She blogs about all things in African prints and we love her for it. Meet the founder and the gorgeous mind behind African Prints in Fashion Kukua Odoi

Kukua+African+Prints+in+Fashion+Zen+Magazine2Kukua is a Ghanaian-German fashion lover living
and blogging in Brooklyn, NY. Her blog showcases African
designs, trends, and new shopping platforms from
all over the world. (Dressed in Sika Designs)

Zen: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from?
Kukua: My dad is from Ghana while my mum is German. I was born in Germany and lived there for the majority of my life. In 2008 I decided to move to New York and this is where I currently reside.

Zen: What inspired you to start the network African Prints in Fashion?
Kukua: Burberry inspired me! When I first saw their Ankara-inspired collection, it made me think “hold on, there must be African designers using it, why don’t I know any?” I had seen cool designs in the Accra Mall but I hadn’t really done any research so I decided to read-up on designers across the continent and within the diaspora. The more I dug the more I found. I always loved writing so starting a blog was just the next step to share my findings with the world.

Zen: What are your best moments at African Prints in Fashion?
Kukua: When readers write me emails or messages and say “Thank you for inspiring me”, or “thank you for sharing all the beauty and creativity that comes from the African continent”, or like another message I recently got “without you I wouldn’t have discovered Duro Olowu”, those type of feedback makes me so happy.

Zen: What do you love about African prints?
Kukua: I love the versatility, diversity and that they are great highlights and statement pieces.

Zen: Who are some of your favourite designers who fuse prints into their collection?
Kukua: Choosing a favourite designer is a hard one as I like so many and I am always discovering new designers every single day. Just recently, I stumbled over Ameyo. I really like how MaXhosa by Laduma includes culture and heritage in his designs. I just bought my first dress from Jewel by Lisa and I adore the dresses by Iconic Invanity. I am also into small DIY designers that sell on etsy. The list could go on and on.

Kukua+African+Prints+in+Fashion+Zen+Magazine“I am a nighttime and weekend blogger. My full-time job
is director of marketing for a German IT company”
says Kukua. (Dressed in Jewel by Lisa)

Zen: Describe African fashion in 4 words.
Kukua: Diverse, innovative, creative, beautiful.

Zen: You have a network of over 165,000 readers. What’s the most difficult part about being an online media?
Kukua: That you are always on! I know my friends sometimes give me the side eye as I am constantly checking my devices. Everything is so instant and I get a lot of emails and messages. I try my best to answer 99% of them which can be at times a challenge but on the other hand I love the flow of information. I discover things I would never have known without Social Media and I actually met people via social media connections and networking that became friends offline. I love online media and being online. Whenever I am at someone’s house that doesn’t have wireless I get edgy (Laughs).

Zen: What’s the strangest thing a reader has ever sent you?
Kukua: Readers mostly send me images of their outfits and questions. I guess the request I get most is “Hey I want to model for you” or “Do you have a store in xyz city” – so I always have to clarify that I blog about fashion but that I don’t do any photo shoots or sell any designs – yet.

Zen: What do you like the most about blogging?
Kukua: After university, I did 2 years of a journalist trainee ship in a small editorial team. During the interview, the editor in chief asked me: Why do you want to become a journalist? I answered: “I like to share my opinion. I usually have one.” He said in return: “I became a journalist because in this job I learn so many new things.” That is completely true for me, too. I love learning new things and sharing information. So blogging is my perfect medium.

Zen: Why did you choose the name APIF?
Kukua: I wanted to blog and talk about the imprint that the African diaspora is leaving on the fashion industry. If I would have used that as title it wouldn’t have been as catchy – that’s why I simplified it and settled on African Prints in Fashion/APiF.

Zen: Aside from your devotion to APIF, do you have other career jobs?
Kukua: I am a nighttime and weekend blogger. My full-time job is director of marketing for a German IT company. I love marketing but I need APiF as a more creative outlet, to balance my life.

Kukua+African+Prints+in+Fashion+Zen+Magazine1“I love learning new things and sharing information.” Kukua
tells us. (Dressed in QuellyRue Designs)

Zen: How do you spend your weekends?
Kukua: I am an early bird. Even on weekends I am usually up at 7 am. I like spending time with my friends and my significant other, explore things in NY, work-out, go out for dinners, talk to my family via Skype, attend blogging/networking events and of course go shopping once and a while and blog. I try to at least work 3-4 hours on my blog at weekends if possible.

Zen: When it comes to style, which African celebrities would you say are the most stylish, presently?
Kukua: All the ladies from An African City of course! I love the show and the styles are real trendsetters. I am so happy I discovered their show and just did an interview with them “Changing the narrative”.

Zen: Describe your style to us.
Kukua: Eclectic – a little NY, a little thrift store mixed in with print accessories and anything I consider cool and flattering.

Zen: In another life, you would probably be….
Kukua: I like who I am. I would just want to be me again.

Zen: Your beauty inspiration is
Kukua: Pinterest – I always find great style and beauty inspirations there.

Zen: What’s next for the APiF brand and for you?
Kukua: I will organize a trunk show for the Benin-produced label Nana Wax at the Studio Museum in Harlem on the 16th, 17th and 18th of May. In June I am planning to do a social media workshop for emerging designers from Ghana and Nigeria, organized by the Ethical Fashion Initiative. In general, I want to focus more on social media, marketing & brand consulting for designers and expand the APiF brand that way.

For more details on APiF or African Prints in Fashion: www.africanprintinfashion.com

Photos by J Quazi King 
Looks by Jewel by Lisa, Sika Designs and QuellyRue Designs