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Nov 19, 2010

Artist Institute Designer Profile - Okezikam Nzube Ebigbo

Nigerian native, Okezikam Nzube Ebigbo (aka Okee) is in the process of launching his clothing company, Meaben, Inc. A firm believer that “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure,” Okee’s avant-garde approach to design breathes new life into fashion. 

Where can people purchase your designs?

My clothing company called Meaben, Inc. is in working progress and will soon be in stores with an urban active wear/kawaii casual style. Both lines will have prints on hoodies and prints on T-shirts. These are big markets in America.

How did you get started as a designer?

I began designing when I was young and stopped after the death of my older brother at the age of 17. I tried other careers and ended up back in fashion. This made me realize that designing is a blessed gift from Jehovah. Fashion design is my calling. It is my way of expressing life, my desire, and my all in all.

Tell us about your style and where you draw your influence from?

My style is about making something that will always be remembered for years to come, such as experimentation with papers, plastics, rocks, woods, paints, metals, blinds, toiletries, glass, and other fun and abstract things that are beautiful. Extreme avant-garde is my focus. I am a scientist who is always creating new inventions in the lab. I would like to constantly make new trends for the future of fashion.

What has being a designer taught you?

As a designer, I have multiple messages. I am conveying that nothing is impossible, be strong in experimenting, “Just Be” in life, and when things do not work out always remember that “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”

What is on your inspiration board?

I am usually inspired by the natural colors of the earth from cultural and spiritual influences, graffiti, surrealism, silk screening prints, fashion magazines, pop art, movies, advertising, and anything my family and friends influence me with.

What was the inspiration for this collection?

My inspiration was influenced from every day experiences of walking in men’s expensive leather dress shoes. I got inspired from the different gradients of colors and textures and began creatively naming each one by new names: red (Newly Skinned), blue (Blue Blood), brown (Mud Stained), black (Dragon Hide), purple (Bruise), white (Angel Skin), and yellow (Fresh Flesh). The textures of the shoes came from animals such as Peacocks, Crocodiles, Snakes, Leopards, Buffalo, Sheep, Cows, Goats, Zebras, and Tiger imitations.

Can you tell me a bit about the fabrics you used?

The reason why I decided to use leather shoes this way and not fabrics is because I wanted to experiment. I wanted to show the world the elegant side of leather from shoes. I thought that people would always have the notion that leather from shoes are only to be worn on the feet, not on the contour of the body. My whole concept was to show that leather shoes are not only worn for the feet, but can also be worn comfortably with styles that look bizarre - these leathers make my models feel and look like a million bucks. To all who ask me, “Why were shoes used for the replacement of the concept of soft fabrics?” I would say because, “I am the yards of shoes man. I sell yards of shoes and buy yards of shoes” with intentions to create something that is everlasting. You have to find humor in hard work.

Who are your style icons?

My ultimate goals plus style icons are to constantly push the limits of design and be a well known designer/brand like the late Alexander McQueen, Maison Martin Margiela, John Galliano, Elie Saab, Stella McCartney, Coco Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Issey Miyake, etc….

What’s the one article of clothing or accessory that you think every girl or guy should have in their closet?

I strongly believe that every girl and guy should have in their closets some expensive leather dress shoes.

What do you think the next fashion trend will be?

I strongly believe the next fashion trend will involve the use of the beautiful, funkadelic colors of the rainbow/sea animals and of the natural colors of the earth on fabrics.

How do you feel art, fashion, and music influence each other?

I am an artist infinitely creating through my every day life experiences as I paint/listen to music and sketch new concepts in fashion. These three [elements] fuse constantly with each other as if they had birthed one another. They all bring out the essence of each other when they are all together in one room, such as a show room and a fashion show. Check out my web sites for more fashion and art at http://www.theartofclothes.carbonmade.com/ and http://www.oneice.carbonmade.com/.

Interview by Nikki Neil, Photos courtesy of Art Institute

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