Winnie New York: A Legacy within the hands
Winnie New York is first and foremost a label founded by Idris Balogun, a Nigerian native raised in London, who pays tribute to his grandmother’s name, Princess Winifred Dademu. Twill suit jackets, trench coats, the tailor’s ‘hand’ that he was introduced to in his early days at Savile Row finds their way into this wardrobe where touches of colour and satin shirts electrify a newfound desire for Africa.
“For me, hands are all tied to crafts, to my grandmother who I used to see sewing, and fixing our clothes. Everything she did with her hands was, for me, the very expression of love. It was on Savile Row, at the age of 14, where I started as an apprentice, that I learned the craft, including how to make pants. By the time I was 18, I could make a whole suit. I was very young; I didn’t know what I was going to do. I was making extra money by making costumes for my graduate friends. For four years I worked with Christopher Bailey to define the Burberry silhouette. It was a wonderful time. I learned a lot about being an art director and not just a tailor. It was about adding a vision to the hands – beyond the cut, the execution. At Tom Ford, where I stayed for almost three years, I learned a sense of detail and hand-finishing, of a particular sophistication that ready-to-wear does not allow. Winnie New York is about combining my African heritage with everything I was exposed to in London, Los Angeles, and New York. My hands, wounded by pins, are open to learning. It is through them that I feel most connected to the world…”