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KENZO capture Nigerian culture for their SS17 Campaign

The young Igbo community serve as the perfect muses for the French label

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French luxury brand KENZO have always been known for their unique and outlandish, occasionally endearing collections in the name of fashion, so it’s a no brainer that they’ve teamed up with the likes of film director Akinola Davies Jr, photographer Ruth Ossai and stylist Ibrahim Kamara to help them conceive their SS 2017 campaign.

Focused on the young Igbo community in the Nsukka population of southern Nigeria, the duo behind KENZO’s direction, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, aim to explore the notions of ‘ceremony’ and ‘adulthood’ through traditional rituals combined with exuberant colours and personality in motion and imagery. Respectively, this campaign’s focal point will be based around the visual offerings of the brand, as well as celebrating beauty and multiculturalism in the industry through the Igbo community.

Entitled Gidi gidi bu ugwu eze, an Igbo proverb meaning “unity is strength”, the muses featured in the campaign project come from Igbo/Yorkshire native photographer Ossai’s home, and explores KENZO’s collection theme of “a competition created by a community dedicated to its own growth”. Dressed in pageant sashes, glowing with smiles and very smartly dressed in the brand’s SS17 collection, the campaign will showcase individuals telling their own stories and the understanding of beauty within one’s own community with encapsulating energy and pride.

While the campaign is a part of KENZO’s folio series, which are quarterly publications devoted to showcasing KENZO looks through film and photography, for Davies, the opportunity to work with one of the biggest houses in the industry, a well as beloved photographer Ruth, means showcasing the diversity of the industry, as it’s “important to see black women lead the way on documenting our cultures and communities.”

Gidi gidi bu ugwu eze will be on display at KENZO’s flagship store in London and be available for viewing online starting Thursday April 27, but for now, enjoy some of the pre-released images.

  • Words: Chau Nguyen

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