Zekaryas Solomon is an Eritrean-born fashion designer. Having studied Architecture, Design and Art, he spent a few years working within his discipline whilst developing a strong passion for fashion design. This passion led to him studying at the London College of Fashion. Zekaryas Solomon draws his inspiration from his Eritrean heritage; hence the modification of traditional attires into more modern and trendy styles.
We consider Zekaryas Solomon`s designs as highly conceptual, futuristical and artistically-sartorial fashion lines made up of individually tailored, Prêt-a-Porte garments for men and women. Every piece of garment is characterized by simplicity, originality, and above all, VERSATILITY.
Afrocentricity unleashed caught up with Zekaryas Solomon.Enjoy the interview 🙂
Afrocentricity Unleashed: Firstly, I would like to say it is a great pleasure to have you here and thanks for squeezing us into your already busy schedule.
Zekaryas Solomon: Thank you so much for your interest, and affording me the chance to explain about myself.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: Could you please tell our readers who Zekaryas Solomon is?
Zekaryas Solomon: I am a guy who was born in Eritrea and spent most of my formative years growing up in Germany. I have a very strong perfectionist professional side, tempered with a very soft fun-loving humorous nature which stands me in good stead for the demands of my chosen profession.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: What was growing up like?
Zekaryas Solomon:To be honest, it was quite tough growing up in Germany, coming from Eritrea.The culture and language were so different that it was quite a challenge; then again I was really lucky to be given the chance to have an excellent education, and to study architecture in a country known for its excellence in this field.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: How did you get into the fashion industry considering your background was in architecture?
Zekaryas Solomon: It certainly wasn’t the normal route that most aspiring designers would have taken. I had always had a love for fashion and so I decided to take a short course in menswear pattern cutting, just to make sure that if I applied for the degree course, it was going to be the route I wanted to follow.
I enjoyed it so much that I applied at the London College of Fashion with mainly my architecture portfolio and some fashion sketches. One of the questions in the interview was: “Mr Solomon, you are an architect, why do you want to study fashion since there are so many fashion designers out there?” My answer was “Yes I am an architect with a passion for fashion; I want to bring both backgrounds (i.e. architectural & traditional backgrounds) together to create modern and futuristic garments”. I believe I explained my concepts and vision so well that they understood, given my limited experience with pattern cutting and garment technology.
Afrocentricity Unleashed:: How has the road been from then leading up to now?
Zekaryas Solomon:It’s been a whirlwind…fast! A bit like driving a Ferrari in pole position(Laughs). After graduating in 2010, I have produced three bespoke collections and am working on my fourth, with a ready to wear collection as well.
Afrocentricity Unleashed:: Your designs are very unique and I have to say I absolutely love the baggy-styled pants. What inspires these (and other) designs?
Zekaryas Solomon: My designs, especially the baggy trousers are a marriage of my traditional and professional backgrounds. The design is similar to traditional Eritrean wedding attire, which I have re-constructed with a modern architectural cut and details like military style buttons.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: We recently met at the Beffta 2012 awards where you bagged the Best Male Designer of the year award for the second year running. How did that feel for you?
Zekaryas Solomon: It was certainly an honour to be nominated and win twice as it showed me that people are aware of what I am doing, which is not easy in the very competitive world of fashion. When they announced that I was the ‘winner’ at the just concluded Beffta awards 2012, my knees were so weak and shaky that I had to call on the strong side of me to get up and graciously receive the award. Once up on stage, when I saw how many people there were, it really hit home and I genuinely felt fabulous.I could not have imagined being selected as one of Africa’s Top 10 designers, then winning two best menswear designers awards within two weeks. These honours have certainly inspired me and helped with me realising my future plans.
Afrocentricity Unleashed:: So there was a second award, right?
Zekaryas Solomon: Yes just two weeks after winning the BEFFTA award, I was nominated for Menswear Designer of the Year 2012 for Fashion Finest. I really couldn’t believe it when I won again. I am really so grateful to my family, friend, clients and fans for believing in me and for all their support. And last but most definitely not least to God for his guiding hand.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: Where can our readers view your range of designs?
Zekaryas Solomon: For now everyone can find my designs
We are working on the new website to be launched in 2013, which will incorporate an online shop, and some new exciting sections. You can keep up to date in the meantime with my facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/zekaryas.solomon
Afrocentricity Unleashed: What advice do you have for aspiring fashion designers?
Zekaryas Solomon: The only thing I would love to say is believe in yourself have passion, and be prepared for all kinds of challenges.
Afrocentricity Unleashed: Do you have anything to say to our readers, your fans and clients out there?
Zekaryas Solomon: Oh yes, I want to say again and again THANK YOU for believing in me and giving me the strength to succeed with my everyday challenges. I would not be here where I am today without everyone’s support. God bless you all.
Afrocentricity Unleashed : Zekaryas Solomon, Afrocentricity Unleashed is very grateful to you for honouring this interview. We wish you the very best in your endeavours, and look forward to having you back here in the future
Zekaryas Solomon: Likewise I feel honoured to be asked for an interview and delighted that you wanted to share a little about me with your readers.
LOOK OUT FOR ZEKARYAS SOLOMON’S 2012/13 FASHION COLLECTION UNDER OUR REVIEW CENTRE VERY SOON!