Nigerian Designer Ivy Ekong Uses Her Influence to Encourage Diversity in the Fashion Industry (Q & A)
The fashion industry is evolving. POC are being represented more in popular magazines like Essence, Marie Claire, and Vogue. We’re seeing more and more black designers popping up on the runway each year. Society is embracing concepts like diversity and inclusion in an attempt to change the narrative that euro centricity is the standard of beauty. The truth is that people of color have always and will continue to influence the way we live, look, dress, talk, act, etc. Our dominance in the culture isn’t something that is overlooked anymore and we love to see it! But this is only the beginning. There’s plenty of work that needs to be done as a collective but I think we’re headed in the right direction. In today’s blog post we’re chatting with Ivy Ekong, the Founder and Creative Director of Ivy Ekong Fashion, to get her perspective on what it was like growing up in Nigeria, moving to the UK to pursue a career in fashion, and becoming the successful entrepreneur she is today.
B: It’s devastating to see what’s been happening in Nigeria. What were your thoughts when you first saw the hashtag #EndSARS?
Ivy: Yes, it’s very devastating. When I first saw the hashtag my first thought was “yes it’s about time”. Police brutality and corruption has gone on for too long in Nigeria. I’m so glad to see that the young people of my country have taken it upon themselves to stand up and create a new Nigeria. If we can hold our government accountable for its inhuman actions and lack of empathy to its citizens, then I think that will be a great start. The #ENDSARS movement is just the tip of the iceberg to the years of deprivation, corruption, and all Nigerians have had to endure in the hands of a government that gives so little yet expect so much from its citizens.
B: Can you give us some background on what it was for you growing up? How do you feel about the youth rising and protesting against police brutality?
Ivy: I grew up in Edo state Nigeria. Edo state has its challenges and most times it is due to bad governance and lack of empathy from the government to its people. I haven’t experienced any police brutality while growing up, but I do know a lot of people who have. The numbers are overwhelming. Growing up, I will say my parents did all they could to shield us from the reality of the true nature of the country.