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Q & A with notable SA fashion designer, Akedo Eleni Labrou

“The aim of fashion is to create something that people want to purchase for a practical reason.”


Akedo Eleni Labrou

What is your philosophy about the ART of fashion?

I believe that fashion can be used as an art medium but the core of fashion cannot be considered art. Fashion is business and the longer I am in the industry I learn that. The aim of fashion is to create something that people want to purchase for a practical reason. Statements can be made through fashion and can possess the strength of art but ultimately fashion is not art.

Does your work reflect your fashion taste? Can you describe your style? 

Strangely enough I think it doesn’t actually reflect it. I think after thinking about colours, fabrics and silhouettes all day I feel overwhelmed with what I should wear and always end up wearing black. I see an all-black outfit as a neutral mind space and it makes me calm.

What is your favourite part about being a fashion designer?

That every day is a surprise and that Nothing ever goes according to plan. It’s a complete roller coaster ride which in the beginning was hard to deal with but I have grown to love and accept that aspect of being a designer.

What was your inspiration for this season of MBFWJ?

The AW16 collection is focused solely on creating beautiful, classic silhouettes which are aimed at enhancing the female body. Print is definitely a feature in this collection. Inspired by traditional African masks, I stylised and hand drew the print to create a contemporary look. Layers have played a huge part in the collection as well as the juxtaposition of different textures and colours.

What was the most challenging part about designing for MBFWJ?

I viewed this collection as a very important milestone in my career as I haven’t designed for quite a while as I was busy with opening my store. Putting others’ opinions aside and focusing on what I truly believed was the right direction was probably the most challenging aspect.

How did you select the fabrics you used? 

I focused on the season and the type of woman who would wear the garment and where she would wear it to.

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How do you stay up to date with fashion?

I constantly research current trends and new influences.

What are your plans for the future?

I would like to hold exclusive events where women can purchase the latest AKEDO items.


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