Kenneth Ize has a new look. The Nigerian designer wears an afro these days and also said he dresses differently.
That desire for change filtered into his fall collection, which was designed in New York, where he spent the holidays with his stylist Ib Kamara scouting for thrift stores. The result carried a whiff of ’70s movies like “Taxi Driver” or “Midnight Cowboy,” or what the designer called the city’s “dark, dull” energy.
Ize said he asked himself, “What do I really like about this job? How do I get around for the next 10, 20 years, doing what I love so much? And it’s really about celebrating how you find things in fashion, and how you travel, and the power of clothes.
Ize was also thinking about how Western countries are shipping bales of unwanted clothes to the African continent and how they could start solving the problem at home. His solution? Incorporate recycled clothing into its collection.
This season, her signature plaid fabric has been spliced with an electric blue cardigan and encrusted with leaf-shaped patches. A workwear-style jacket with large front pockets came in an array of lilac and gray stripes, and was paired with purple velvet flares.
The vintage jeans were printed at the crotch or bottom with a white Ouroboros, a circular symbol of a serpent or dragon eating its own tail, which the designer first introduced in fall 2021. jeans came with a cropped caramel corduroy jacket and black leather HotPants zipper with an ivory fringed shirt.
While some of the outfits had a shabby chic flair – think a beige cricket sweater and beat up jeans – the overall effect was uneven. Unlike a designer like Marine Serre, who disassembles and reassembles discarded objects into original designs, Ize seems to have slightly modified her vintage finds.
The intention to work with recycled clothing was commendable. Now he just has to find a way to make them his own.