Introducing Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa Collection

You’ve probably heard it before ‘ out with the old, in with the new’. But at Adire lounge we’ve found a perfect blend for both the old and the new to have congruence, hence the Aro- Ewa collection.

The collection is borne out of the belief that being ancient in spirit, yet modern in expression is the perfect scenario to remain consistent and relevant in our ever changing world of sustainable fashion.

Aro Ewa simply translated as ‘Dyed Beauty’is the recreation of contemporary patterns; employing old age historical techniques, coupled with the rich indigo dye, reminiscent of African indigenous designs, in order to celebrate our old Adire heritage.

At the heart of the collection, ensuring sustainability of the fashion value chain is paramount; from farmer to designer, the use of cotton fabric grown and milled in Nigeria, and our collaboration with other creatives in the industry like Denike online, Henri Uduku and Busayo Longe attests to our commitment to showcasing our brand ethos of ‘Made in Nigeria’.

By this, we believe our existence as an indigenous premium brand would contribute greatly in reviving the local manufacturing sector; modernizing the art of textile design, while inspiring more people to embrace original African fashion that have history and art infused within them as wearable pieces.

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty CollectionAdire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection Adire Lounge Aro-Ewa -Dyed Beauty Collection

Adire Lounge is a member of the Bellafricana familyas a member the business gains visibility, growth, voice & credibility. Bellafricana with the support of the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is a platform that connects producers of creative indigenous products like Adire lounge with their consumers locally and globally.

For more detail about Bellafricana follow @bell_africana 0n Instagram, bellafricana on Facebook and Twitter.

Bye for now!

The Adire Inspired Brands You Should Know

Here are some Adire inspired brands you should know. At Bellafricana, not only are we consciously focused on the growth and success of our members, we are also creating an enabling community where they can cooperate, collaborate and thrive.

Adire textile as you may already know, pronounced as Ah-DEE-reh is an age old indigo die textile indigenous to the Yoruba tribe of the Southwestern Nigeria.

This textile is rich in beauty and culture as much a

s it has a rich history. Some have claimed that the diverse history originated centuries ago before it was then adopted. You should click here to read the culled history written.

Meet Bibire Fawehinmi, founder Asologe (click image to go to brand page)

Bibire Asologe founder bellafricana verified member

Asologe is inspired by various kinds of fabric designs, mostly Adire and the designers love for unique prints that portray the African culture accurately, while giving her designs an urban edge.

Asologe adire fabricAsologe adire scarf Asologe adire fabric bellafricana verified







Meet Jadesola Rawa founder Melia by Jade, adire inspired brands (click image to go to brand page)

Melia by Jade is a clothing brand in Nigeria that started about a year ago. The brand uses Adire, Tie & Dye, Kampala, Batik to design contemporary outfits such as shorts, jackets, playsuits, cape dresses, pants etc for the modern day, every day woman.

Melia by Jade adire kimono made in Nigeria adire inspired brand bellafricana verifiedMelia by Jade Nadu skirt made in Nigeria adire inspired brand bellafricana verifiedMelia by Jade new collection adire work dress made in Nigeria









Meet Cynthia Okochu, founder Adire Lounge (click image to go to brand page)

Cynthia Okochu founder Adire lounge Bellafricana member

The Adire lounge Textile Company has a mission of creating prosperity for African women, youths and their families. They achieve prosperity by creating unique, hand crafted products such as fabrics, scarves, tshirts and more of the highest quality.

Adire fabrics by adire Lounge Bellafricana verified member adire inspired brandsAdire-Lounge-Pink-and-White-Unisex-Socks bellafricana verified adire inspired brands made in NigeriaAdire scarf bellafricana verified adire inspired brands made in Nigeria


For the love of adire, have these products below;

ile ila-line-eyo_spirit-Adire bellafricana verified brand

Mmabon adire top bellafricana verified made in Nigeria

Oeclat Adire bag bellafricana verified made in Nigeria leather and adire bag

Patterned-Omorinsola-Dress-by-EONL-womens-office-wear bellafricana verified made in Nigeria

What really is this Bellafricana about? Bellafricana is the leading platform that empowers, supports and provides creative Indigenous Businesses with a platform to showcase their business and connect to their global consumers looking to patronise and trade with them.

