Since childhood, Chinero Nnamani has been fascinated by the world around her. As someone with too many ideas, deciding a career wasn’t a straightforward process. Chinero wanted to be a nurse, a graphic designer, a lawyer, a social activist, an inventor, a politician, a psychologist…and the list goes on.
In her search for a calling, Chinero learned about: computer science and graphic design in Sweden, creative writing and public policy in California, philosophy and psychology in London, statistics and data management in India, anthropology and human anatomy in Nigeria, and much more. With these experiences, Chinero learned how deeply embedded African influences were to the foundations of civilizations.
She then created the Chinero Nnamani brand to celebrate, and give well-deserved credit, to Africa’s influence in our culture and other cultures throughout the world.
How do you blend technology and art in your aesthetic?
The many interconnections between technology, mathematics, and art provide a wealth of material to emphasize the fusion of African influences.
My patterns tend to also celebrate math and technology with geometric influences, and the use of simple grids and linear perspective. The symbiosis of art and technology, in my opinion, allows for the most striking prints and clothing designs.
You make your own original prints, how easy or difficult has it been creating them?
I enjoy making prints by hand, but I can’t emphasize enough how technology has changed the game, and become integral to how I create my patterns, as it is incredibly convenient to travel with a tablet and stylus.
So to answer your question, it is very easy and fun to create my prints!
Can you tell us more about what you worked on before starting your brand?
Before starting my brand I worked as a freelance graphic designer, illustrator and web designer. I also worked as the Practice Manager of a Mental Health clinic.
These experiences have only helped consolidate my undergraduate experiences, and contribute to my personal and professional growth as a thinker, advocate, collaborator, manager, and leader.
What was particularly challenging to you when you decided to create the Chinero Nnamani brand?
The most challenging aspect of starting the brand was human resources, and finding and/or training reliable people to uphold my quality standards in Nigeria.
You really have to firmly and consistently foster an organizational culture of efficiency and high quality in Nigeria, or the quality will suffer without proper systems in place. Fortunately, I have steadily built an amazing team of people in Nigeria that are always eager to learn and excel....the most valuable things I learned were how embedded African influences were to the foundations of civilizations. Click To Tweet
You are present online and your flagship store is at the Jabi Lake Mall in Abuja. How did you go about opening the physical store?
Opening the store in Jabi, Abuja was a beautiful experience.
From our massive ornate mirrors, to our gold shelving, and blends of ornamentation and joyful visuals, I really was able to fulfill my vision for the space and have it emphasize global acuity and African pride.
What’s the creative process like for you? Where do you go, and what do you do, when you need inspiration?
I typically begin with a simple doodle or sketch in a moleskin notebook. I like to be out in nature or sitting by a window when I want to create.
Inspiration is drawn from the fluid forms and sharp colors of nature, music, traditional food, Nigerian folk art, masked dance, ancestral drums, Igbo attires, and the shear wealth of African influences and innovations in cultures and textiles throughout the world.
What is your three-year growth plan for Chinero Nnamani?
My three-year growth plan for the Chinero Nnamani brand is pursuing more expansion opportunities in the U.S. with physical store locations in malls, and pop-up events.
I also plan to release more lifestyle products like furniture, leather goods, and more!
In one sentence, how will you like to be remembered?
I want to be remembered as a conscientious person who was Black, a Woman, and Proud.
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