Bobby Kolade always begins his design process with a certain place in mind, sometimes its an office others its a courtyard. Kolade, a german fashion designer, was born in Sudan in 1987 to German-Nigerian parents. The 27 year old grew up in Kampala where he attended a British school. In 2005 he made the move to Germany and that is where he has been since. Kolade completed the fashion design course at The Academy of Arts Berlin in 2013 and won two awards for this graduate collection, Berlin’s “Start Your Fashion Award” and the “New Star Award” in Shenzen, China.
Soon after graduating from The Academy of Arts in Berlin, Kolade launched his own label in 2013 with his business partner Greta Dombrowski. Since starting his own line he has been dedicated to reducing the environmental impact of creating and consuming in the industry. As part of his efforts, 90% of all of his products are locally produced and fabric sourcing is handled with care. Kolade has a strict no leather and no fur policy for his line that he does not stray away from. He even uses a fabric made from the bark of a Ugandan fig tree and chemical free cotton from Ethiopia. Kolade has stated that he hopes to replace leather with bark cloth and develop it enough to become his trademark.
Kolade has a unique approach to fashion and his clothes include color and spontaneity that encourages individuality. He also uses his line as a way to make political statements about the nature of the fashion industry. Kolade even went as far as printing press photos of a collapsed textile factory in Bangladesh on a sweater in an effort to challenge blind consumerism.
Kolade is always looking for ways to stand out and he did just that last fall when he pulled his line from the show calendar for Berlin Fashion Week. Kolade instead chose to show his apparel pieces and installation photos in one-on-one presentations to editors and stylists the Monday before Fashion Week. After all his meetings were complete he opened his collection up to the label’s friends and supporters. This is just another way that Kolade is rebelling against the fashion industry as an establishment.
Kolade is also a strong believer that Africa is the future of fashion. In an interview with Metal Magazine he said “There’s now Nigeria fashion week, Lagos fashion week, West Africa fashion week, Kampala fashion week…You’ve got cotton weavers, production facilities and an industry growing in Ethiopia. Something is happening.” Kolade believes that the only people who can make this revolution happen are the people in Africa themselves, they can not depend on people who have only spent a sort amount of time there they need to lay all the ground work themselves because in reality they are the only ones who know what happens in the different African countries, what people wear and what people buy.
Kolade prides himself on making his line non conformist and for whatever gender likes it. Although he likes producing pieces that fit both men and women he understands the difficulty and accepts that that will not always be a possibility.
Kolade’s ideas and designs are some of the most revolutionary on the market and introduces to the public to a new way of fashion.