Need quality creative products, think bellafricana!

What is your Mission: To Make Finding Quality Indigenous Businesses Easier.

But Why: We noticed a vast increase in the number of unique quality creative products made in Nigeria (Africa) but noticed a huge gap between local creative Indigenous Entrepreneurs and consumers.

Hence, we created this platform to bridge that gap. What better way than through online, which gives it a global opportunity.

Click here to Learn more about how to grow Your Unique Indigenous Business with Bellafricana

NEPC cannot do it alone, we are the export we seek

Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) truly cannot do it alone, we are the export we seek.

I always hear of small businesses wanting to start exporting.

Interestingly, some are yet to even grow capacity enough to serve Ibadan not to talk of Lagos, then Nigeria, then Intra-trade and International trade.

I mean, I get it and in fact it’s the right thing to have the end goal in mind or have a bigger market in mind.

Yes, even here at Bellafricana our dream is that one day, every one of our verified members will be selling to consumers globally, but realistically we also say let’s start with more consumers locally and then grow a sustainable brand with global demands.

However, have you ever thought to think that you are the export you seek (wait I am getting somewhere, don’t rush off, keep reading).

When you are travelling out of the country, do you load your box with proudly Made in Nigeria attires, accessories etc asides your food gifts??

Or am I reaching too high? Ok ask yourself this: you Nigerian business owner, footwear brand owner, etc do you patronize other fashion, accessories, lifestyle… brand owners? .

When last did you consciously decide to wear Nigerian?

I am not talking about the buyers here for now, I am talking about you growing a business locally in Nigeria, producing locally etc.

You say you want to make more sales, are you supporting your fellow MSME?

You say NEPC should help you, you want to export because they have a mandate for non oil export?
Do you realise the number of people unrealistically waiting for NEPC??

I always and will always say, at Bellafricana we don’t believe in waiting for the government, we believe in creating ideas that will improve the economy

Then you will see our leaders or MDs travelling out of Nigeria for various reasons suited up, what happened to our proudly Made/sewn in Nigeria attires please?? .

That’s why I respect Mr Olusegun Awolowo a lot, he genuinely wears Nigerian made and I have seen him personally buy from SMEs even if they are willing to dash him their products. As the CEO of NEPC, no not really, he doesn’t have to wear Nigerian attires, but he chooses to.

So today, as a champion of quality creative Indigenous businesses, I challenge you to remember that WE ARE THE EXPORT WE SEEK.

Dear producer, buy from other brands as much as you want to be bought from,

Dear consumers, patronize more Indigenous brands just because you are a #Bellafricanafamily.

Here are some attires and products to buy for your next trip (click image to go to business page);

Danfo adire print by adire lounge bellafricana verified
Danfo adire print by adire lounge


Moroks Xpression bellafricana verified
Akanmu – Moroks Xpression


Circa 64 earrings bellafricana verified made in Nigeria jewellery
Circa 64 earrings


Ethnik sneaker bellafricana verified made in Nigeria
Ethnik sneaker


Mona Matthews shoes and bags made in Nigeria bellafricana verified
Mona Matthews shoes and bags
African things back pack bellafricana verified
African things backpack



Marte Egele yellow bag bellafricana verified
Marte Egele yellow bag

When travelling, not every time food gifts to take along, sometimes product gifts (click image to page)

Asologe adire fabrics bellafricana verified
Asologe adire fabrics



African black soap by Sahara sunrise
African black soap by Sahara sunrise


Hibiscus naturals shower gel made in Nigeria Bellafricana NEPC
Hibiscus naturals shower gel



Ddee purses customised Made in Nigeria Bellafricana NEPC
Ddee purses customised

Visit for more creative products or check out the instagram page @bell_africana

Fashion in the Work Place: Spice up your Office Outfits

Wearing the same outfit to the office can get boring at some point; not to mention that we sometimes run out of clothes to wear, and having to decide what to wear again, every single day from our conventional office outfits can be frustrating. As a 9-5 worker myself, I just want to throw my hoodie on a nice pair of comfortable shorts, wear my slippers, cross my bag and head to work. Unfortunately, that’s a poor choice of outfit and I would probably lose my job.

