NGONI CHIKWENEGERE – Fashion Designer

Tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
I am the founder of We Are Kin, but as well as being a fashion designer, I have been blogging for about ten years. I create the samples in house, go to our factory in Bow and request exactly what I want. It’s a very hands on role! Besides all this I now also have a jewelry line Relic London.

How did you come up with the idea/concept of We Are Kin?
I called it We Are Kin because I work with people that I think of as Kin creatively. I wanted to create a label that transcends generations a label that a 23 year old could wear and her daughter could wear down the line, timeless and quality pieces. I also wanted it to be affordable but sustainable – there’s a real relationship between my team and the people who manufacture our garments.

Is there anything you felt underprepared for?
I didn’t know anything outside of design – you have to ask for help, people are willing to help – especially other women. Even now I am not afraid to ask for help. You have to be willing to do a lot of reading and research – that is how I found my factory, manufacturer etc.

Starting a label is difficult, I knew that from the beginning – living in London and starting up is often not feasible. You have to be prepared for the industry you’re going in.

What are your three top tips on starting your own fashion brand?
1) Ask more questions
2) Really hone in on what you want to do – research research research!
3) Be an ambassador for whatever you’re doing