By Christy Anyanwu

Chukwuemeka Anthony, founder of the eco-friendly fashion brand, Urban Fitters, opens up on his background, inspiration, and plans for the future.

What initially sparked your passion for fashion design, and how has that passion evolved over the years?
Fashion for me has always been innate. It started when I was a kid. I was very particular about how I looked and what I wore to certain places. As I transitioned in age, I realised it was what I wanted to do. I had won awards for being the best dressed twice in a row as an undergraduate, and my mates were beginning to seek my counsel on what to wear or not. I registered myself into a fashion institution, invested in the basic equipment, and the rest is history. It excites me to know I am doing what I love doing.

Can you share a particularly memorable moment or experience in your career that has significantly influenced your design philosophy?
It must be when I wanted to register my company. I was at a crossroads about what name to choose and how to align it with my brand image. I settled for Urban Fitters because of my desire to make clothes that fit elegantly and stay relevant in time. I knew I wanted to make products that set urban trends and change the stereotype of the cut-and-sew type of fashion. I have streamlined my brand goals and objectives to fit that philosophy and it has been a thrilling experience.

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What aspect of your personal background or cultural heritage do you often draw upon in your designs, and how does it manifest in your collections?
I think it is the name. It is a man’s first source of identity and the oldest form of cultural heritage. Therefore, when I am designing for a client, I ponder on their name and let my mind wander as to what the reason is that they were given that name. I then proceed to create a sketch that bonds with wherever my imagination leads me. For collections, I derive inspiration from happenings, nature, colours, and seasons. There are lots of things to inspire a designer; we must only seek to open ourselves to them. For instance, I have opened myself to the inspirations that allow me to create eco-friendly products, and the ideas have been limitless.

How do you see your style evolving as you continue to grow and develop as a designer?
I think it is a question of times and seasons. I think I will evolve based on adaptability. Times will change, fashion demands will evolve, and new trends will emerge; I plan to always adapt and seek ways to get ahead. That’s why I chose the name Urban Fitters.

What drives you to continue pushing the boundaries of fashion, and what legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
What drives me is the desire to create something different. That way I am only focused on becoming a better version of myself without comparing my art and style to that of others. I hope to build a legacy as the biggest eco-friendly fashion company in Africa.