The office isn’t exactly a place to show off your fashion skills and dress over the top but when you work in a big organization, you’re required to dress your best and look as presentable as possible. It’s worthy to note that fashion at the work place isn’t for females alone, as we love seeing our men dressed in a nice two or three piece designer suit.

Take away the conventional skirt, blouse/blazer and pair of flats for women, as well as the conventional black, brown or jean trouser, button-up shirt and boring polished shoes for men, you can take your office outfit from normal to creative whilst dressed in pure African made clothing, looking as elegant as possible.

So then, how can you spice up your office outfit without looking like you are going for a James Bond movie premier? I have selected a few office-worthy outfits from verified Bellafricana members for both  men and women to give you that office outfit inspiration.


I don’t know if it’s just me but there’s something “normal” about seeing female office workers dressed in skirt/pant suit, a blouse/blazer (usually black/navy blue), matched with a pair of flats. I mean, normal is boring and we see/wear those outfits everyday! You don’t have to be an American or work in America to dress like a fashion guru to the work place, and you don’t need to break the bank to do so either. You also don’t need to overdo your outfit to get compliments or turn heads at your work place; and that’s why I am here, to transform your office outfit.

Two-Piece Suit:

Female two piece suit, Fashion in the Work Place fabric made by Adire lounge bellafricana verified

I know, suit again, but this isn’t the conventional, dull looking office suit, thankfully! Fabric Made by Adire Lounge, this two piece suit is everything! It is super stylish, classy, and don’t get me started on the fabric. From the color assemble which is actually my favorite thing about this outfit to the V-line details, the pocket details and the button with that fluffy design, this outfit will certainly be my go-to to brighten my Monday and revamp my office wardrobe.

Best part is that this suit is a mixture of different colors so you have so many color options when deciding to pair it without looking too colorful and, regardless of your age, you can rock this suit to your office and still look classy. I would pair this outfit with a black inner like she did, a red shoe, minimal makeup with red lips to stand out, and probably a blue bag/purse to pull the whole look together.

You can also decide to add a few accessories like a silver dropping earring or bracelet, but go for minimal, less flashy accessories as the suit is colorful enough.


Female shoes by k aspen bellafricana verified

Push your flat shoes to the curb; heels at the office is a big yes for looking elegant and classy; just make sure to keep it below 4 inches. Pump’s are perfect for the work place because they’re not “party-like” or too flashy so you’ll still look work-ready and classy at the same time.

I actually love that this pump, made by K. Aspen is a mixture of two simple colors (mustard yellow and red), so this makes it office-ready and at the same time, you can turn it from a day-to-night shoe; probably for dinner. This pump also has similar colors as the two piece suit so its a perfect pair for it…outfit inspiration!

Wear your designer two piece suit, paired with this pump and you’re good to go for that jaw-dropping look once you arrive at the office. You can as well pair this shoe with a black, lace fitted gown to beautify the outfit, a yellow jumpsuit or whatever you’d like; the options are endless.


Women bags, insipre by pine tree bellafricana verified

Going to work without a bag? I didn’t think so! Bags are every woman’s best-friend; they’re where you keep makeup, accessories, books, even cats. Everything goes into your bags as they keep you organized on the go and are also made to complement your outfit, which is why just any bag can’t be pick when heading out.

Most people choose big bags but, I am transforming your office wears into something elegant and that includes bags; so no more gigantic bags. Small, purse-like bags are the new “it” because they keep you more organized than big bags which leaves searching for one thing or the other.

A black bag would be good but you need to add a little bit of color, which is why this Biro blue bag by Inspire by Pine Tree with a touch of Ankara is perfect. The color on its own is bright and beautiful and as such, it can complement any outfit, the bag is small, portable and chic. What’s not to like?


The only thing more attractive than a man who dresses well is a man who smells nice; but let’s talk about your outfit instead, and not your perfume. Your perfume can smell so nice but a good perfume on an ugly outfit is a big no! Button-up shirts and black/brown trouser is no longer in vogue, and it’s pretty boring now.

