Profile and Q&A: Treana Peake
Treana Peake is a Canadian fashion designer. In 2005 she founded Obakki, a luxury brand that focuses on urban, easy-to-wear and effortlessly cool clothes for women. Treana believes that collaboration and innovation are the keys to staying current in fashion; her sexy styles evolve season after season thanks to the eclectic input from the fashion collective she oversees. Recently her collections have been featured in top fashion publications such as Vogue, InStyle, and WWD. Her modern vision and progressive working methods have paid off: the Obakki flagship store in Vancouver, Canada won the Governor General’s award, and Obakki retail points span the globe.
Aside from fashion, Treana’s heart has always been in philanthropy; ever since she can remember, she has looked for ways to integrate her two passions. Her vision finally became a reality in 2009, when she launched the Obakki Foundation. Focusing on educational development and clean water projects, the Foundation uses the fashion world as a vehicle to raise funds and awareness for big-picture global issues. Over the past 15 years, Treana has traveled to Africa, living and working in the very environments that she seeks to transform, and getting to know the people that she has committed to empower. She recently launched the Obakki Foundation collection, consisting of screen-printed t-shirts, scarves and totes, with 100% of the proceeds destined to help children in orphanages in Cameroon. Her goal is to bring together artists, musicians, actors and “movers and shakers” to promote self-sufficiency, health and education in African villages.
Treana fully embodies the values and aesthetics of the Obakki customer: she is a wife and mother, a humanitarian, a businesswoman, and a global citizen who understands that true style and a commitment to making the world a better place are by no means mutually exclusive.
CMV: How do you define creativity and apply it in your career?
TP: Creativity is an outlet for passion. A platform to show things that move me. My work motto is using ‘creativity as a medium for change’.
CMV: Where do you find your best creative inspiration?
TP: I find inspiration in things that are real and in moments, interactions or places that move me. If I don’t feel it, I am not inspired. Most of my inspiration comes from my field work. EX - standing in the middle of a cattle camp in South Sudan - (one of the worlds last pastoralist communities), or dancing around a clean water well with a community in a remote village. MOMENTS that are meaningful are my source of inspiration.
CMV: What’s the one creative advice or tip you wish you’d known as a young person?
TP: I spent a lot of time and energy trying to infuse projects with my passion rather than letting go and allowing my passions to determine my projects. I wish I had figured that out earlier - as the things I do now come from a very real and inspiring place.
CMV: Who would you like to hear speak at CreativeMorning?
TP: Michael Greene - architect.
CMV: What keeps you awake at night?
TP: I wake up many nights inspired about upcoming projects or campaigns - thinking of different ways to use creativity to create change. I have so many stories to tell - and at night I dream up ways to tell them.
CMV: What has been one of your biggest Aha! moments in life?
TP: Sitting in a village called Alel Chok in South Sudan as the elder read to me old water proverbs (in his native dialect) . At times development work can be overwhelming and in that very moment everything I have ever done came crashing down on me. I realized that I didn’t have to save the entire world - I just had to keep moving forward one village at a time. Our water well changed the lives of the people in Alel Chok and that was what mattered at that very moment, and what has mattered to me ever since. Sometimes we set lofty goals (which is GREAT) but in order to not get lost along the way, we need to allow ourselves to rejoice the successes as they come. Since Alel Chok (which was our first water well in SOUTH SUDAN), we have drilled over 300 more wells - each one inspired by my moment under the tree with the elder.