Like a lot of us growing up in some of London’s more economically ‘deprived’ areas, the hustle mentality becomes a part of you, and becoming creative with her resources, Tinomi, founder of Kill Babe, birthed a brand that is made to uplift and strengthen women of colour - it’s made for the baddest - a way to really showcase the individual taste of its wearer and embody the beauty of a London girl setting trends. “It’s interesting having grown up in inner London seeing fashions little Black girls wore and styled becoming trends, cheap accessories that we used to buy in Black hair shops now being sold in Urban Outfitters for £20+, or white girls with intricately shaped ‘baby hair’ on high fashion runways.” The 24-year-old Nigerian born designer is using Kill Babe to take back ownership of the fashion statements that young Black girls so proudly sport, and take that to a level that can be accessible for any girl, without theft or appropriation - we can all have an essence of bad ass with Kill Babe.
What does Kill Babe mean to you?
“Kill Babe is a name I mulled over for a while. Women - particularly women of colour - are not told their worth, we’re taught we’re more desirable when we’re meek and self-deprecating. Kill Babe rejects that and encourages unapologetic self love. It’s essentially a statement of empowerment and, in a sense, encouragement for those that need it.”
What inspired you to create your brand?
“I felt like I had a statement to make, and needed a way to convey it. Kill Babe seemed like the perfect outlet as some of the most powerful statements have been made through fashion.”
Describe the girl that wears Kill Babe, who is she?
“I’m not sure why, when, or how drunk I was, but I think I once said the line ‘make mixtapes for pretty brown girls that won’t look at you’ - I initially imagined that being the Kill Babe girl. She’s obsessed over and emotionally aloof. She’s also obsessed with herself, she puts herself first. Ultimately, I’d like Kill Babe to represent all women and femmes of colour - that’s very important to me.”
The fashion forward designer is completely self-taught and is actually quite the intellectual, studying Biomedical Science at University and then moving on to Law. The perfect example of a Boss Chick who can do it all and I think when I first came across Kill Babe on Instagram it’s that energy that drew me to make a purchase. The witty captions on the photos that spoke on female empowerment or mental health made it clear to me that this was a brand I wanted to be associated with. It’s for the girls who know themselves, what they want, are unapologetic with who they are, and the “BADGAL” tee is now one of my wardrobe go to’s. The attention to detail is dope, with labels that read sassy quotes like, “I am a work of art, I am in awe of myself” or “when you look better than everyone who hates you” - it’s easy to fall in love with the culture relevant, comfortable clothing.
We see Rihanna is inspo for your ‘Gram and also some clothing items. What is it about her you like so much?
“Honestly I think I’m drawn to her because she’s an embodiment of so much of what Kill Babe is about. Apart from that, I like the fact that she’s pretty unfiltered and remained true to herself and her roots - which can be near impossible as a prominent Black woman in an industry run by white men. In terms of fashion, all her outfits bang. Everything just works.”
Many of your pieces are slogan or text based, how do you go about choosing or creating the fonts?
“Sometimes I just have an image in my mind of exactly what I want and I search until I find it, but sometimes I have to play around for so long with size, shape, composition, colour before I’m satisfied. I’m very particular about things, which is good, but it’s also awful. I know the font and design are right when I have absolutely no compulsion to go back to it for probably the fiftieth time.”
Your clothing feels quite DIY and we’ve seen pieces that are made-to-order, would you like to keep it like this as you grow?
“Yeah, for the most part it’s super DIY. Kill Babe started off with me just experimenting with transfer prints on T-Shirts and the experimental element stuck. I think DIY and made-to-order pieces are what have worked best for me as I currently work alone and still have limited resources, and the DIY aspect also aids my creativity. Doing everything yourself has become a lot more difficult as the brand has gotten such unexpected interest and increase in demand so quick. I feel like I’ve been doing this for so long but it’s crazy to think I only started a few months ago. I would love to expand Kill Babe as a brand, at which point I would consider changing around a few things, partly for my own sanity, but also to be able to get items and orders completed much quicker. I'm always looking for more efficient ways to work.”
Who’s style do you admire?
“I love my Mum’s style, she always looks good! She’s an icon, I aspire to be her.”
What drew you towards fashion design?
“My Mum sparked my interest in fashion design - my Grandma was a successful and well loved seamstress in Apapa, Lagos. she’d make clothes for my Mum, which I feel moulded her style and creativity. She picked up technical skills from my Grandma and although I have nowhere near the same skill, she encouraged me to sketch outfits and designs from an early age.”
Does music influence your creativity? If so what kind of music do you listen to when you work?
“I listen to music while I work more so because it increases my productivity. Grime is my go-to genre for all situations. Tempa T’s voice is particularly motivating. But at the moment I’m listening to Section constantly, and 67.”
“I’m actually working on some pieces influenced by Grime and London youth, which I can’t wait to get done.”
How would you describe your own personal style?
“My style is hard to describe. I’ve been very lazy with fashion lately. I literally throw things together and somehow make them work - it’s very mix and matched. I’m not trendy lol”
You speak about empowerment of women of colour. What do you hope your creativity will do for these women?
“As I said, I really hope the message Kill Babe conveys is that it’s okay to love yourself without reservation, it’s okay to be ‘bossy’ and assertive, it’s okay to acknowledge your self-worth. As someone who has always struggled with anxiety and issues with my image, it’s a message I wish I’d absorbed so long ago(!)”
What do you see next for Kill Babe?
“At the moment I don’t know (honestly). Kill Babe has already surpassed my expectations so I hope for big things. Currently working on a very cool collab that I can’t wait to get done. And I’m hoping to expand on the basics and eventually create ‘serious’ fashion pieces. Bossy things.”