Not to mention that well dressed men are considered more attractive than women because of their masculine physique and strong facial look. As a guy, you don’t have to wear too much to look good; simplicity is key for men. Here’s how you can transform your office outfit:


Men suits

We’re not talking about the traditional suit but rather, a fashionable designer suit. Away with the ugly, grandpa suit and in with the modern James Bond suit! This suit by JZO Fashion is fashionable, simple and classic all in one; it’s also bright but not too flashy at the same time so it says “hello, notice me”.

This Biro blue suit with a touch of woven black by the waist pocket and plain black by the breast pocket, along with black pants is enough to create a bold look for any man, any day, anywhere. I love that there’s a distinction compared to other male suits as the jacket doesn’t end on the same line when you button it, and it has a touch of “Africa” with the noticeable detail on the waist pocket. Pair this outfit with a nice pair of wristwatch and a leather shoe, and you’re good to go. Best part is that you can take this suit from a day-to-night outfit as well so you get to turns heads both in and outside your office.


men shoes

Shoes are a necessity for every outfit and although most men wear sandals or sneakers to work, for an elegant office look, I prefer more of a premium, designer footwear suited for the office (not Nike sneakers; that’s for a day out). Looking at this shoe by Morok Xpression, it is breathtaking! There is no way you will wear this and not feel comfortable, everyone would even have their eyes on you because this shoe is a bold statement meant to pull together any look.

Sure, it is black but it is a shiny black made of high quality leather, and the fabric hanging halfway down from the buckle is another noticing detail. It is not an everyday shoe you will buy from the market which makes it the perfect choice of shoe. Your sandals will feel ordinary but pairing this shoe with a statement suit is sure to transform any boring office outfit into something elegant.

Choosing an outfit for the office can be a bit daunting; especially when you have worn everything you possibly own but when you have the right, elegant outfit and you know what to buy as well as what to pair it with, you will never run out of what to wear. Now that I’ve shown you how to transform a conventional office outfit to something elegant and classy, ditch that old pant suit, those button up shirts, old blouse or whatever it is you have and revamp your wardrobe by getting new, statement office pieces.

Meet The Founder Of Asologe Fashion House

One part of my job I love the most, is being able to connect with amazing entrepreneurs and founders of unique, Afrocentric and indigenous brands. It is truly an honor to be able to hear their stories directly from them, as they take you through the journey of why they started, how they started, and how far they have come.

Today’s interview feature is about an amazing young lady, who founded the Asologe Fashion House. AFH produces uniquely designed hand-dyes Adire fabrics that give your outfit a contemporary edge. Read our interesting conversation below. I know you will enjoy it.

  • Please introduce yourself and your background

HI…… My name is Bibire Fawehinmi, from the famous “Fawehinmi” family in Ondo town of Ondo west local government, Ondo state. Born into a family of a High court judge and an entrepreneur (fabric seller) with 2 siblings; an elder sister and a younger brother.

Lived all my childhood and teen years in Ondo with my parents. I studied Mathematics Education in the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, ile-ife in Osun state where I finished with an upper class.

  • Tell us about your work. How did Asologe Fashion House start?

I am a full time African print manufacturer and seller. Asologe Fashion House is a brand name I coined from my love for fabrics in general, maybe because I was born into it. I had always dreamed of owning one of the most luxurious fabric stores. Asologe which means ‘CLOTH IS FASHION’ simply explains itself.

  • How did you come about the name and what does it mean?

I love to call my business, Asologe, for a short………asides my love for prints, I got to know more about Adire while in camp in 2017 in Akwa Ibom during the one-week SAED training (smiles). My very first teacher goes by the name Pst Abiodun, then after the camp, I redeployed to Lagos but that didn’t stop me from learning more, I had a one month training with my teacher via WhatsApp. YouTube too was(is) a great teacher too.

  • What is your niche and how did you know it was a market to get into?

With this little knowledge from my boss, I started and I can boldly say that sustained me for more than 8months in the business. Later, I would go through some pages on Instagram and keep wondering how they dyed a particular design, then i knew I was obsolete and I needed new (fresh) knowledge and that was when I furthered and had another one month training with my boss 2 at Surulere, here in Lagos state.

