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Featured Artist: Eye of the Sun

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Ogechi Anyanwu / Bartender / worked at Lula 4 years

How did you get started designing? I became serious about design after reading about Rei Kawakubo, Hussein Chalayan and Elsa Schiaparelli and their avant-garde approach to fashion design. I taught myself to sew in high school after my parents bought me a sewing machine. I would look through fashion magazines and design books and replicate designs I liked. I became increasingly interested in art and design and took classes in clothing construction and textiles. 

How would you describe your style or design aesthetic?
I like simple, classic pieces with a unique shape or material, whether it's texture or pattern.

What has influenced your style?
I was naturally interested in fashion growing up in Missouri. Both my parents are from Nigeria, and my mother, in particular, has an outstanding wardrobe of African dresses and head wraps. I was drawn to the use of colors and patterns in a lot of these garments. I live a pretty active lifestyle so functionality in clothing is really important to me. College introduced me to a group of friends with similar tastes. I felt that was a point where I began to deeply explore and experiment with clothing and design.

Leather is a new medium for you, what other mediums have you worked with?
Leather is a new and exciting material to work with and I am learning as I go. I was first introduced to hair on cowhide a little over a year ago on a trip to Portland, Oregon. I stumbled upon an old leather warehouse and explored their stacks of hides. I hadn't seen this material used and was in the market for a new wallet. I decided to hand craft a wallet from the material. Prior to working with leather I worked with other natural fibers such as silk, linen, wool and cotton. A fibers class in college introduced me to Shibori (a Japanese dyeing technique), patternmaking, felting and screen printing. I definitely plan to incorporate this into upcoming projects.

Do you have any work rituals?
My studio is in my home. I usually start my mornings with coffee. When I am beginning a new project I generally research; selecting bag and wallet ideas from books, magazines, blogs and compiling them into an idea book. I’ll do some light sketching of what I plan to construct and get really detailed in the size of the bag and all the accoutrements that go in to making a bag(thread, zipper, snaps, straps, etc.)

Your first collection is wallets. Do you have plans to expand? 
Yes, I'm currently working on larger bags and clutches; eventually I'd like to go beyond my signature pouches and work on dyeing and printing my own textiles.

Where does the name Eye of the Sun come from?

Anyanwu, a Nigerian name meaning “Eye of the Sun," represents my vision for design: simple, elegant, and sophisticated. This is the first time I've branded my work and put myself out there as a designer. At Lula, there's a creative and supportive group of artists and thinkers, whose constructive criticism and encouragement really drove me to launch my line.

What's your go-to menu item at Lula? 
That’s hard. I’ll pretty much eat any of the desserts {I have a sweet tooth). As for dinner I love Lula’s roast chicken on the café menu. It has everything I want: Gunthorp farm chicken, fingerling potatoes, and the best kale salad ever!

What's your favorite Beyonce song?
“Grown Woman”… actually probably “Drunk in Love.”

Photos by Ratko Radojcic.

SHOP EYE OF THE SUN



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