Ilekeco is the ultimate fashion statement. Its sophisticated and contemporary handcrafted jewellery awakes consciousness and highlights uniqueness. Hand rolled and hand painted, Ilekeco aims to redefine the present, conventional notions of what jewellery should be created from.
Designer Anthony Uche Nsofor was fond of making things out of paper since he was a child. From converting a discarded sugar box into a table soccer post to making kites and origami jets, his resourcefulness and imagination had endless potential. Having completed a degree in chemical engineering and taking charge of the family glass bead import business, his passion for creative work was rekindled when he chanced upon an article about paper jewellery. This made him think about the paper creations he made from childhood to his own pile of garbage including parking tickets, grocery receipts, and random paper products, and how he could convert them into something useful. This is the early beginning of Ilekeco, with Anthony starting his journey to conscious and sustainable fashion.
Sustainability + Art
Ilekeco transforms waste materials into valuable wearable art. Its name came from “ileke,” which literally means bead. It is a native Nigerian word that defines something of great value. This is a homage to Anthony’s heritage wherein his vision is to tell great African stories through his works. Anthony wants to use his works to awaken the interest in recycling waste across Africa, especially his country where recycling barely exists. Lagos state, Nigeria’s biggest commercial city, has a population of 20 million people and generates well over 10,000 metric tons of waste every day. Paper, of course, makes up a substantial part of it. Unfortunately, most of it gets burned, contributing to air pollution. With this, Anthony finds innovative ways to upcycle waste paper. He turned them into one of a kind handcrafted product such as earrings, necklaces, bracelets and other forms of unique jewellery. Through his ideas and efforts, paper waste is diverted from landfills and given a second life.
Anthony’s designs are hand rolled into detailed pieces that result in a piece of wearable art. He is constantly exploring new ideas and inspirations. He wants to create pieces that uphold the essence and excellence of Africa, highlighting the traditions and intelligent hands of her people. Ilekeco’s pieces are made for the discerning art lover and collector, women of style and substance, women who are not afraid to make a statement. They know that the adornment around their neck is inimitable and nearly impossible to replicate. They are buying more than an object of desire but many hours of experimentation and failures combined with days, weeks, months of frustration and moments of pure joy—a piece of a heart, a part of a soul, a moment in someone’s life.
To change people’s perception of waste by upcycling. Making art from waste is our way of solving environmental problems. With such efforts, more consumers will become aware of what’s happening and this will make them rethink about the waste that has been generated through fast fashion.