  • Where do you get the inspiration for your products?

For me, I get my inspiration from some kind of fabric I see around (Ankara) and I’m always like, we can replicate something like this on our Adire and that’s it.

  • Can you remember one of the first products you made? What makes it memorable?

My very first client asides (families and friends) was (is) a Nigerian in the London. He purchased 100yards of Adire, which now, I will say are very basic Adire (smiles) and he paid me 70% before I started the work. Upon completion, the remaining was paid before I took to NAAN at ikeja. For me, that was a great way to start and part of what keeps me going.

  • What are some of the challenges you face in your business?

Hmmm, challenges though, for me, the first will be sourcing for fabric and getting them at the needed time. Sudden increase in amount of dyes and chemicals. Also, man-power, because the higher you go, the more hands needed, which I will say are not so willing and ready…………….

  • Do you have any regrets venturing into this line of business?

But still, I don’t have any regrets venturing into this business at. All………

  • What is your most popular product?

Hmmmm, most popular product, I can’t say because all product has its season and time. January, we might have more sales from Adire lace……. Next month might just be hundreds of scarfs………

  • What are some of your short term and long term goals, both in your business and life in general?

I believe all dreams are valid and I see Asologe becoming a household business name with proper and operational manufacturing systems in play.  I just don’t want to have dyeing pit. I want to have a manufacturing plant where we can manufacture our dyes and chemicals, workers that are ready and totally in sync with the company’s vision.

  • What would people be surprised to learn about you?

I cherish family so much and for that, one of my goal is to keep my family as the priority above all.

  • What profession would you be in if you weren’t in the Fashion industry?

I am a big lover and die-hard fan of bread (smiles)…….and I hope to have a mini bakery someday.  For profession, I can’t think of any really……… but maybe an investment banker.

  • If you could give one piece of advice to anyone who wants to start their own business in your industry, what would it be?

My first advice will be, ensure you have an extra stream of income. Be ready to meet an entirely new people. Be patient.

Asologe fashion house sells and produces adire fabrics and outfits bellafricana verified Asologe fashion house adire fabrics textile bellafricana verified

SA textile union welcomes H&M deal with SA designer

The Southern African Clothing and Textile Workers’ Union (SACTWU) has welcomed the announcement today by Swedish global retailer H&M that it will be collaborating with South African designer, Palesa Mokubung, and her label, Mantsho.

On Tuesday, H&M announced its first African collaboration with Mokubung’s label, which was established in 2004 and has since graced numerous runways in Greece, India, the United States, Jamaica, Nigeria, Botswana and Senegal.

Until now, none of the products sold in H&M’s 23 local stores have been made in South Africa.

SACTWU said in a statement that it was a long-standing supporter of Mokubung’s work, citing how the Mantsho label was featured as far back as at its 2008 Fashion Festival held in the cutting room of the Levi Strauss SA factory in Cape Town.

Andre Kriel, SACTWU general secretary, said the union and its clothing, textile, footwear and leather (CTFL) members were looking forward to seeing South African product in H&M’s stores.

“As foreign retailers, like H&M, Zara and Cotton On, have grown their South African footprint, they have increasingly taken market share away from domestic retailers. This has caused a ripple effect in which local factories supplying those domestic retailers are losing orders, and job losses and factory closures are the result,” Kriel said.

“SACTWU congratulates H&M on moving forward with this local sourcing project. The union views this collaboration with Mokubung as the first part of a much deeper collaboration. From SACTWU’s side, to assist H&M with its designer collaboration, the union has helped to ensure that compliant producers manufacture the Mantsho products.”

Mantsho will be available in all South African stores, exclusive flagship stores in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Belgium, Mexico, Chile and Israel, as well as all H&M online markets from August 15.

Kriel said H&M’s local sourcing project represents the power of constructive social dialogue and the promise such dialogue holds to re-shape some of the harmful components of global trade.

“We look forward to a positive outcome and growing relationship with H&M in which their local sourcing footprint is deepened substantially, where their contribution to employment creation in local CTFL factories is expanded significantly, and where their global reach can be used to showcase South African design and quality, manufactured under decent work conditions,” Kriel said.

