African wax is not a trend and is here to stay!
Yinka Ilori is a designer based in East London. He is specialised in up-cycling vintage furniture inspired by traditional African fabrics. Yinka Ilori has exhibited in London, New York, Germany and Milan.
Furniture designer, Yinka Ilori, fashion designer Mhando of Chichia London and creative consultant Arieta Mujay devise theatrical, visually compelling conceptual spaces, brought to life with curated film, archival footage and performance. The audience is given an opportunity to interact in the space and identify the parables’ messages. Powerful and thought- provoking anecdotes that question local as well as global values and ideologies. The HOME AFFAIRS exhibition can be visited until 4th of September 2015. We caught up with Yinka Ilori over email to discuss how he started and what inspires him.
Introducing “Yinka Ilori”
Frolicious: How you started?
Yinka Ilori: I started by studying a 3 year degree in Product Design and furniture, then straight after graduating I started my own design consultancy in East London. It was not as straight forward as that though! At university we were given a project where we had to find two unwanted chairs and dismantle into sections to create a new chair with a new function and completely new narrative. We had to use all elements and components from both chairs and that’s what I did! The chair that I created was called Two- Become 1. It was this green unfunctional and uncomfortable chair that look liked some sort of green beetle! I dont even know what to compare it too, I will let you be the judge of that! The chair was a chair but it was not functional and that’s where I feel in love with idea of upcycling furniture and giving it a story. This project also opened my eyes into the beauty of a creating furniture that was not functional and great to look because of the story behind it! This ideology allowed me to cross the paths between Art and Design which was tremendously refreshing because this ay of working allowed me to create art & Design simultaneously with no one telling me I cant, which is what often happened at University during crits amongst students and tutors.
Over the years I then started to incorporate my culture into my work and the one thing that shaped my childhood was the importance of Nigerian parables told to me by parents. Not only that it was their use of traditional Nigerian fabrics they would wear on a day to day basis portraying the proudness of their culture and where they came from.
Being proud to be African was something that was expressed discreetly while growing up as a child, as I remembered at school all my peers would claim to be a from the Caribbean because they were ashamed to be an African but now thats changed which is amazing!Everyone is proud to African and is not afraid to show and express that its shown all over social media especially! So I gathered all these inspirations and wanted to show this in my work and thats how my journey started and evolved from there. Its been an incredible few years, and to be honest I only feel like im just starting because I learn something new about my culture everyday! My father comes from Ekiti State and my mother comes from Ondo State, and its such full of inspiration and inspirational people.
Frolicious: What inspires you?
Yinka Ilori: Honestly and I know its sounds cliche but my parents inspire me! Their journey and achievements is phenomenal, I am very grateful. They live in London but they always say ” We have done our best for you, your brothers and sister soon we are going back to Nigeria” and you know what they have done more than their best. It will be emotional when they go! In all honesty they deserve to go home to retire because they have worked really hard all their life! Leaving all there families and friends behind to migrate to the UK and gives us a different life! Damn thats tough so my parents inspire me all the time.
Frolicious: Do you think African Wax is just a trend?
Yinka Ilori: Some people have said that but I don’t agree at all! I have never seen it as a trend because I have been surrounded by it my whole life so I didn’t know any different! African wax is not a trend and is here to stay! As we all know that African wax is designed and produced by Vlisco, a Dutch company. People need to understand that the African continent has alot of beautifully handwoven fabrics with amazing motifs and design on them, its just not as popular as the Dutch Wax.
Explore Yinka Ilori here