Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

ONCHEK, Orange Culture & Shem Paronelli Pay Homage to the Super Eagles with the UNITY Collection

As the World Cup draws near, the made-in-Nigeria capsule collection gives an authentic nod to the team that brings Nigeria together.

This new capsule collection brought to you by ONCHEK in collaboration with Orange Culture and SHEM PARONELLI ARTISINAL gives fans of Nigeria's Super Eagles a fresh way to root for the national football team as they journey through the World Cup soon.

The luxury African e-commerce platform, founded by Chekwas Okafor, tapped Orange Culture's Adebayo Oke-Lawal to design the UNITY Football Jersey due to his commitment to unapologetic fluidity. "I believe that when you've been given a platform you should always use it to support others," Oke-Lawal says about the collaboration in a statement. "That's how collaboration started for me! I feel like as Industry, if we push for each other, the industry will move quicker into global prominence."

Shem Ezemma is the mind behind the UNITY N-100 Soccer Shoe. His footwear brand, SHEM PARONELLI ARTISINAL, is influenced by architecture and minimalist philosophy. The handcrafted footwear embodies the mission of the UNITY Collection with his eye for detail and simplistic approach.

"The take-off point was our already existing N-100 model," Ezemma says. "But we sought to re-imagine and approach it differently, drawing inspirations and ideas from a traditional soccer shoe. Every stage of this project was fun for me, from bouncing ideas with Mr. Chekwas on the direction to the hand-picking of best leathers (by the way these are so comfortable) down to the actual making of the sneakers. The energy throughout has been great."

This is ONCHEK's first collaboration, as the brand continues to push what accessible, luxury African fashion means. "This project of passion is our first collaboration to highlight what can be done on the continent," the brand says in a statement. "And as we strive to live out our company purpose and mission, making clothes locally will remain our focus—an absolute pleasure."

Shop the UNITY Collection here, and take a look at the editorial below.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.

Photo by Kosol Onwudinjor.


Photographer: Kosol Onwudinjor

Stylist and Creative Direction: Daniel Obasi

Models: Gabriel Ejoni, Jeffery Obed, Elizabeth Omorinsola and Eniola Abolarin

Cinematographer: Wale Rilwan of Walinteen Pro

Makeup: Evelyn Obewu of Radiez by Eve

Hair: HairCraft

Photo by Trevor Stuurman.

Interview: Thando Hopa Never Anticipated Acceptance in the Industry—She Anticipated a Fight

We speak to the South African lawyer, model, actress and activist about her historic Vogue cover, stereotypes imposed on people living with albinism and her work with human interest stories about vulnerable groups as a WEF fellow.

Vogue Portugal's April edition was a moment that caused everyone to hold their breath collectively. For the first time ever, a woman living with albinism was featured on the cover of the magazine in a sublime and timeless manner. Thando Hopa, a South African lawyer, model, actress and activist was the woman behind this historic first. It was not just a personal win for Hopa, but a victory for a community that continues to be underrepresented, stigmatised and even harmed for a condition outside of their control, particularly in Africa.

At just 31, the multi-hyphenate Hopa is a force to be reckoned with across different spaces. Through her considerable advocacy work as an activist, Hopa has and continues to dispel stereotypes and misconceptions about people living with albinism as well as changing what complex representation looks like within mainstream media. In 2018, Hopa was named the one of the world's 100 most influential women by the BBC. After hanging up her gown as a legal prosecutor after four years of working with victims of sexual assault, Hopa is on a mission to change skewed perceptions and prejudices when it comes to standards of beauty.

As a current fellow at the World Economic Forum, she is also working towards changing editorial oversights that occur when depicting historically underrepresented and vulnerable groups. The fellowship programme prepares individuals for leadership in both public and private sectors, and to work across all spheres of global society.

OkayAfrica recently spoke to Hopa to find out about how it felt to be the first woman with albinism to be featured on Vogue, the current projects she's working on and what's in the pipeline for her.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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