Designer Éugenie Amegah remembers having to juggle her African origins and Canadian identity from young. She describes herself as Canadian born and African raised, “My parents are from Ghana and Togo, and my grandmother who had a big part in raising me, lied to me that she couldn’t speak English, so I had to learn her language. So I ate the food, wore the clothes, basically I was an African child.” Amegah says being surrounded by African culture has impacted her brand of fashion. Her design line, “Nykwale” means the name is dear and is her beloved grandmother’s middle name.
Amegah beat out 6 other competitors to take the title of 2018 Student Design winner at the Student Designer competition which opens African Fashion Week Toronto. This year, the competition and other Fashion week shows were held at the Globe and Mail building in Toronto.
She characterizes the Nykwale brand as African culture influenced streetwear and couture. Amegah completed her fashion line for the competition in just two weeks, “There were a lot of sleepless nights! I had to travel to Ghana so I had less time to pull things together. I wasn’t too worried about the other competitors, but I was confident in my collection, and I felt I had a strong collection.” Amegah incorporated innovative materials like neoprene, sportswear fabrics, and unusual elements like cowrie shells into her creations.
Amegah says she feels African fashions are underrated and hopes to build Nykwale to a level that is accepted as high fashion. As part of her prize, Amegah was able to showcase her fashions on the mainstage of African Fashion Week Toronto.