A local fashion designer with an unlikely start has fashioned himself into a success story.
Born in the United Kingdom and raised in Nigeria, Chuks Collins graduated Lagos State University in 2006 with a Bachelor’s Degree in accounting and entered the corporate sector.
Ultimately, Collins’ passion for design and styling made him consider entering the fashion and entertainment worlds.
In 2012, Collins was at the height of his career in Lagos, Nigeria.
His designs were sold in five local stores and he had clients in London, the U.S. and Milan.
Life seemed like a dream for then 28-year-old Collins who that same year received an invitation to showcase his designs at New York Fashion Week.
However, in September 2012, Collins was severely injured in a car accident sustaining wounds to his head and leg.
The worst came in January 2013 when Collins was re-admitted to the hospital with an infected leg and learned the complications had led to kidney disease.
Despite several agonizing months of expensive treatments and dialysis, Collins needed a kidney transplant.
His fashion industry and parish friends provided financial support to send him to New York Presbyterian Hospital for treatment.
After being discharged, Collins knew he owed his life to those who came to his rescue and decided to ‘pay it forward’ by volunteering with Housing Works.
“I’m going to use my gift as a tool to give back to others,” he said.
Collins, now a Crotona resident, draws inspiration from nature, the journey of the human experience and one’s sense of identity to create his couture.
“From a very young age, I’ve always had this zeal to dress people in my own way,” he shared.
The Art Institute of NYC Class of 2015 alum sketches and fabricates his designs inside his one-bedroom apartment.
Collins works with private clients through the entire design process from initial concept development to the finished garment.
His collection offers ready-to-wear fashions for men and women who appreciate sophisticated style.
Collins’ designs appear on the runways of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Atlanta International Fashion Week and Nigeria Fashion Weeks.
He also produced a 70-piece collection of dresses displayed during the Miss Intercontinental Pageant in Germany.
Collins has styled for print and television and serves as a costume designer for Hollywood films.
This September, Collins’ ensembles were showcased in the The Dream: Fall 2017 Benefit Fashion Show and Silent Auction for NYFW.
The charitable event raised $43 million for the Oando Foundation’s Adopt-A-School initiative helping Nigerian children.
Launched as Kholyns Couture in 2006, his brand was renamed Chuks Collins in 2015 to reflect his second chance at life.
In 2015, he founded Fashion Vie, a non-profit utilizing creative industry to support social justice and worldwide human justice issues and access to healthcare.
Collins said a private cocktail reception for buyers, reporters, boutique and fashion owners is planned for this November.
The venue is being finalized.
For more information, visit www.chuks