This video report features Eno Enyieokpon, a Nigerian-born, Black fashion designer who has lived in Kyiv, Ukraine, for years and identifies as a Black Ukrainian.
Believing he was going to be killed because of the escalating racism and chaos unleashed by the war, Eno fled Kyiv. He says he did not want to leave Ukraine at first, but was left with no choice after some military men stopped him on the street and eyed him up while calling him racist names.
“There are no rules in war, so I had to go,” he said.
Prior to the war, Eno was already making waves as a fashion designer and was working on a collaboration with Mitsubishi Motors. But the war and increasing uncertainty upended his project, so he left for Budapest, Hungary, where, shortly after his arrival, he showed his collection during the local fashion week.
In the film, Eno speaks candidly about his life in Ukraine as a Black man, and how he remains determined to make it despite the daily difficulties posed by racism. He reflects on his work as a fashion designer and how fashion facilitates an outlet for him to communicate his personal message, may it be political, personal, or creative.
“I'll continue whatever it may be. If the war comes, I'll continue. If you stop me from here, we'll move to the next phase … I think that's why I have the willpower to just continue because I've been going through racism, going through a lot of rejections. But there is no room for turning back,” he said.