Everything can change in a heartbeat
This is not anything novel in the world of fashion and, indeed, staying at the forefront of trends and movements often distinguishes the relevant from yesterday’s news.
When it comes to staying on the bleeding edge of everything that is facing the industry and the world at large, Chuks Collins doesn’t back down and doesn’t compromise on his values.
Championing women and sustainability, Chuks Collins is also pioneering a new world of ethical fashion, plans for an upcoming book release this year and more runway shows.
Though the COVID-19 pandemic is bringing much of the world to a standstill, it need not press pause on thinking about the future of the art form and the broader industry.
Based in New York City, Chuks Collins knows first hand how important it is to address the problems that face the world and society today.
And he remains as undaunted now as he was when he started in Lagos, Nigeria, where his story begins and the place that inspired within him a deep love in his heart for fashion and style.
The Beginning of a Dream
Chuks Collins discovered his life’s calling while trying his best to fit within the expectations of society.
Graduating from university with a degree in accounting, Collins couldn’t deny his love for fashion and design and was drawn to it. His native Africa, its history, and culture inspires both his work and his outlook on life.
This is evident in Chuks Collins’ collections as the casual viewer can readily notice a strong personal influence running throughout.
Using the strength and natural beauty of Africa and its people, Collins weaves complex narratives into tapestry and his collections embody this interwoven spirit.
Starting with a collection of 70 pieces for the Miss Intercontinental Pageant in Germany over 8 years ago, Collins then moved to center stage at a host of US-based venues after a second lease to life from a deadly kidney disease.
Garnering attention on the runways of New York City, London, Philadelphia, Atlanta, the state of New Jersey, and even in his home of Nigeria, Collins bounded onto the scene and translated this success into more requests for his work including for Hollywood. But reaching for the stars is not without its own challenges.
Though he had the requisite passion for fashion and design, he discovered that he didn’t necessarily have the skills necessary to transform this dream into a reality.
This prompted him to enroll at the Art Institute of New York to not only give him the background he needed but also to broaden his world outlook.
After all, prior to this, he had never considered a career in fashion and, indeed, such a life path is often considered unthinkable for an African man.
Realizing that there are others out there just like him, Collins decided to give back by founding a non-profit organization called Fashion Vie.
This organization brings awareness to various social issues and the challenges that young designers face when getting started.
As an African man, Collins is all too familiar with the difficulty in overcoming certain perceptions and even personal misconceptions when it comes to working in fashion and design.
The bedrock of this movement and of his passion for this work is inclusivity, acceptance, and mutual understanding between people.
Sustainability in Fashion
One of Chuks Collins’ greatest passions is that of sustainability and Diversity in fashion.
While this isn’t a recent trend, it is certainly one that will become more important in the coming months and years.
Why is that?
Events in the broader world have people not only rethinking how they do business, but also how they live their lives.
Making fashion work for the community and the environment is part of this movement. Beyond that, there are a myriad of environmental concerns as well.
The fashion industry is one of the world’s largest and thus contributes heavily to carbon pollution and resource usage.
Collins believes that, through a culture of sustainability and environmental awareness, the industry will not only help ameliorate that problem but also lead the way towards a better future.
His hope is to harmonize the aims and aspirations of the fashion world with the needs of sustainability and environmental protection.
One recent move towards realizing this goal was his withdrawal from the last New York Fashion Week.
Collins’ move received broad-based support in the community and helped solidify his position as being not only a man of principle but of action as well.
Inclusivity, Acceptance, and a Better World
In recognition of some of the challenges he has face himself, Collins honored women and their role in society on International Women’s Day, March 8th.
As part of his drive to build a world of acceptance he partnered with Wonder Woman Tech to create a Fall/Winter 19/20 collection that was recycled, sustainable and tailored to women of all sizes, colors, and races.
The collection highlighted women of every demographic and celebrated their inherent strength, beauty, and resolve. The garments featured ruffles, vegan leather, tulle pleated skirts, shorts, clean cuts, and arrived in a myriad of bold, bright colors.
Befitting its New York City venue, the garments he completed were elegant, chic, sophisticated, and modern.
In many ways, Collins demonstrated the natural synergy between fashion and the environment with his collection that emphasized universal appeal and broad application.
The Power of the Individual
Individual expression and personality are just two of the many facets that Chuks Collins hopes to embody with his collections and clothing. Seeing fashion as an inherent mode of expression, Collins’ collections tap into the needs of a fashion audience starved for authenticity and innovative work.
Noting that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, Collins’ collections both speak to modernity and question its ethics.
Championing the age of the niche and the era of the individual, Chuks Collins’ fashion is as much about capturing a certain moment in time as they are about giving women something empowering to wear.
As the new era of sustainable and ethical fashion takes shape, Collins and his team hope to be at the forefront of design and responsible social actions.