In this episode, I chat with textile designer Eno Jonah. Eno is the founder of Nzuri Textiles, a brand of exquisitely handcrafted textiles with a focus on sustainable luxury. In our conversation Eno talks about the inspiration behind her designs, what sustainable luxury means to her, preserving artisan skills, and takes us on the journey from an idea through to finished textile.
Eno’s love of textiles began as a child growing up in Nigeria in a community surrounded by artisans. Eno’s parents had a deep interest in Nigerian culture and her mother who is Sierra Leonean brought her culture with her when she married. Eno recalls the elaborate clothes her mother wore that featured intricate embroidery and patterns and for Eno was an introduction to the art of beautiful handmade textiles.
Her husband travels a lot for work and accompanying him was a chance for Eno to see what other artisans were doing around the world, particularly with regards to handwoven textiles. Having spent many years in Uganda, Eno and her husband relocated to California and she saw the opportunity to start her own textile brand, Nzuri Textiles, with a Cashmere line. Having been gifted a cashmere scarf by her husband she fell in love with textile. And a trip to Thailand led to an opportunity to visit Mongolia to see the cashmere workshops and learn about the process, and eventually collaborate with the artisans.
Eno’s textile collections are produced in small batches, handwoven using natural fibres. She is adamant that she does not want her textiles to end up in a landfill, but to become treasured items that can be enjoyed for a long time. Eno also works with weavers in Nigeria to create collections that feature local themes and motifs, including historical geometric patterns.
The reward of having my own business is the enormous pride it gives me to create beautiful textiles that can be produced in West Africa. Eno Jonah, founder Nzuri Textiles
For Eno sustainable luxury means small-batch, fine quality material and production, responsible production, not leaving a footprint by using natural colours with no added chemicals, being ethical wherever they produce and to make sure to add value to the communities they work with, and preserving precious artisan skills.
When I created Nzuri Textiles I wanted to create something that I love that is creative, innovative. Something that I was proud of. – Eno Jonah, founder Nzuri Textiles
We talk about:
- Travelling and learning from other cultures
- Finding also that last and can be recycled
- The stories behind her designs
- The journey of a textile from an idea to finished product
- The meaning of sustainable luxury
- The journey of setting up a business
- Connecting to showrooms and how to find reps
- Getting her name out there and building visibility
- The impact of Black Lives Matter, and the need to keep the conversation going
- How she keeps challenging herself to grow as a designer
Links and resources mentioned in this episode
Where you can go to find out more about Eno and Nzuri Textiles:
And before you go I have a favour to ask, if you could take a few minutes to do the three R’s that is: rate it, review it, and recommend it to anyone you feel would benefit. It will really make a difference and I would greatly appreciate it.