Ahead of African Fashion Week Nigeria 2018, the AFWN team profiles Osborne Ojarimonithe, the Creative Director of Erenti, an African brand based in the United Kingdom.
Erenti was established out of the aspiration to discover a distinctive approach to showcase African class and elegance through modern, urban apparel and accessories. With a strong appreciation of African authenticity and rawness, Erenti aims to merge culture and contemporary designs to make its brand truly noticeable on a global platform.
Find out all you need to know in the interview below:
What inspired your fashion journey?
Erenti: After I started to realize how much deeper the pride of appearance, I fell in love with the masterpieces of clothing. The result of architecture and design, inspiration and dedication, individual vision and collaborative effort the fabrics that determined our daily directions and told the stories of our personalities.
Tell us about the aims and targets of the brand
Erenti: We aim to establish ourselves in the Men’s African Fashion industry both Lagos and London, earn market share and be more memorable. We are currently working on improving our brand image, recognition and to enhance engagement with ambassadors. We hope to build strong networking ties in Lagos and London.
What was your first ever fashion creation, what inspired it? Did you like it?
Erenti: Most of my inspiration and reincarnation are motivated by Amancio Ortega Gaona owner of Zara
I was instantly captivated by the way he made Zara truly his own. His clothes are more than just basic coloured polos and shirts. I have read most of Zara magazines and used them as inspiration to create my first menswear native piece which was a dark green with a slim fit feel. I cut out pictures and visualized pieces that I would actually bring to life.
What has been your challenge as a designer in Africa?
Erenti: As a designer based in the UK I’m always trying to push the African fashion industry as much as I can but at the same time having a good platform to showcase your brand both in Africa and here in the U.K can be challenging. Overall, lack of business skills is incredibly challenging there is a tremendous amount of design talent in Africa, the problem isn’t finding the talent. The problem is often lack of business skills required to take a small business to a profitable one that is sustainable in the long term. Financial knowledge, marketing, management skills, pricing models; all these are critical to take a good designer and turn them into the owner of a successful business.
What does fashion mean to you?
Erenti: Fashion is an expression of oneself, a way to signify who you are, where you come from and what you believe in referring back to Erenti slogan “Confidence Is Silent”.
Most unforgettable experience as a designer
Erenti: I love how seriously people started to take me when I wore menswear native like I took myself seriously. The first impression may sound cliché but it counts and the first way people will see you is through your appearance. As a creative designer, I would always wear men’s natives to functions even nightclubs while my friends were lounging in jeans and designer t-shirts, but I loved every second of it because I got more attention and respect most significantly I stood out. I was reminded then of the lesson my mom had taught me years ago of respect for other people in how we dress, and the lesson stuck even harder from this professional experience
Tell us about the collection you intend to showcase on AFWN runway
Erenti: The Esteem Collection SS18. This is my first menswear collection and its approach is to showcase African class and elegance through modern, urban apparel and accessories with a strong appreciation of African authenticity and rawness, Erenti Esteem collection pursues to merge culture and contemporary designs to make its brand truly noticeable on a global platform.
What are you looking forward to at AFWN2018?
Erenti: I’m looking forward to networking with various designers from Africa and getting their insight on the African fashion industry from their point of view but also increase brand awareness and build strong relationships possibly leading to collaboration.
How do you feel with about the growing number of fashion designers?
Erenti: I fully support the growing number of fashion designers, the fashion industry is a $1.2 trillion global industry, with more than $250 billion spent annually on fashion. If African fashion can produce more fashion designers on a global scale we can boost the economy which will lead to more employment and economic growth across the continent.
What is your outlook on African fashion and its impact worldwide?
Erenti: My view remains positive the global demand and discussions on African inspired clothing have led to a tremendous boost in sales for some African designers and brands whose works have caught the eyes of international personalities including Beyonce, Michelle Obama, Rihanna, and Thandie Newton. The potential for this billion dollar market has birthed a need for African-led e-commerce fashion platforms to create structures that will not only cater to global demands but also help upcoming brands to thrive.
Connect with Erenti on Instagram here @erenti
For more information, visit www.africafashionweeknigeria.com.
Register to showcase or exhibit at AFWN 2018 HERE