Elena Budu and Nanjika Sallet
Hello Elena and Nanjika! First things first, how did you guys get into fashion?
When we were younger we both had mothers who didn’t understand our personal style for a very long time. So I think that in the end we wanted to make clothes for ourselves from very young. This is what we did, and growing up it just started to make sense. Elena studied fashion in Brazil and Milan, and I (Nanjika) studied graphic design in South Africa, before we met at ESMOD in Paris, 7 years ago. From then we met and we always kind of knew, we would do this together.
How would you describe your work in three words?
Graphic, Embellished and Play.
What pushed you to start your own label?
We were both working for other brands at the time, and we just kind of got tired of the exploitation that happens to young designers in this industry. So we figured that we would just do it for ourselves. This is about the time when we met Marie (our managing director) who was also a big booster in making Token possible.
We just kind of got tired of the exploitation that happens to young designers in this industry. So we figured that we would just do it for ourselves.
How do you find the Paris scene for fashion? Would you ever consider presenting your shows anywhere else?
Paris fashion week is great in the sense that you have so many people from everywhere coming for the same reasons to Paris. So networking in Paris is very interesting, but we don’t only present here. In the past we have done New York, London, Maastritch and Tokyo. We continue to travel and do as many fashion weeks as possible as we believe in going to the client instead of waiting for them to come to us. Especially in Japan, where we will present in Ambiance showroom, as this is one of our largest target markets that love our style. Although our clients remain mostly at export level, we are still based in Paris and will always present in Paris.
What are your main inspirations?
We are inspired by the 80’s and it’s pop icons of the time. Such as, Madonna, Michael Jackson, Freddie Mercury and David Bowie. The thing these people have in common is the ability to create an identity through the way they look. The 80’s were fun, even though we were very young back then, we still have the influence from our parents and cultural references.
Tell us more about your FW17 collection.
Our last collection FW17 represents a moment that we went through as a young brand. The name Beroke is a mash up between the words Baroque and Broke. As young designers you invest so much to make the most beautiful collections possible and to show to the world that you are glamorous enough for approval. That to your last penny you try, even though you are broke. As for the Baroque period, this was a time when showing your riches was so important for social status. This for us still translates to today.
How was your show/after party last Friday?
A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!! Like a tattoo, its stressful and long for preparation but once done you want to do it all over again! Plus it was our first big event, so we really wanted to go from show to party, and create this experience of a huge celebration. We worked with so many collaborators that helped us make this happen, our stylist Cem Cinar, the jewelry brand Laruicci, Vava eyewear and Omega Napoli gloves. Music was done by Bamao Yendé (Boukan Records), Demian (Kompact). It was a truly amazing collaborative and it was time.
Do you have a favourite material to work with?
Velvet… every winter
So, what’s next for TOKEN?
Now that we have done our first show, we plan to continue to do shows for all future collections. We are already preparing for October PFW and want to continue the idea of working with collectives and pushing the collaborations and the show/party format of presenting. Young designers sticking together to make it, in this crazy fashion world.
By Jessica Leclercq Portrait ©Iris Valles Saez Others ©Haze Alieu