by Sola Fasasi
“Hello there. I’m elegant, daring, ingenuous and I pay attention to detail!” If the Sally Bawa 2011 Entrée Collection had a voice, I believe that’s what it would say, as those are the qualities which struck me as I first laid my eyes on the collection’s beautiful pieces. It’s no surprise then, that the designer herself says that this year’s kick-off collection is inspired by the theme of ‘covert sensuality’. She says more as she gives YNaija an exclusive peek.
Passion for Design
Fashion for me started way back in university as a hobby and something that brought in a little cash on the side. I knew I always wanted a career in fashion despite my background in psychology.
Officially, this started two years ago as a business. I’ve been involved in the Oil & Gas also and have combined both for a while. If I wasn’t a fashion designer, I’d be an artist or a Psychiatrist… Yes, a shrink.
My number one role model is my mother. She influenced the woman I am today. But career wise, I’m most inspired by Abba Folawiyo and Diane Von Furstenberg. These two women have inspired and fueled my passion in making fashion a distinguished, sustainable and thriving business. My favourite fashion designers are Ellie Saab and Tom Ford.
Nigeria, the Government & Fashion
The fashion industry in Nigeria has evolved greatly in the last few years. What is most exciting about it, I think, is the advent of competition, as that’s what makes any sector of any economy thrive. The days of monopoly in fashion are over. I think more people have realized there’s more than enough room in this industry for everyone, and we can all thrive comfortably while making our marks in our different niches.
The most detrimental policy for us in the industry in 2010 must have been the continuous ban on the importation of fabric and other clothing materials to the country. It made sourcing for fabric locally really difficult as we’re left with not very many options. We were left with the option of ordering fabrics or buying fabrics abroad which in turn inflates the prices of our products. This ban has been lifted now though, so I’m hoping things would ease off in that regard.
Triumphs, Achievements & Goals
Everyday’s a triumph for me. Every single time a new idea comes to life it gives me the greatest joy and fulfillment. Seeing one of my pieces on anyone must be the greatest achievement for me because it reminds me exactly what my craft is all about. In 2011 the goal is making the business into a recognizable, thriving, and acceptable brand. This is the vision for 2011. I hope to bring a more contemporary approach to fashion and lifestyle in Nigeria.
Work & Life
My work as a fashion designer hasn’t really affected my life much. I’m a really private person; hence I’ve been able to draw a distinct line between business and my personal life. However, it has taken over most of my life. I live, breathe and eat the business. It’s all I ever do.
Inspiration for the Collection
An artist is inspired by any and everything around her. I get inspired most working late in my studio, I see things in my mind’s eye and in the quietness of my head, I bring them to life in my sketches. The new collection is inspired by ‘covert sensuality’. The clothes are revealing enough to flatter, but not so much that nothing is left to the imagination. The clothes are sleek, classy and trendy all at once. And that is what Sally Bawa offers – a blend of all three. It is possible to look and feel these ways all at once. That is what the collection is all about.
We do not have a particular class at which our designs are targeted at. However, we find that the young and upwardly mobile are most drawn to the brand. This must be because the brand offers a fresh and funky feel which would appeal most to people in this demographic.
Sally Bawa & the World
The vision of the brand is to transcend the borders of Nigeria into the rest of Africa and the world, which is work in progress.
We bring you the YNaija StyleEYE Exclusive: Sally Bawa 2011 Entrée Collection!