Dolapo James is the Nigerian designer behind Urbanknit, a range of home accessories and fashion items featuring the bold prints and bright colours of Africa, but with a modern twist. An architect by qualification, Dolapo launched Urbanknit in 2006, combining traditional African prints and fabrics with modern materials and designs. She spends her time between Lagos and London.

DECO speaks to Dolapo about her latest range, the Zebra Pop cushions

Zebra pop cushions

What is the inspiration behind Urbanknit?
We love bold prints, bright colours and interesting textures, and incorporate these elements into our handmade designs. We particularly love using traditional African prints and fabrics, combining them with modern fabrics like denim, corduroy, silk and cotton to make accessories that are durable yet interesting. So the old tradition meets the new world.

Where does the Zebra Pop fabric come from?
The material is a traditional woven fabric and comes from Southern Nigeria.

What excites you about design? And design in Africa specifically?
For me, design is exciting because it is never fixed and is always evolving. With time, with experiences and with technology, it is ever changing. I love that African design is often used to tell a story, and is usually informed by a rich history and culture that is captured in the finished result – be it in the use of pattern, colour or composition.

What’s your favourite space in your home?
I’d have to admit that it is my work studio as it is filled with light, colour and interesting findings from places I have visited.

What are you currently working on?
I am currently finishing the winter collection of wool and alpaca accessories.

Where can people buy your items?
Urbanknit is available online at and ships internationally.


Twitter and Instagram: @urbanknit