The inspiring story behind clothing brand ENAKA: An Interview with Richmond Bessong
Richmond Bessong (Founder) along with Kevin Spalek (Co-Founder) are trying to change the industry. ENAKA is a street-rooted fashion label for both male and female with a unique and touching background story.
The brand was founded in memory of the late mother of Richmond. Grace Enaka was a confident woman but because of society's views on what people should look like, she no longer felt that confidence and felt uncomfortable within herself.
ENAKA was first launched in 2012 with a clear vision of what the brand will stand for. Till this day they have continued to pursue that goal. The brand represents a perspective by creating something of worth, meaning and most of all encouragement. Every product they put out features the "codes of self-realization" which is a concept of who you are as an individual. It is supposed to reset your mentality and to communicate from within.
We got to chat with Richmond to go a little deeper into the story behind ENAKA. We wanted to find out how they turned such a tragic situation into something so positive and inspirational.
Tell us about yourself, Where are you from?
My name is Richmond Bessong and I am the founder of ENAKA, a streetwear inspired fashion label from Germany. My parents are from Africa, but I was born and raised in Germany, so I have African roots and german values.
What were you doing before ENAKA?
When ENAKA was first founded in 2012 it was kind of like a local thing, so it wasn’t really a full-time job. I still went to school. I attended a technical school for business administration and economy. Nothing really creative so I needed a change of direction afterwards.
How did you cope with the loss of the late Grace Enaka?
To be honest I don’t feel like words can express what the loss of my mother did to me. It was a really hard time. I tried to be there for my family as much as possible. It was important to focus on what my mother had left behind. I felt like I needed to fill the void by staying strong in her name. She will always be my role model.
How did you turn the loss of the late Grace Enaka into a brand?
I always wanted to create a brand. Even at a really young age I was into fashion. My mother used to tell me to take my time with it. I think brands need to have a purpose. So at the time I didn’t really feel like I had one. After my mother was gone I tried to overcome my sorrow by creating something of meaning and encouragement: A brand dedicated to her. Ever since we are trying to empower people through our creations. That’s the ideology behind it.
Tell us about the collection?
The current collection is called Chapter One. It sort of lays the foundation of our brand. After years of being considered a t-shirt brand, we had finally gained the experience to release a full collection. It consists of 25 pieces, including a reworked version of the original „Story T-Shirt“ from 2012. The relaunch of those t-shirts really means a lot to me.
What was the most challenging aspect of your work?
I realized that it takes more than passion to keep your dream alive. Patience and perseverance are the most important things and definitely the most challenging because there will be doubters and setbacks along the way. You need to trust the process, work hard and believe in your ideas before you can see them.
What have you learnt from your experiences, and your experiences within the collection?
I learned that it needs a solid team to hang in there. Everyone needs to be on the same page. As of now, we are a team of two: ENAKA co-founder Kevin Spalek and myself. Reliability and trust are key elements when it comes to building a brand. In terms of our collection, we have come to realise that you need to bring something new to the table. Our statement pieces such as the „Story Parka“ are the canvas that our idea is living on, so I think we will start where we left off. Its a constant progression.
What does the future hold for the brand?
Our story needs to be heard, so we are currently focusing on that. This February we will go to Los Angeles to spread the word overseas. As far as other plans go, I feel like the concept behind ENAKA is basically limitless. We would like to do so many projects in different fields, especially on a cultural level. I believe in destiny, so all we can make is plans, right? The rest is up to god, in my opinion.
Hearing this story touched RICHMAGAZINEUK and not only us, but it has impacted people including many celebrities like Maejor Ali, (ft. Justin Bieber), Iman Shumpert (NBA Star) and will continue to spread and touch lives every day.
ENAKA shows us that it is important to live this life with our head held high, never just focusing on the opinions of others, but to follow our heart. The brand also shows how to embrace self-empowerment, your identity and reminds you that you need to love yourself in a world that is full of high expectations.