What attracted me to N’Damus was their sense of confidence and the way they represent their brand. KUA was a great connection in introducing me to N’Damus’ fashion worthy bags. With slogans like “”If the sky is the limit, N’Damus has reached the ozone layer…” I was instantly hooked. Nneka Onyenakala is the style guru behind this line. She’s reaching the heights and has been recognized by MTV, worn by Supermodel Ajuma Nasenyana as well as Hollywood’s Nia Long and, The Noisettes Shingai Shoniwa. Tis true for N’Damus to proclaim: “To make you look ‘flyer’ than a 747 in the stratosphere”. The N’Damus line is filled with accessories from handmade clutches, totes wristbands to belts: Find N’Damus Designs here.
First of: Can we get some background info from you.
I was born in London however am of Nigerian heritage. Generally I am inspired by strength exhibited by people who, despite experiencing the many challenges which life brings, continue fighting in the most positive and uplifting spirit. If you tell me I can’t do something, you’ve only just inspired me to do it.
Tell us a little about N’Damus Designs (who is the founder, How did it start, what it means:
Nneka Onyenakala is the founder and designer behind the N’Damus brand. Nneka started making bags for herself back in 2007/2008 initially because she was frustrated with not being able to find bags to match her abundant, rainbow-like shoe collection. The word ‘damus’ in Latin means: We are giving/we give. “My father has brought me up to use the talents given to you by God even if you may not initially see its beauty or use. God has given me many talents and now Nneka (‘N’) is giving back some of what she was given”.
What inspires your designs?
The design inspiration of my bags comes from looking at how the abstract can also be beautifully striking. My designs encompass abstract shapes, and folds, with splashes of color in natural fabrics. Namely, I use leather to create stylish, abstract designs and unique pieces for all who want to add the definitive edge to complete their outfit.
I generally draw internal inspiration initially…I make what I feel. I also draw inspiration from things we view on a daily basis but don’t actually see. Living in such a busy city, such as London, the obvious is sometimes missed; in order to be seen, something big or bold must happen. I believe in making bold, creative, statements.
Who are your favorite emerging designers and what is it that you love about them?
I fully support Kua Designs www.kuadesigns.com. I had he pleasure of meeting her in Ghana this year. Her designs are chic, earthy and cultural. We both make clutch bags but what I love about the designer is Ruby is she is not competitive but rather very supportive.
Geometric Designs (http://www.geometricdesigns.co.uk/) is another truly phenomenal emerging designer. The designs use traditional African wax, and prints, but in a truly universal way. What I really love about the designer is her tailoring services. I’ve had a few things made from her using not African prints but: silk, cotton and linen. She really is one to watch out for.
Where can people buy your items?
Gisella Boutique, London
Little Black Dress Boutique, Arezzo, Italy (from May 2010)
I also have a bespoke service (customization). I have made countless bags for women who may have a pink and blue dress, for example, but need the matching bag. All people need to do is send us an email (email@example.com) with their requests and have a unique bag tailored for their unique needs.
What is your best attribute?
That’s a difficult question to answer but here goes: I don’t take crap from ANYBODY! I realize it may seem radical but at the same time, I am not afraid to take on board positive and constructive feedback. That’s an essential part of growing. My friends would probably say my attributes are: humor, tenacity & unwavering determination to succeed & having a steel spine.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
There are quite a few things that spring to mind with this question. I guess the advice used depends on what’s happening. I’d say some of the following:
“Know your worth.”
“Eradicate things which do not serve you”.
“If you really want to do something you’ll find a reason to and if not, you’ll find an excuse NOT to.”
Can you tell I am surrounded by the wise?!
Excluding yours, what company or brand do you admire the most?
I actually don’t really have a brand or company that I admire ‘the most’. All companies are made up of people so I guess you could say what I tend to ‘admire’ are qualities exhibited and exuded by people. I admire any quality which is wholly positive to admire; in my eyes, it means you exhibit something that I too would like to positively emulate and even learn from.
Favorite lyrics from a song?
That’s a tough one since I am such a jazz lover. I would have to say ‘Brother’ by the Brand New Heavies.
“There’s no need to feel you’re on your own
Just let your intuition guide you through
Take one step toward what you believe
Don’t be afraid to make your move…”
I think this is a beautiful song. The lyrics are uplifting in a very matter of fact way. Very soul-soothing J
Word you live by?
“If you think you can or you can’t, you are probably right.”