FASHION STATEMENT WITH OKIKI MARINHO
by Ladun Ogidan
No matter what every woman rocks, one fashion statement she can’t do without is a bag. Okiki Marinho is a brand that is gaining momentum in the fashion industry. In this interview, Okiki Marinho, the creative director shares the brand’s future as an emerging trend setter.
When did you discover you wanted to venture into fashion?
From an early age, I had shown a keen interest in fashion and I used to look forward to visiting boutiques with my mum. I was always fascinated by women and their varying taste in clothes, and was intrigued by how they paired items. I went on to study Economics at university then worked at investment banks and the oil and gas industry before I finally waved bye to the corporate world in 2012. Fashion became a full-time job for me.
Who are your major influences?
I have always looked up to brands like DVF, Karen Millen and Zac Posen for clothes. For the bags, designs by Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Celine always make me aspire to become one of the sought after brands, globally.
How difficult has it been since takeoff in 2012?
I have grown the business organically so we haven’t needed to borrow money to keep the business going. We have a strong base of loyal customers who keep coming back because they are getting quality clothing and bags at very competitive rates.
Your brand has evolved from Liberal Designs to Okiki Marinho. What necessitated this change and how well has the brand been received?
I noticed that when customers referred my brand to friends and families, they always called it by my name and hardly ever referred to it as Liberal Designs. It was the logical thing to do. The name has been well received and is gaining momentum online.
What major brands have you partnered with?
I am yet to partner with a brand.
Do you source your leather locally?
The leathers are bought from local suppliers who buy from Italy, Spain to name a few.
What makes an Okiki Marinho product stand out from its contemporaries?
Our bags are fully handcrafted. We take pride in the top quality and finishing of each product. The bags have been designed to stand the test of time. We see them as investments and not just a fad.
Tell me about the most unique piece you have created?
I created a bag called The Talking Drum. The bag was designed to give women a voice. I want women to stop hiding and instead speak out about various issues affecting their daily lives. We presented a yellow Talking Drum Bag to super model Millen Magese in New York as it represents her fight against endometriosis a condition that she has battled all her life.
What is your assessment of the Nigerian fashion industry?
I feel the industry is still in its infant stage. Even at that, the industry is making a lot of money for the economy and I feel the government needs to support it more so that we can start having a strong influence on the foreign market.
What is your opinion of the ongoing fashion revolution with breakout designers on the Nigerian scene?
I feel these are exciting times. The world of fashion is evolving and because of the power of social media now, fashion has become a one-stop shop. By this I mean you can order items from literally anywhere in the world; fashion is connecting us globally. That means Nigerian designers can tap into this and get their names out there.
What’s next for Okiki Marinho?
We are currently updating our website to have a payment platform as we have been receiving orders from abroad. We intend to increase our visibility in the UK and US in the coming months by partnering with various shops.
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