5 Minutes With Eve Nnaji
I came across Even Designed, a brand that makes uniquely designed bags, when they had a pop up shopping event at Stranger Lagos, and I loved the uniqueness of the brand. I had a brief chat with Eve Nnaji, founder and designer of Even Designed, a graduate of Architecture from Texas A&M University.
Introduce yourself, briefly.
I was born in Nigeria and moved to the US at an early age. I’ve kind of always had a thing for art so it made sense to study architecture after high school; that’s when I fell in love with design. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started exploring my own sense of design in project making. I got a BA in Architecture and moved back to Lagos. I’m now working at an architecture firm and figuring out this whole business thing.
What’s the inspiration behind your brand?
I believe in a simple quote, “What isn’t done won’t be done until you do it.” Creating is one of the greatest powers we have as humans. We need to bring more options and ideas into the world. Whether they fail or succeed isn’t the point; it’s the fact that they were given the chance to fail or succeed.
What role has architecture played in your design method?
I believe architecture is what really laid the foundation for my design method. Architecture insists on a sort of thinking that demands problem solving along with challenging the norm, which both require creativity. I want Even Designed to be just that; a precise perspective and a defying stand.
In terms of sourcing materials, manufacturing and brand patronage, how has transitioning into the Nigerian market been?
I went from walking into a fabric store with a credit card to trudging through narrow markets with wrinkled naira. It’s just different on all spectrums. On one hand, the prices are cheaper; on the other hand it’s Mushin for crying out loud. It’s been a hard transition but I’ve learned so much. Manufacturing is a whole different story on its own that can be drafted, printed, and published in volumes.
Are there other aspects of the brand just yet or at least, in the works?
Something I’ve been doing lately is listening. I’ve had a few people come up to me and talk about a product they believe would be ‘cool’ to have, then I go ahead and make it for them. In one instance an artist asked me, “Can you make an apron that turns into a bag?” The final product was inventive and incredible, and the client was happy. So for now the brand is learning about needs while working with clients in need. I do want to say that as a designer, I am definitely open to all venues of design, from graphics to furniture to fashion to architecture.
During your pop-up store at Stranger Lagos, what was the reaction of your audience to your designs?
Something that stood out to me the most was the pleasure they had when they saw a refined product with clarity and quality that was made in Nigeria. I think that says a lot about what the future needs.
If you were to do things differently, what would it be?
I would have worked on my Nigerian accent for when I went to price materials at the market.
Are there any plans to venture into clothing?
I love the Even Designed bags from Eve NNaji because they represent unique thinking and brilliance in innovation. Definitely looking forward to more of what Eve Nnaji has to bring to the Nigerian fashion industry.