Known as the ‘Prince of Prints’ , Chu Suwannapha (founder and creative director of Brand Chulaap ) serves a different kind of exotic in his new summer of 2018/19 look book named ‘Birds of Paradise’.

Based in Cape Town, South Africa, the evolvement of his print game goes hand in hand with his travel experiences and curiosities that consistently tie back to his core theme of ‘celebrating Africa’. It’s always a maximal display of strikingly bold colors, a dramatic clash of prints and a distinct mix of texture. For his latest summer collection, he draws direct inspiration from his trip to Lagos, Nigeria earlier this year.

Here, in conversation with the designer, he tells us more in his own words about his inspiration and creative outlook.

“My summer story is from my first experience in Lagos, Nigeria where I showcased at Arise Fashion Week in the beginning of the year. It’s a typical Chulaap story of mixing and balancing print, color and texture but slightly more evolved as I play with new textures and colours for this season. Colors are reminiscent of a West African sunrise and sunset. And the cut is loose and comfortable, directly inspired by the ‘street style’ dress code in Lagos.

The humidity and the rich cultural dressing in Nigeria is a huge inspiration for me. It’s bold and ‘flowy’. So my silhouettes take on this form-more boxy, and flowing more similar to a traditional kaftan style. You will find long, shapeless bowling shirts, box jackets, summer trenches, shorts and kimono pants.

Even though I am playing with less print this season compared to my last four seasons, every print tells a story. My prints and textures are layered to make up a contemporary graphic look, with the use of stripes and squares. And to give an illusion of depth by adding layers of the same colour prints but in different size scales.

To bring about different levels of detail, I focused on using a number of different textured fabrics like lace, embroidery anglais, crochet detailed linen table clothes and matte sequins.

Of course, the color palette encompasses a whole range of pastels and blues from the majestic early morning and evening African skies, including the sparkling white of the evening stars, more tropical shades, gold and black.

I can describe this collection as bright, bold, fresh, unpredictable and modern.

CHULAAP from the beginning is all about celebrating Africa.

In this lookbook, ‘Birds of Paradise’ I’m bringing tropical vibes to the city. It’s a bright, bold and sultry summer. Mixing striking colours together with the traditional African prints in new silhouettes distinguishes the looks as dramatic and attractive. This introduces a different and distinct way of visualizing traditional African prints.”


(As seen on Vogue Italia)



Model: Gideon Stephen Allen at 20 Model Management

Hat: Crystal Birch

Stylist: Louw Kotze

Photographer: Michael Oliver Love

CHULAAP Stockists:


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