Ezinne Chinkata – Building the Zinkata brand
Anna Wintour once said, “You either know fashion or you don’t.” Fashion is one of the fastest growing industries in Nigeria and this has caused the country to boom with creatives who are passionate about taking it into a globalised era where there is a constant need to be innovative. Ezinne Chinkata has proven to be one who knows fashion and has been on a quest to build her brand, “Zinkata”. The brand name, which was coined from her surname, has worked with designers such as Gozel Green, Meena Official, Nkwo and many others.
According to Chinkata, the brand is, subdivided into three sections, namely, Boutique Zinkata – the ready to wear store, Zinkata.com – fashion and future e-retail website and Zinkata Consultancy – fashion styling and consultancy services. Although this fashionista studied Biology and Genetics at the University of Lagos and obtained a Master’s degree in Environmental Management at the University of Wolverhampton; her life took a different turn from the world of examination to a world of fashion.
The language of fashion is a worldwide phenomenon that is perceived differently by every human being. For Chinkata, fashion is about interacting “with a wide range of people with the utmost goal of leaving a positive impact in their lives.” Guardian Life had a chat with her about being Zinkata.
What sparked your interest in fashion and styling? Was this the career path you had planned?
I always say fashion found me, but in retrospect; I grew up in quite a creative environment, thanks to my mum. She once owned a fashion house where she supervised artisans in creating made-to-measure pieces for her customers. She also retailed ready-to-wear fashion pieces and till date owns a hair salon. She’s also extremely stylish.
I have three sisters and we are really close. Growing up, we were all encouraged to explore our individual styles. It was always interesting to see each sister’s interpretation of say, the distressed denim skirt. Through our various interpretations, our style personalities stood out strongly.
I did not plan a career in fashion, however my natural flair and passions sort of naturally propelled me in that direction.
Give us a breakdown of your creative process?
My creative process starts to a large extent from my head. I have a very avid imagination and I always conjure up various scenarios and re-worked looks in my head. Sometimes, I have an “AHA!” moment and it’s quite sporadic, but most times it starts from my thoughts and I streamline and process it as it comes to life. In some cases, it is quite a swift and straightforward process, whilst at other times, the idea brews and is reworked severally before it finally comes to life.
Do your life experiences or background have anything to do with your work?
Oh yes. I am greatly influenced by my background, traditions, my society, societal issues and the day-to-day activities of living as a female in Lagos, Nigeria.
What are some interesting facts about yourself, especially relating to your work?
I absolutely love what I do. Through fashion, I get to meet and interact with a wide range of people with the utmost goal of leaving a positive impact in their lives. I am all for spreading love and kindness with each encounter. I am also a devout Christian and chart my career and path purposefully.
What has caused the Zinkata brand to grow in your opinion?
We are still growing! There is still so much ahead of us. I try my best to stay true to my beliefs and brand identity, being authentically me and constantly striving to be better.
What has helped so far, I would say is; putting my all in each task with a lot of passion and fearlessness and of course, the guiding light of the one who always protects and leads, the Lord!