I recently had the opportunity to interview Nnebuchi Nwankwo owner of Chima Rose, an innovative, modernistic business specializing in quality leather goods. Her line includes leather bags, leather clutches, leather belts, t-shirts, skirts, and accessories. Nnebuchi is also from my hometown of Raleigh, NC, so I was very excited to find out what she has been up to over the past few years.
“The primary aesthetic is a focus on what is possible when you mix old world materials with contemporary modern design. We are fascinated and inspired by the juxtaposition of the two and what one creates by combining both. Our products are innovative, palatable to a very fashion forward consumer, and extremely luxe. We believe that the Chima+Rose client wants to invest in being different. Our fuel is designing products that compliment our consumer and reflect their personal style.” – NN
Brandi: Can you tell the Sophi Chic readers a little about yourself?
NN: My name is Nnebuchi Nwankwo. Currently I design for, own, and operate an accessories and apparel line with my sister called Chima+Rose. I started the company while I was still a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design in 2009.
Brandi: How did you first get started with your hand bag line?
NN: While I was in graduate school I took a course called Decorative Surfaces. It was the first class that I took where we were given the option to make other things besides clothing. I jumped at the chance to try something different. I made my first bag in that class, and from there I was given the go ahead to focus my Mater’s final project on handbags. I’ve been designing handbags ever since.
“IJ Security Blanket Clutch – Rust/Cheetah”
Brandi: Tell me about some of the people you’ve met or places you have visited while working on this vision?
NN: I’ve had the opportunity to network with other designers and learn and be inspired from what they do. I think that it’s so important to see what other designers are doing. I also think its important to talk to other designers so that you can learn from their successes and mistakes. My sister and I have been all over the country doing trunk shows and sourcing materials, ideas, and inspiration for our company. It’s been really fun and challenging, but I’ve learned a lot in the past few years.
Brandi: How would (someone) describe your style?
NN: I don’t know. I find that my personal style is not that much of a reflection of what I am capable of as a designer. I tend to keep it pretty simple. I love wearing leggings, v neck t-shirts, and loose sweaters. I’m also a hat person. I collect riding caps from thrift and vintage stores. I’m always on the lookout for a vintage Kangol. I also love makeup, and don’t think I’m dressed unless I got a full face on.
Brandi: What networking do you do that you feel helps your business/brand?
NN: Chima+Rose currently has a website, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn page. We also do trunk shows, send our stuff out to stylists, celebrities, bloggers, and we give a lot of stuff away all in an effort to generate more interest in our brand.
Brandi: Everyone has a favorite/least favorite fashion trend. Name yours and why?
NN: I don’t really have a favorite or a least favorite because fashion is so cyclical. I look back at old pictures of myself all the time, and I’m like “what was I thinking!” Different things are hot at different times.
Brandi: What other business do you have or other things you working on now?
NN: I’m also a freelance designer, pattern maker, illustrator, graphic designer, and makeup artist. I have some other business ventures that I hope to be launching in the next few months. With all that being said, Chima+Rose is definitely my baby, and the main thing that I am focused on for now and the indefinite future.
Brandi: How can people contact you and check out your hand bags?
NN: You can contact and check me out at: http://www.chimaandrose.com/.
Nnebuchi’s work is an inspiration to everyone who is aspiring to start their own company and create their vision. Can’t wait to see what Chima+Rose has to offer next!
Here is my Sophi Chic top pic from the collection…..Ladies this is a must have!
“IJ Security Blanket Clutch – Orange/Cheetah”
As always, Stay Chic!