London-based designer Enuvie Orere talks us through her innovative and eclectic line, KIWISUMO. With core design aesthetics pulling from a variety of influences, from the Far East to the streets of London, KIWISUMO embraces the art of hybrid design and functional clothing. Keep reading to get to know the designer behind the unique, structural designs.
Please tell us about yourself and Kiwisumo.
My name is Enuvie Orere, 28 years old, and I am the sole owner/director of KIWISUMO. KIWISUMO was established in 2011 as a Limited Company. Its exclusive collection presents a range of subtly distinctive tailoring with an eclectic and unexpected take on basics and formal wear.
Tell us about your recent collection–What was the most exciting thing about creating it?
Designing anything excites me, and my current collection was no different. The main aim of my current collection “Genesis” was to show how irresistible and tenacious East London style is. The most exciting and pivotal part of this collection was creating functionality in oversized proportions and unpredictable designs and detailing.
Was there a piece from your current collection that you’re most proud of? If so, why, and what does it mean to you?
“The Wrap Coat”, this was and is my greatest accomplishment at the moment. It speaks volumes about the designer I want to be and the designer I used to be when I was much younger. I know that statement sounds a little off and puzzling, but it is possible. I have and will always be the designer that sets goals for her label and embeds morals within the fabric of each design, but sometimes we go astray. As for KIWISUMO, written in its DNA is ‘functionality’. I need my clothes to always be functional above all else; if I cannot visualize a working professional wearing it, it is almost impossible for me to design and create it.
I noticed that the looks in your collections tend to have an East Asian influence, with some having more of a warrior vibe. Can you tell us a bit more about the influence of your designs?
I love to look to East Asia for inspiration. It’s rich in culture, tradition, and history (one that’s similar to my African heritage), which was instrumental in drawing me in. However, I am not exclusively inspired by East Asia alone. I am inspired by everything around me and growing up in London opens up my pores for creativity. I was once told by my favorite lecturer at the university that in order to create hybrid designs and ideas we have to become truly “sensitive to our environment, make our skin so raw to the touch that we can feel everything.” Speaking literally, I think she wanted us to heighten our sense of reception. Heightening all your senses to your environment will give you a creative edge and a greater understanding of the world we live in, opening doors to new experiences–The bad and the good.
How did you get your start in designing and what have you learned over the course of being a fashion designer?
My start in designing came by creating individual pieces for clients, and my first job came from my hairdresser. She was so stylish, and she had very expensive taste, so I was shocked at first when she asked me to make a dress for her because I was still a student at university and I did not want to let her down or make a complete fool of myself. Nonetheless, I was humbled and enthusiastic, and in the end, I did a good job because she loved it and I received more customers from her dress. Over the course of being a fashion designer, I have learned that the ‘glitz and glam’ heavily endorsed by media is the wrong fuel to use while chasing your dream or looking for success. What fuels my machine is the positive words of encouragement and appreciation I receive from my customers, clients, friends, and family.
What kind of challenges does breaking into the fashion industry present?
Lack of funds … Haha. Being an independent label is financially difficult and living in London only makes it harder. So if you’re wanting to create your own fashion line, be ready to work from ‘dusk till dawn’.
What’s your fashion philosophy?
Create. That’s it–All I want and will ever want to do is find time to create. There’s a sense of freedom I feel when I let go of all my stress and responsibility and just create things.
Who do you design your clothing for? Who’s your muse?
My sisters are my muses; I design with them in mind.
What is the most challenging part of being a fashion designer?
Yes, I want to only wear what I create; this is my personal mission in life.
What can we expect in 2016 from Kiwisumo?
Hybrid designs and ideas. Expect the unexpected from KIWISUMO.
KIWISUMO provided all the photos for this interview