Fashion designer Chinasa Chukwu presents a new collection of homeware and objects under her label Weruzo. Inspired by traditional African folk instruments, the collection is inspired by the designer’s childhood spent between England and Nigeria, and her interest in the craft stories she discovered while in Africa. 

Weruzo: a lifestyle brand celebrating African craft

Black clay vases and candle holders photographed on a marble table, part of Weruzo brand launch
‘Keba’, left, and ‘Baté’, right

A self-taught fashion designer, Chukwu worked for Erdem and Max Mara before setting up Weruzo as a fashion label, in 2015, while also working on art direction and curation. After taking a break from her fashion work in 2019, Weruzo now returns as a lifestyle brand, offering timeless pieces ‘that would grow with their owners and become part of new histories’.

A portrait of designer Chinasa Chukwu
Weruzo founder Chinasa Chukwu with the ‘Celestine’ vase from the debut collection

To build Weruzo, Chukwu immersed herself into African craftsmanship, spending several months alongside artisans in Northern Nigeria and discovering traditional techniques and materials. While there, the designer explored a new medium for her work, sketching vessels and objects inspired by local craft’s histories. The brand, she explains, is now ‘part lifestyle brand, part creative/curatorial practice transposing traditional African design signatures and handcrafting techniques into modern design objects’.

‘Celestine’ collection by Weruzo

Black clay vases and candle holders photographed on a marble table, part of Weruzo brand launch
‘Celestine Kiri’, left, and ‘Celestine Nta’, right 

Weruzo makes its debut with the ‘Celestine’ collection, whose design is inspired by the instruments used in African folk music traditions. The collection’s objects – expressive vases and candle holders – were created using original techniques that include moulding clay by hand and, once fired, blackening it on an outdoor wood fire. Their silhouettes are a nod to horned musical instruments and the rounded shapes of Ṣẹ̀kẹ̀rẹ̀ percussions. It’s a collection of modern artifacts that evokes ‘musical moonlit nights in village squares, textured as though taking on new life after years of playing’.

Continuing the musical theme, the collection’s name is a tribute to Igbo highlife musician Celestine Ukwu, and each style is named after an African musician, such as Miriam Makeba and the Lijadu sisters. §

Black clay objects on white boucle sofa
‘Lijadu’, left, and ‘Celestine Kiri’, right
Black clay object used as both candle holder and vase, photographed on a neutral textile background

‘Mpi’