Last Sunday afternoon, my friends and I were enjoying the Sheep Meadow in Central Park, which feels like a lush hamlet and draws New Yorkers for picnics, a vacation from the traffic, and views of the serene sky underneath the evergreen trees. And when the conversation turned to upcoming holidays and shopping, I shared a lovely conversation I had not long ago with a dynamic young and up-and-coming fashion designer entrepreneur. Her name is Ms. Jade Nwachukwu, and her women’s resort wear brand called Aforieke launches this month.
What is your design style?
Aforieke is a sustainable West African-Caribbean-inspired women’s resort wear brand. My garments are known for vibrant colors as rich as each culture’s history. The fabrics, with distinctive prints, are so soft that even when fully clothed, you will feel naked. My design vision is creating timeless staples that can be paired with unique pieces for any woman to have in her luggage for her next adventure.
Did you attend a fashion school in the United States?
I studied fashion design and business at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).
Who was instrumental in your desire to have a career in the fashion industry?
When I was six years old, I watched my mom sew my clothes, then I would try to hand-stitch clothes for my dolls. From there, I styled my friends’ outfits and did some modeling myself, which led me to design.
My parents initially were not the most accepting of my starting a career in fashion. However, they became most instrumental in guiding me in this direction once they noticed my commitment to fashion.
As a working Mom and an entrepreneur, what challenges you have encountered?
Balance is my biggest challenge, ensuring I dedicate the time to my two B’s—my baby girl and my business. I try my best daily to ensure quality time with my daughter, but I also give 100% of my effort toward my business as an emerging designer. There are days when I am sewing, and my daughter is behind me in her playpen, throwing toys at me until she gets my attention. That’s a regular occurrence. Even if I don’t stop immediately, I stop, when possible, to spend time with my daughter. Then when she’s preoccupied or sleeping, I return to work.
Do you have any dinner tips for working Moms?
My main tip is to plan and prep early!
What are your favorite meals?
I love eating everything, but my favorite meals are traditional West African food. I love kpekple with palm nut soup from Ghana and pepper soup from Nigeria. Both are special meals I do not get the chance to have often, so I savor every bite when I do.
What is your vision for your company?
My vision for Aforieke is to eventually branch out to other styles outside of women’s clothing and strive to accommodate all kinds of people. Everyone could use a vacation.
What is Next for Your Resort Wear Brand?
My Aforieke Brand Launch and Presentation is on May 11 at 3:00 PM at 494 Broadway, New York, NY 10012. Attendees can RSVP at https://aforiekelaunchandpres.rsvpify.com. They can also follow us at Instagram@aforiekeresortwear. Inspired by Ms. Jade Nwachukwu’s determination to be a great entrepreneur and a great mom, I wish Happy Mother’s Day to moms everywhere.