Meet the designer: Amechi Mandi

Amechi Mandi portrait

Amechi makes luxurious fabrics inspired by indigenous African cultures. We sat down with the brilliant designer behind the brand (and former Pookster) Amechi Mandi, to find out about how he's bringing his stunning interpretations of traditional patterns and colours into home decor...

Here's our exclusive Q&A...


Tell us about your background in design - how did you get started in working with textiles?

As far as I can remember, I always had an interest in beautiful things. As a little boy I would rearrange things at home to make them prettier… I quickly became the style consultant of the family!

I worked in the fashion industry for years before studying furniture and product design, experiences which all helped to inform and shape my aesthetic.

I didn't really set out to work with textiles, it just happened that after I realised that, in interiors, my cultural heritage wasn't being represented in a commendable way – a lot was just cliche. Knowing there was so much potential and beauty in indegenous textiles which were quickly being forgotten by my community, I decided to do something – instead of just complaining about what I was seeing.


How did you come to start the Amechi brand?

I think I had the idea as far back as 2013 but it took shape gradually. During this time I moved to the UK, went to study design, and gained a clearer vision. I launched the brand in December 2020, during the pandemic. I was on furlough at the time and so was blessed with all the time in the world to put everything together


There is a strong ethic as well as aesthetic behind Amechi and its African-inspired designs. Can you tell us a little about the philosophy behind the brand?

The brand focus on indigenous and pre-colonial African traditions and cultures forms a core part in the design of our textiles.  We are just about to launch the second series of our first collection, Kirdi.

The first series of the collection was a quasi direct interpretation of the traditional textiles – it was very important for me to showcase the indegenous textiles in their intrinsic beauty as much as I could.

The second series is a bit more nuanced, where I bring to play my own creativity, putting my own twist to the shapes, playing with the motifs and working the colours a bit differently. And this is the direction I would like to see this going. 

However, the beading will remain the common thread in all the designs. I have made sure to maintain the handwork effect of the beading, with its little breaks, a bead missing in the weave, a misplaced colour of bead here and there and so on. Maintaining the generations-old handmade effect, and all the aspects that are the charm of such work.

amechi cushions

Sapowaygo and Sapowaydidi cushions by Amechi


Do you have a personal favourite of your own designs (for Amechi or anything from your past) - one that’s special to you?

I think this changes constantly...At the moment I like the designs of the new series about to be launched. But once I have some new designs I'll be excited about, these will be my favourite!  I suppose the time will come when I will have favourites but at the moment, the early stage of the brand, my energy is childishly focused on the new stuff and getting excited all over again.


Do you think people are becoming bolder with colours and patterns? And is there a piece of advice you would give to someone thinking of experimenting with their home decor but perhaps nervous of straying from neutrals?

To say I don't follow trends would not be true, but in the case of the brand, I wouldn't have done it any differently were the wind of change not blowing towards colours and patterns. 

To someone venturing from neutrals, I would say just take baby steps, and find something to match. There is always something you can use to start and which doesn't need to be expensive. That yellow in your wall framed photograph for example could be the harmony point between your grey sofa and the yellow themed cushion you've been eyeing.

Little steps with accessories like vases, coffee table books, fresh flowers are the many ways to spruce up with colour. There are also a lot of resources out there now like Pinterest boards and Instagram hashtags to find inspiration.

Cushions by Amechi


As well as fabrics, you’ve recently collaborated with Dado on a wallpaper collection. How did you find that experience?

It was an enjoyable experience. I'd considered designing wallpaper at some point in the future but wasn't planning on doing it with the current collection and was very flattered when Dado approached me to do a wallpaper collaboration with them. 

Dado loved the colours and the beadwork effect of the designs  and thought they would look great as wallpaper. We exchanged ideas where I offered some alternative design options which they liked, we then reworked those into the beautiful prints we now see.

Diyetati cushion by Amechi

We loved having you at Pooky! Did your experience with Pooky help you as you launched Amechi – and do you still have a favourite Pooky light?

I very much think so. Having been at Pooky from 2014 when it started and experiencing its meteoric growth for the five years I was there was definitely a great experience and gave me an invaluable wealth of knowledge of the UK design industry. The great customer service ethic is one thing I have carried on in my own business. 

Pooky has such beautiful lamps that you can easily get confused about what to go for if you are short on purpose. I did get quite a few lights myself while I was at Pooky. My favourite were the resin lamps, the Disco series, and the Mistra which I use alongside the 18cm Tulasi drop shade as bedside lamps.


What’s next for Amechi?

Besides the textiles, I would like to branch out into other aspects of design and I am currently working on new designs such as a mirror, trays, as well ceramics. Hopefully these will be ready to show for SS23! 

cushions by amechi

Shop Amechi's beautiful designs at and follow him on Instagram and Pinterest.