This week’s Friday Column is on Zainab Ashadu, the Creative Director of Zashadu; a sustainable accessories luxury brand that specialises in hand-crated leather pieces. Zashadu has quite thoroughly polarised the “really cool Nigerian girl” market, with a long cue of die-hard Zashadu fans. Such is the power of Zashadu’s craftsmanship, deliberate branding and successful business; consistently churning out lovely addictive handmade leather accessories to her wholly recipient consumers.
In today’s insightful read, Zainab Ashadu gives us an insight on her creative process and design ethos.
A definite must read!
Ezinne Chinkata:What is the underlying Ethos behind the Zashadu brand?
Zainab Ashadu:Achieving a balance of beauty, functionality and simplicity, reviving and keeping alive old age West African leather working traditions.
Ezinne Chinkata:How do you get inspired for your collections?
Zainab Ashadu: I get inspired through literature, art, film, beauty and nature. I also get inspired by people walking on the streets, by their individuality and uniqueness. I love people that fashion considers as having ‘bad taste’, I’m more intrigued by that expression of style, than perfectly-put-togetherness.
Ezinne Chinkata: Do you design with a global perspective or do you make a more concerted effort to infuse and take into consideration the African culture and traditions?
Zainab Ashadu: I design only to please myself.
E.C: In what way has motherhood impacted on your artistic direction?
Z.A: It’s made me even more playful, experimental and relaxed.
E.C:Bag manufacturing in Nigeria is a far cry from the modern equipment and machinery available in the western world. Does this hinder some of your more creative/complicated designs?
Z.A:Actually it does the opposite, theres something about working within constraints that fires up the imagination much more. Also I live for problem solving, so for now I’m not complaining too loudly.
E.C: What is your favorite part of the creative journey of creating a hand bag?
Z.A:Physically constructing it and bringing it to life. Seeing and touching something that existed only in my imagination releases a rush of endorphins into the body.
E.C:What Is the one advantage of residing in Nigeria as a creative?
Z.A: If you can make it here, you can make it even in Mars.
E.C:How do you stay consistent among life’s ever changing ebb’s and flows?
Z.A: I stay true to myself and focus on the bigger picture. My purpose in life is to reflect and share the beauty of the Almighty, to inspire and serve others.
E.C:Who is your all time bag designer crush?
Z.A:Judith Leiber, I love her no nonsense, problem solving approach, her tough background and hard working ethos. I also love that her husband was her number one champion and supporter.
E.C:How would you describe your personal style?
Z.A:Classic with a hint of tack.
E.C: What colour of handbag would we never see on a Zashadu stand?
Z.A:You will see every colour that exists; colour is life.
E.C:What is the most rewarding experience thus far in your entrepreneurial journey?
Z.A:Living my authentic life, creating employment and adding to the changing perception of my country.
E.C:One thing you wish you knew before you started off?
Z.A:That I am more powerful than I realise, and that life is a journey.
E.C: Any new projects to share with us?
Z.A:Our new collection Rhyme and Rhythm is inspired by the natural rhythm and the ever evolving language of the city of Lagos
E.C:Any famous parting words?
Z.A:Life is for living, create your own happiness.
Image Credits: Instagram: @zashadu Website: https://zashadu.com/home/