Jimi King on African Fashion and Art
September 5, 2016 § Leave a comment
You can’t call Jimi King a “fashion designer,” even though he is quite a successful one. You can’t really call him an “African artist” either, even though he is an artist, and most definitely a proud African. Like many individual artists in the art and fashion world, Nigerian artist Jimi King is uncomfortable with labels. “I don’t like to be boxed in,” he revealed in an interview with Afrofusion TV on a recent visit to the Washington, DC area during his 2016 summer tour. Given the length and breadth of his experience, it’s understandable. In addition to fashion (wearable art, as he calls it) King does painting, sculpture and music (drumming). He has been a regular in Paris at the UNESCO Africa Week and Bazaar for the past five years, and participated in Africa Fashion Week London during the
Olympic Games in 2012.
Educated at the Chelsea School of Art in London, he decided to focus on textile and fabric design, a latent urge that lingered since he was a young boy watching his grandmother, a textile artist, and his Sierra Leonean grandfather, a bespoke tailor, at work. He has specialized in using organic materials in his artwork and designs, and that has also informed his expansion into cosmetics and beauty products. King now makes his home in Atlanta, but his roots remain in Africa; he still runs a studio/shop in Lagos, Nigeria, and maintains connections with fashion designers and other artists on the continent. He has a strong conviction for uplifting Africa via art and fashion, and after 35-plus years in the business, Jimi King plans to keep at it; “I’ve never heard of an artist retiring,” he says. Check out our interview above, and be sure to visit his website to explore more of his beautiful fashions. Bless…