The fashion industry worldwide is booming with talented and skilled designers and next level brands. This is why eCommerce entrepreneur Tomara Watkins is carving an exclusive niche with her brand Loza Tam which offers a refined take on the classic head wraps and turbans.
Drawing inspiration from traditional hair-wrapping techniques in West Africa, the former Bevel employee is merging local craftsmanship and luxury fabrics to create collections of satin-lined headwraps handcrafted in Ghana by women entrepreneurs.
At its core, the brand is aimed at providing stylish scarfs and turbans for women of colour, not only as protective wear but also to celebrate the versatility of styling natural hair. Explaining that she creates pieces for women to look and feel confident, Tam said:
A woman says a lot by how she chooses to physically present herself to the world.
In this interview with BellaNaija Style, Tomara talks about the inspiration behind her brand, her personal style and design process.
Why and When did you start designing?
I came up with the idea for my first product (which was a satin-lined headband) after travelling to Accra, Ghana. A few months prior to my trip in 2015, I was in a Bikram yoga class. And as I was doing a downward dog in a 100+ degree room, my big kinky curly ‘fro was also doing a downward dog. I was frustrated with my headband. It was small (the kind with that pesky silicone strip) and wasn’t really doing its job. While I was in a taxi in Ghana, witnessing the beauty of African women sporting wax print fabric is when a light bulb came on. Loza Tam launched online in April 2016 with 2 satin-lined headbands designed for the needs of women with textured hair. Our next product was the pre-tied, satin-lined headwrap turban. I came up with the idea for the product after not having the patience or time to tie a headwrap and wanting to protect my natural hair. Really, I started creating products out of a need to make styling my natural hair easy while keeping it protected.
What is your favourite part of being a fashion designer?
I don’t consider myself a designer. I didn’t study or go to school for it, so I don’t believe I deserve that credit. But, a perk about owning your own brand is travelling across the world for inspiration. I haven’t been able to do that lately due to COVID-19, but having the ability to break out of the monotony of your day-to-day routine really helps to drive ideas. You’d be surprised what or who can inspire you.
Your designs are amazing, who and what things inspire you while creating your designs?
Women. This sounds creepy, but I study women a lot. A woman says a lot by how she chooses to physically present herself to the world. Travelling allows me to see women from various cultural and religious backgrounds. There are these nuances and similarities about women that I find so interesting and beautiful. For example, you can see a beautiful woman in Dubai who chooses to wear a turban and also a beautiful woman in Brooklyn who rocks a head wrap, but their individual style is all their own. I love that! It inspires me to make products for those women–products that they can look and feel confident when wearing.
How long does it take to complete one of your pieces?
An entire collection can take anywhere from 8-10 weeks to produce from start to finish. We go through multiple rounds of samples prior to doing a full production run.
Do you consider trends first when designing?
Yes, and no. I look at colour trends, and I study women. I’m constantly looking at where the world is going in terms of how women are dressing and the factors that influence that.
Which of your designs has made you most proud?
A mother can never choose (LOL) and really it depends on my mood, and what’s going on with my hair. If I want to serve a full-on ‘fro, I’m definitely rocking a headband or turban headband. But if my hair just won’t let me be great or I’ve skipped wash day, I’m in a turban and serving a full-on naked face with a bold lip.
Most memorable fashion moment?
As I type this, I’m sitting on my couch with a beautiful robe, a red lip, and a Loza Tam Turban. I try to make memorable fashion moments every day, darlings!
I’m forever serving “rich Aunty” vibes, but comfort is a MUST for me. I’m usually in a robe, a turban, and a bold lip courtesy of Marie Hunter Beauty or The Lip Bar.
A robe allows me to not wear a bra (who needs ‘em?!?). My turbans allow me to look and feel fabulous even though my hair is in 5 twists…LOL! And a bold lip with sunnies just tops it all off. I also love jumpers, because I don’t have to find a matching top or bottom. What can I say, I’m “rich Aunty” vibes without the time for fashion or the budget for a personal stylist.
Lately, I’ve had positive experiences that have helped me manage my imposter syndrome. So when I start doubting myself (which happens often), I remind myself that I know what I’m doing. Not sure you can print that, but I think if more women operated from that place, we wouldn’t take as much sh*t.
See more from Loza Tam below:
Connect with the brand via Instagram @loza_tam