This is great news, as this goes to prove that there is hope for more African brands in Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana etc to penetrate the global market through great deals such as this.

This article was originally published on

EONL’s New Work Wear Collection Is Definitely A Stunner

Make way! Eyiyemi Olivia Nigeria Limited (EONL) is coming through with some banging work wear pieces for our corporate chic. And as a sharp girl that I am, I decided to give you a sneak peek at some of the amazing pieces in this HOT new collection.

EONL is a women’s wear design outfit with a strong bias for The Real African Woman who is confident in her curves and loves her African Print. EONL has a ready to wear line made for the real African woman, to supersede her expectations in terms of quality, price, comfort and aesthetic. The mission of EONL is to promote, wear and invest in Africa.

Whatever your size, shape or structure, EONL has what you need to make that body pop! EONL creates pieced for the discerning African Woman, and helps to boost their confidence.

It is definitely a breathe of fresh air that you can now rock amazing, properly fitting, timeless pieces to work, and slay like a boss all through your activities!

This new collection will be available for purchase from the 14th of April 2019. To ensure that you do not miss out on this, follow @eo_nl on Instagram, or connect with the  via email on [email protected]

For now, here’s your sneak peek. See something you like? Feel free to pre-order by sending an email to [email protected] or send a DM to eo_nl

Why Naomi Campbell believes Africa should guard its fashion and fabrics jealously

Africa should guard its fashion and fabrics jealously to stop the western world coming in and making a fortune from them, says one of the world’s best known supermodels.

Naomi Campbell– draped in an elegant gown, in the colours of a peacock with a flamboyant head wrap crowning her towering six foot frame, took to the stage Friday at the Durban International Convention Centre, South Africa for the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA Leading Women Summit.

“Africa needs to keep its fabrics to itself,” said Campbell.

Campbell is known as one of the longest working supermodels in the world and she hopes the continent can make more out of her fashion world. She believes that African prints and designs can be but exported profitably.

Campbell was the epitome of fashion on stage and appeared to practice what she was preaching.

“It’s Marianne Fassler,” said Campbell proudly of her frock. Fassler is one of South Africa’s pre-eminent fashion designers, who has worked with Campbell before. Elevating African fashion and its designers is a passion of Campbell’s, who has spent 33 years strutting down the catwalks of the world.

“My passion and drive is to see this continent of Africa be as great as it should be,” said Campbell.

The self-styled rebel, Naomi Campbell, was in Durban, South Africa to address leading women from across the continent and the world over.

Today marks the 44th celebration of International Women’s Day. The official date, March 8th, was recognised by the United Nations in 1975 and is a public holiday in many countries across the world.

“We should have more than just one international women’s day, because we do so much,” insisted Campbell.  As well as fine jewellery, Campbell wears many hats. She has spent over a decade working on charitable causes with organisations such as UNAIDS and says that other than empowering women’s health, making sure young girls are educated and self-reliance is very important to her.

Culled from CNBC Africa

The Bellafricana Verified Tribe – Gbemmy Johnson

Hi there amazing reader! I know it has been a loooong time since we talked about the fabulous members of the Bellafricana verified family, so I decided to bring you some amazing insight on the delectable Gbemmy Johnson of Oeclat today.

Gbemmy Johnson is the brain behind O&#39Eclat Designs – a dynamic brand creating beautiful and affordable handcrafted totes, clutches, purses, wallets etc.

Oeclat is influenced by African rich culture and colours, hence the use of rich African prints, leather and plethora of other materials with a contemporary edge. Each piece represents a perfect individuality and style with key attention to details. With inspiration drawn from everywhere, every piece is a unique, classic design made for fashion lovers of all ages.

Gbemmy Johnson is making moves everyday and with each opportunity, to fulfil her vision of becoming a unique fashion and home accessories brand by providing accessories which value longevity and individuality over the disposable. Her mission is to make clients stylish with beautifully created artistic and tasteful adornments that exude an elegant edge. Creating affordable and quality handcrafted leather handbags and accessories brand inspired by the rich and beautiful African culture and tradition. Made for the modern woman who does it all without compromise.

