Homegirl London pays homage to Eva Sonaike.  Eva makes her own luxurious textiles which are inspired by West African ascetics.  Her patterns are striking and the vibrant colour palette reflects her motto “Bringing Colour to Life.’  She uses this fabric to create a range of eye catching cushions, pouffes, shopper bags, cosmetic bag clutches and notebooks.  I caught up with Eva Sonaike to find out more.

eva sonaike cushions and chairs

Eva Sonaike – Cushions and Upholstered Chairs

Meet Eva Sonaike

Eva has an MA in Fashion Journalism from London College of Fashion, where she specialised in contemporary African fashion.  Her BA was in Journalism from the London College of Printing.  Eva’s previous careers were in the media industry – “I worked as UK fashion Editor for German Elle and Instyle for six years.  Before that I was a TV producer working on a TV programme specialising in urban trends from London, Paris and New York.  So I was always exposed to design, trends and fashion.”

eva sonaike

Eva Sonaike

The idea for her own business came about when she was on maternity leave, she tells me – “I wanted to redecorate the house but I couldn’t find any cushions and textiles that inspired me.  So I decided to make my own.  I enjoyed it so much and received so much positive feedback, that I decided to take it further and launched the brand.  I started the research process in spring 2008 and officially launched the business in summer 2009.  I’m a self-taught designer and my previous jobs in fashion, styling and promotions have benefited me.”

eva sonaike cushions and pouffe

Eva Sonaike – Cushions and Pouffe

She’s now living the dream and doing a job which inspires her.  She tells me – “I also like being my own boss.  To be honest, you work even harder than when you’re employed by a company, but at the same time, you are incredibly flexible.  I can attend my kid’s school plays without asking for permission and I am in total charge of my schedule.”  Eva is based in North London and has the support of her assistant plus freelancers when required.

View the Eva Sonaike Collection

Eva tells me about her inspirations – “Africa, in particular West-Africa and its unique aesthetic use of colour and textures are my main inspiration.  My parents are from Nigeria so go back at least once a year and travel to the surrounding countries, such as Benin, Togo and Ghana.  I’m like a sponge, taking in as much visual information as I can.  Colours, clothing, nature, street-scenes, and architecture – everything is so vibrant and intense in this part of the world and gives me such a great source of inspiration.  I also admire the clothing and colours, especially of the Yoruba people.  I love that we are not afraid of colour; and the colour-blocking trend … it was invented in West Africa!  I adore Missoni!  Their usage of colour and texture is amazing in their home and fashion range.”

eva sonaike cushions

Eva Sonaike – Cushions

Growing up in Germany has also influenced Eva’s work – “Germany exposes you to quality and that is what I apply to my products.  We use British cotton velvet for the backing of our cushions, the finest Italian leather for our bag straps.  I make sure the packaging of our products fits in with our branding and looks immaculate.  When it comes to finishing, I’m very much inspired by and used to German craftsmanship.  Finishing and quality are very important to me, from the fabrics we use, down to the zips and hardware.”

eva sonaike pouffes

Eva Sonaike – Pouffes

Aburi: “This was my first collection was inspired to a trip to Ghana in 2010.  I went to a breath-taking botanical garden in the mountains and knew when entering the place that I will have to transform this experience into a collection.  It was warm and foggy, green and lush and the colours of the flowers were stunning!”

eva sonaike aburi designs

Eva Sonaike – One of the Aburi Designs

Vintage Safari: “My second collection was inspired by a trip my parents took in the 1960 to Tanzania.  I found some photos in a drawer in my parent’s house.  They were all overexposed and slightly faded.  I loved the colours and motifs and decided to name a collection after it.”

eva sonaike vintage sarari designs

Eva Sonaike – One of the Vintage Safari Designs

All the products are manufactured in the UK, in or around London – “It is very important for me to produce in the UK.  The quality of craftsmanship is great and I am assured that the working conditions of my manufactures are fair.  My textile printer is based in Germany.  He uses French and Italian cottons and the quality is amazing! “

Buy Eva Sonaike Products

If you love these vibrant designs go to the Eva Sonaike Website.  You can also buy these products from Amara.  To give you an idea about prices – Cushions are £75, Furniture from £349, Textiles £59-69, Shopper Bags £89-99 and Makeup Bags £35-45.

Eva offers a bespoke service – “Clients can contact us and we can source specific pieces of furniture and upholster it in one of our fabrics.  Or customers can also send us their own furniture and we upholster it for them.  Interior designers and home-stylists can also purchase our fabrics by the metre.”

Author: Homegirl London.  Photography: Eva Sonaike.  Thanks: Eva.

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