will not understand how to wear half of what you invest in or to be inspired by. Few people dress with an individuality that is organic or speaks of any personal choice.
Is there anything typically Nigerian about the way you dress or your attitude towards dressing?
I love colors and patterns and I must say I love to stand out. When I’m dressing up I don’t hold back and I’m not intimidated by the prospect that others may not like what I’m wearing. I love a bit of ‘shine shine’ from time to time, so yes I would say that Nigeria informs my style at times. Generally I wear statement pieces and dress down the other elements if I’m being casual, but if I am dressing up, I’m dressed to impress.
Dressing up is such a part of culture here, for traditional weddings, funerals any occasion you can think of really, that I find there is an excitement and freedom to expressing yourself because you are in good company always. You are more likely to be under-dressed than over dressed.
How would you describe your personal style in general?
It changes, ultimately I would say that I dress with an element of surprise. Although I generally love classic colors and styles I always like to have an element to my dressing that is different. I like to find new relationships between different clothing items that one ordinarily wouldn’t wear. It is why I’m always drawn to people who are able to interpret couture, vintage or off-the-wall pieces into everyday style. When I’m dressing I like to have a direction, vamp, Parisian inspired, Park Avenue princess, desert warrior etc, etc. I dress with a wild imagination or mood and hope that my wardrobe feeds my imagination otherwise I go looking for it for the missing element and sometimes that missing element can be a lipstick shade. Style is fun, it is individual expression.
Who is your style icon?
I have several. My mother is definitely included on that list. Apart from her I would say Bianca Jagger, because there is an authority to the way she dressed that meant she will forever be a trendsetter and she dressed for herself. You can tell she enjoyed expressing herself. I love Audrey Hepburn-the ultimate classic dresser for me, yet she was also so unique with her funny little haircut and the ease with which she wore extraordinary gowns as if she was born in one.
When was the first time you wore high heels?
I can’t remember the first time, but the first pair of heels I wore that I remember feeling so fashionable in were a pair of cream Dior pointy ankle strap heels that I wore with a chiffon green Marc Jacobs mini dress to my brothers 6th form graduation. I felt so grown up! I was seventeen and I knew I was wearing a Carrie worthy outfit.
What item in your wardrobe do you love most?
My Dsquared leather jacket. I got it when I was seventeen and I think it was on sale, so I saved up and also got a loan from my mum. I went to the shop everyday just to make sure no one bought it, no one did because it was such a small size, but I still got it. The leather has stretched a bit and has gotten soft so it still fits, but I treasure it. In fact, I’m going to try it on now since I’m talking about it.
What is your favorite fashion decade?
Late 90s, early 2000s. I just felt individual style was a lot more experimental and everything wasn’t so uniform. I liked all the odd shapes and boxy suits and that people made clothes work for them as opposed to having to wear something ‘IT’ to be ‘IT’.
What is your style tip to other women?
Know your shape, dress for it. Some legs don’t deserve mini skirts. My arms for example are really skinny and I have broad shoulders, I’m not trying to wear extra shoulder pads.”
Do you have any fashion dreams?
To attend the Costume Institute Gala.”
- See more at: http://www.vogue.it/en/vogue-black/the-black-blog/2013/10/eku-edewor#ad-image308063