Oeclat, birthed in 2010, is pronounced O-ey-klah and is a derivative of the designer’s name Oluwagbemisola and a French derivative English word Eclat which means distinction. Oeclat was born out of passion and an ongoing love affair with African rich prints and leather – its smell, malleability, durability, color and texture.

Gbemmy Johnson studied Biological Sciences (Microbiology) at the University of Ilorin and also has a diploma in Fashion Merchandising & Design from the Stratford Career Institute. She has also participated in various online and hands-on seminars and workshops on designing, and leather repair and restoration.

Focusing on perfecting her product and the attendant slow-burn success, the talented Gbemmy is building a brand, and importantly – a business that is here to stay. With an unrelenting mindset, despite formidable infrastructural issues plaguing the fashion industry, she soldiers on – producing an extremely well-made leather line and best selling purses season after season.

With this stable foundation, O’Eclat is poised for more ground-breaking success – she boasts more than a few fashion insiders as her brand loyalists, and word of mouth is her best press. Plus she is Bellafricana Verified.

The label’s core collection, with signatures including the Michelle Midi and Michelle Maxi handbag, her bestselling pieces are available for sale in nationwide through her online store and partner stockists.

Today, I’m throwing it all the way back to 2017, when Gbemmy Johnson was interviewed by Isoken Ogiemwonyi on Bellanaija Style. I enjoyed reading this interview a lot, and I thought to share with you. Keep reading to find our more.

NB: This interview was culled from

On choosing the brand name O’Eclat & its meaning:

O’Eclat Designs (pronounced O-eyklah) is a derivative of my name Oluwagbemisola and Eclat which means Style, confidence, distinction etc.  I wanted a name that is not entirely eponymous and would not be too much hassle to register as a business name.

O’Eclat Designs is a Nigerian ethical leather handbag and accessories design label, birthed in 2010 by Gbemi Johnson.

We produce quality and affordable handbags using premium leather and indigenous fabric handbags and accessories locally from our workshop in Lagos, Nigeria. Our range of handbags will take every modern woman from dawn to dusk, appropriate for a business meeting as they are for brunch or happy hour, giving you the freedom to go about your day with ease, empowered to better live your busy, modern lifestyles whilst also preserving the traditional techniques used in the production of our handbags, providing jobs for the skilled artisans and supporting indigenous businesses.

How did you start the brand ?

O’Eclat Designs was born out of a need to find the beautiful, perfect sized and affordable handbag and clutch that fits all our essentials and allow us keep up with our everyday lives. The need encouraged us to find skilled local artisans who are [into] handbag making within the country.

On the design process

‘A lot of thoughtfulness goes into the production of each and every O’Eclat piece. The design aesthetic[s], the quality of material used and the attention to detail. After coming up with a new design or product we normally would start to see what the pattern and the form, which is the size and the silhouette, the function, which includes the purpose and ideal use and then the materials, which includes the fabric, leather, lining and the hardware that will work perfect with your designs.’

On launching a brand in the Nigerian fashion industry:

‘It takes a lot of effort and determination. You have to do a lot of research about the industry, be persistent as the competition is a lot and you can easily loose track if you’re not committed to your journey’

What was your greatest challenge? And how did you overcome it.

My biggest challenge till date will be finding the right team who shares and understands my vision for the brand.

I was very determined and I knew giving up on my business will never happen, getting my desired business goal might be slow but I knew I’m closer to it each time I put in an effort and try again.

What do you think makes O’Eclat different from other brands?

The affordability and quality of materials used.

We also offer a 12 month warranty on all of our bags. If you are experiencing unforeseen quality issues, we offer free and easy repair options within the warranty period and charge a small fee when warranty period expires.

What’s your favourite product/design and why?

As the designer, it’s hard choosing a favourite as each and every product has a story and the purpose it serves. I love my Michelle Midi handbag as my everyday workbag due to its size and functionality; I switch to my Michelle Maxi  handbag due to its size, for days I want to go in between business meetings. Weekends and Travels are for my Michelle Mini handbag and Mila Clutch.

