If you’ve been searching for a clothing line that seamlessly blends African prints with modern street style, your dream has just come true. If that search hasn’t kept you awake at night, well, your dream might have just come true anyway, because four Brown students have just dropped a gorgeous fashion collection that appeals to all crowds.
Everything started last semester, when Chimezie Udozorh ’16 was looking for African inspired pieces to add to her wardrobe. She commented, “It was really hard to find clothes I liked, and if I did, they were really expensive.” Her and her brother, Kelechukwu Udozorh ’18, were working with their dance team’s sewing machine to make performance outfits, when the idea fell on them to make clothes of their very own. What started with family sweaters for Christmas, turned into a winter recess project to launch a fashion line. Leadz Dorcé ’16 (also featured on folkmade) and Nora Hakizimana ’16 joined the team, and after weeks of nonstop work, the collection launched in mid February.
Chi and Kele are from Nigeria, and they are primarily responsible for producing the clothes. Leadz is from Haiti, and she’s in charge of advertising, logo design, and the website — with the help of computer science concentrator, Joshua Chavez ’16. Nora is from Rwanda, and heads up the business and numbers end of the line from abroad this semester. CLNK is a special opportunity for consumers to purchase unique fashion with a rich cultural heritage. As Leadz put it, “we are the source material.”
If you haven’t fallen in love already, check out some specific reasons why you should after the jump.In the words of Leadz Dorcé, “If it’s us making it, you know we spent our time on the project, making these clothes high quality and really sellable.” The fabrics are all cotton, facilitating comfortable, everyday wear. On what would define the brand, Chi Udozorh said, “I think it’s the ease with which people can wear our clothes, it’s not just for formal events.”
The pieces may be easy to wear, but they are not easy to make. The fabric, particularly in the gold variety, has a mind of its own, and it’s no simple feat to make it form-fitting. With such a beautiful end product, you have to appreciate the level of artistry that goes into each item of this line.
The clothing is unisex and accessible. “Our culture doesn’t have the same sense of pink belonging to females, and blue belonging to males. Colors are colors,” Chi said. The pattern inserts on the tops range from full body, stripes and geometric portions, to sleeves and pockets. All of the bottoms are completely made from the patterned fabric.
“Although the clothes have Afrocentric roots, they are adaptable to and can be worn by all cultural identities,” said Leadz.
Best of all, the line boasts fair prices. The most expensive pieces are $40 (very fuzzy sweatshirts, and shorts on fleek). The price depends on the amount of pattern on the piece, so some of the tops are only $15.
There is one of each top, in sizes medium and large, and two of each bottom, save the gold skirt. In terms of the future, bow ties are on the near horizon, and next season will be more focused on formal wear. Who knows, we may even see CLNK produce some versatile Spring Weekend tanks? You can order the clothes from their Facebook catalogue, or through their website, clnkfashions.com.