If you’re looking for a way to have chic, comfortable clothes that actually make a difference in the world, look no further than Obakki. Founded by Treana Peake in 2005, Obakki is a fashion line of detailed garments, and a corresponding foundation that drills water wells in South Sudan. 100% of donations go directly to drilling wells so families can build homes and establish communities around these stable sources of water.
On top of a real philanthropic impact, Obakki also has really lovely clothes–it’s a win-win for all involved. We caught up with Treana Peake, the founder and mastermind behind Obakki to find out how she “makes it” and makes fashion with a purpose.
Fashionista: What inspired you to start Obakki?
Treana Peake: I was always a very creative person, and I was looking at ways to use my creativity to bring attention to the philanthropic activities I was working on. I have always been involved in philanthropy, I’ve worked with charities in Africa for many years, so being able to merge my creative talents and philanthropy is why I started the line. Now I have Obakki which tells the story of the Sudan and various proceeds from Obakki go to creating water wells there.
What inspires your designs?
My inspirations come directly from the fieldwork I do in South Sudan. I see a lot of hardship, but at the same time I try to see the beauty in everything as well. I’m picking up creative inspirations every step of the way.
What background did you have in fashion before your started Obakki?
I had more of a creative direction background, I didn’t have a formal design background, but I have been managing companies for years. I just sort of threw myself into it. I have one-stop house-meets-design studio where we do everything from design to manufacture, so it’s a quick and easy way to dive into it.
Why is it important to you to have your business under one roof?
Fashion is a many-layered business, and there are many aspects that you have to pay attention to–it’s not just designing clothes. Having everything under one roof allows me to have my hands in everything and allows me to be able to attach my voice to every single part of my company. I want to know everyone who is working for me and really feel a part of the process in every way.
What’s a typical workday like for you?
I get up really early and I take my kids to school. I get to work and we usually meet in the morning and discuss the things that are inspiring us from a creative standpoint. We have a really collaborative team–everyone brings their dogs to work! We talk about the work that the Obakki Foundation is doing, so our day is full of brainstorming, and design, and business… I guess I just run around the entire day and then all of a sudden it’s time to go home! [laughs]