I was raised on the love, culture, sights and smells of the Nigeria. My parents were immigrants from Africa and from a young age my three sisters and I were engulfed in a “little Africa”, where there were always sand and gasoline smelling guests and a pot of Egusi soup brewing on the stove.
The bright colored wax prints, rich language, the delicious food,fantastic tales,goat meat, stockfish, raffia trinkets, the scent of fine perfumes, all peppered my earliest memories. From the time we entered the world, to the time we grew to appreciate the journey and hard work our parents embarked on that afforded us our privileged suburban life in the United States, there have been generations of between our walls of hope assimilation, appreciation and adaptation.
Since I was a kid the southern parts of Nigeria, Ikot Ekpene, known throughout Nigeria as the ’The Raffia City’ in Akwa Ibom state, was a place I traveled frequently to meet family and friends. It’s a special place that is celebrated for its arts, culture, love for people, beauty and craftsmanship.The Raffia palms in Akwa Ibom state line the city's landscape and provide communities with sturdy fibers that have a variety of used in twine, rope, baskets, placemats, hats, shoes, textile. and wine. It weaves a narrative like no other.
Koko Celeste was developed with this in mind as an ode to furthering infrastructure in special places in the world. My years and ties with this part of my origins led me to a juxtaposing a true heritage culture with a modern lifestyle that the masses could appreciate and incorporate into their day to day lives. It’s a no brainer that our accessories and work out gear will look great with whatever you do, the best part about our line though is the vibes. Every piece you buy goes to bettering a life for someone, and creating long lasting infrastructure in local communities. Each season we partner with a different local charity and NGO in Nigeria and give a percentage of our proceeds to provide aid and secure valuable tools to communities, individual scholarships and facilities in need.
Skilled raffia designers in Nigeria handcraft our raffia accessories using generational techniques to make each piece last a lifetime. Our athletic line sources art from local artist corresponding each print with a project. This is is a nod to the way traditional way prints are used in most tribes, to express celebrations and life events. .The line offers local artist in developing regions a chance to showcase their work to the masses. Our warehouse partner in Los Angeles is dedicated to executing our quality goods in a sustainable way and providing an economic transition between two places through a love conscious line.
Koko Celeste is about celebrating the growth of Africa through pieces that have a story and will be cherished for life. I hope you will join me on this journey.
Every piece matters. Everyone matters.