On a day in her life:

I start my business day with my emails, which most times determine how my day will go if I have not had anything pre-planned before,

I get to spend most of my day at the studio to supervise what we have going on, visit some of our retailers and attend to business appointments offline and online.

What have been your best sellers so far?

Michelle Midi and Mila Clutch

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start his or her own business?

Stay true to yourself and be committed to your journey. It’s not going to be an easy ride, prepare your mind to failure, pick yourself up when you do and start all over again. It’s all part of the process.

What’s next for O’Eclat?

We are working on introducing a range of small leather goods while continuing to improve on our production quality and expanding our sales channel[s].

What has given you your biggest boost as a business (fashion show, tradeshow, publication etc)

We are yet to showcase our handbags at a fashion show, so it has to be Publication and Tradeshows in that sequence. Publications have given us a lot of media awareness and exposure while tradeshows allow our customers and first time buyers experience our products first hand, they get to see, touch and feel what they are paying for.

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learnt on your journey so far?

Staying true to myself and being persistent.

In three words O’Eclat is: 

Stylish, Affordable, Quality

You can purchase O’Eclat online at and at her stockists listed below.

Grey Velvet Stores (Lagos and Abuja)

Ikeja City Mall, Ikeja

Circle Mall, Jakande Lekki

Centro Lekki Mall, Lekki

Jabi Lake Mall, Abuja

Glam’d Africa Abuja

40, Durban Street, Wuse II


For more information, contact:
EMAIL:  [email protected][email protected]
TWITTER: @oeclat

Cultural Appropriation: Should Western Brands Use African Prints?

What is Cultural Appropriation?  According to the Cambridge dictionary, it is ‘the act of taking or using things from a culture that is not your own, especially without showing that you understand or respect this culture’ So my question to you guys is, is it appropriate for western brands such as the Stella McCartney to use Ankara/ African Wax prints in their designs or is it cultural appropriation? Where do we draw the line between appreciation and appropriation? And who decides this? But most importantly, does fashion have a cultural appropriation problem?

MILAN, ITALY – FEBRUARY 21: A model walks the runway at the Gucci Autumn Winter 2018 fashion show during Milan Fashion Week on February 21, 2018 in Milan, Italy. (Photo by Catwalking/Getty Images)

Since I began blogging in 2015, many top designers have faced accusations of cultural appropriation.  In 2015 Isabel Marant was accused of plagiarising the traditional costume of a Mexican community, in 2016  Gucci faced a backlash for showing white models in Sikh-style turbans, in 2017 Vogue was criticized for a shoot in which model Karlie Kloss was dressed as a geisha and in 2018 Zara copied the designs of the famous brand Maxhosa by Laduma. I think it is pretty evident that we have a problem with cultural appropriation but would there be an industry without designers taking inspiration from other cultures? It’s a tough debate.

Dr Delice says  “We are still living in a world where white people and institutions are much more powerful than black and brown people and their institutions.”

As much as I hate to say it this statement is 100 ad 10% true. The fact that it’s 2019 and POC are still underrepresented in the fashion world – particularly the luxury fashion world is extremely sad and heartbreaking. My problem with the fashion industry when it comes to the topic of cultural appropriation is the fact that they choose to hire Caucasian models rather than models of the culture that they’re appropriating. To me that is where we draw the line between appreciation and appropriation. I’m sure you would all agree. Why are the people that inspired your collection not representing it? To me it makes no sense. Second of all I believe that some sort of acknowledgement should be present such as donating a percentage of the profits to organisations in that area that inspired the pieces, it’s only fair.

Should Western brands use African Prints?

Personally I don’t see the problem with it AS LONG as they use BLACK AFRICAN MODELS. I feel like the world is so focused on becoming westernized that we’re constantly looking for approval from these countries yet when it comes to fashion they never ask for ours. Its so sad to me that we live in a society where African Designers are not given enough credit or recognition for their work and it is becoming so incredibly frustrating to see designers consistently working hard and pushing boundaries only for their work to be copied and stolen by much bigger global brands. But I can guarantee you that very soon Africa is going to take over the world and I ensure you I will have a front row seat in the changing of history in this thing we call the fashion industry.

This article was originally published by Ivis for CheckOut Africa on the 11th of February 2019


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