Country – Nigeria
Age – 26
Frank Aghuno has been designing since the age of 11. He would cut up his mother’s ankara (Wax print) wrappers and sew them into dresses by hand. Aghuno is self taught. Most of his knowledge came from doing a lot of research and mentorship from his former fashion designer mother. In 2014, at age 19, Aghuno qualified to be in Lagos Fashion Week’s Fashion Focus mentorship program and debuted his first collection that same year while he was simultaneously studying Finance at the University of Lagos. Upon graduation in 2016 he took a year off for research and launched the brand officially in 2018.
Fruché is a contemporary fashion brand based in Lagos, Nigeria. The brand aims to explore rich, historical, futuristic and modern progressive stories that challenge the notion that Nigeran/African women and men are expected to look and dress a certain way. Fruché is a mix of traditional Nigerian culture, heritage, artisanal techniques and contemporary design. The brand embodies a unique sensibility that seamlessly combines and outspoken narrative and a bold sensuality that is luxuriously modern. To date, Fruché has collaborated with international and African brands like Vlisco&Co, Dricky Stickman and KiingDaviids.
Fruche uses an artisan approach to sustainability. Beads are intricately woven to create ensembles inspired by Ewu Ivie “Coral bead dress” usually worn by Bini Obas (Kings). Some of the textiles are made from scratch using century old Labour-intensive techniques. Some of the textiles include Asooke which means “top cloth” and is popular among the yorubas in western part of Nigeria. Asooke is hand woven by women and men. Adire is the indigo-dyed cloth made in southwestern Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. Akwaocha which literally means white cloth, is handwoven with wool by women. it is popular among the aniocha people of Delta state; Aghuno’s state of origin.
Aghuno outsources textile production to businesses that support and patronise these communities. Production of garments is done by a small number of female tailors who are properly rewarded as opposed to mass production. Other textiles are end-of-line or sample fabrics sourced from our local markets.
“I believe that fashion can convey deep sociocultural meaning and each garment by Fruché tells a tale of Nigeria’s beautiful culture whether past of present. I am intrigued by how west african textiles signify social status and communicate intricate histories. Nigerians are intelligent, loud, funny, colourful and generally happy people even when faced with adversity and this is the energy Fruché is constantly channeling.
I don’t come from an affluent family and have not yet gotten formal training but I’m proud of what i’m building and i hope to inspire other African youth with a dream. Everything i know now, i learnt from the internet and by watching people around me. It’s important to start now and start small. Start with nothing, it makes you much more creative. We should not wait for the opportunities to come to us but rather fight and struggle to make our voices heard.” – Frank Aghuno
In 2020 we released the lookbook for Fruché’s SS20 collection titled Free Spirits 2 – Mmuo. The collection is inspired by the Agbogho Mmuo celebrations practiced in Nigerian Igbo culture. The tradition consists of men dressing up as young women and performing dances to music. Fruché was particularly interested in how pre-colonial Igbo culture practiced fluid gender roles— a sense of freedom Aghuno feels is not as present in contemporary Nigerian society. It was debuted at Lagos Fashion Week 2019 and GTBank Fashion weekend 2019. The collection received rave reviews and was featured on vogue.it as one of the best showcased.
Since the release of the Lookbook we have gone on to be featured on notjustalabel.com, bellanaija.com, thefolklore.com and many other sites. We were recently featured on beyoncé.com as one of the African designers to support in her Black Parade “Buy African” Initiative. Other than our first international stockists; The Folklore and Zazaii, We introduced few new international stockists; Industrie Africa, Ditto Africa and clothia.com. We are one of the first four African vendors to ever be stocked on the international platform. We have a few more articles and major international editorials coming out in the next few moths. We are grateful to be receiving these many accolades even during the pandemic. I have been watching and attending the shows for a couple of years and I am super proud of this very inspiring platform that has also challenged me to think big and stand out.