Creative Director, ReBahia – Orire Omatsola an Art and History student of the University of Manchester recently launched her line ,Re Bahia (An emerging Nigerian brand). Orire tells HauTe where she gets her inspiration from, the long and short term goals for ReBahia where the brand is heading in five years and most importantly her love for animals and her two dogs. With a huge regard for her mother and the things her mother loves, Orire’s passion for fashion is strongly influenced by her mother who is involved in Interior Decorating. Orire’s brand, very rich in colour and texture has been seen on a number of celebrities in Nigeria especially at the MTV Africa Music Awards. Everyone is talking about ReBahia, this is definitely talent that cannot be overlooked. Enjoy the interview below as we discuss The Present and The Future of ReBahia.
HauTeFashionAfrica: Tell us a bit about yourself and a bit about Re Bahia
Orire Omatsola: I’m a 20 year old soon to be Art Historian/ Fashion designer. I love animals and I currently own 2 dogs( Snuggles and Minne). The baby of the family, I’m never growing up! Re Bahia is my brand, but really its a mother- daughter brand. Its a reflection of me and my mum and all the things we love.
HFA:When did you launch Re Bahia and why did you decide on the name ‘Re Bahia’
O.O: Re bahia formally launched this year in the summer. I’m in love with brazillian culture and was watching a programme and loved the name ”bahia” after one of its states. ‘Re is the last bit of my name which is what my dad calls me.So it’s just a fit.
HFA: How far has Re Bahia come since launch?
O.O: Its come a very long way, I know it looks like I just came out of nowhere and things are going good. Its been a lot of work and support from my family.
HFA: Lovely, how did you get into fashion and why?
O.O: Fashion has always been apart of me. My mum had a business when I was really little but no one ever thought it would be my calling. When I was 15 I just knew it was what I wanted but I was till hesitant. At 17 I told my parents I wanted to go to Milan for a summer fashion programme and they let me. After my experience in milan, I just knew this was it.
HFA: Have you had any formal training to be a fashion designer? (Where)
O.O: No I haven’t. All I can do is sketch and my mum teaches me about garment construction. I am applying to London College of Fashion next year, fingers crossed I get in.
HFA: Have you always wanted to be a designer?
O.O: I have from about the age of 15. Before that I always wanted to be a zoologist! I love animals and learning about them. Planning to go on a marine biology expedition next year summer. That way I fulfill both dreams.
HFA: Asides Fashion Designing, what else do you do?
O.O: I’m currently studying Art History at the University of Manchester. I’m in love with the arts, fashion and cuisine.
HFA: What’s the aesthetic of your brand?
O.O: The brands aesthetic is all about Simplicity. I love fabrics and I believe when youv’s got an amazing piece of fabric, keep the designing to the minimum. I commend people that can create new species of birds with their designs but that’s not me.
HFA: Your debut collection features pieces that are very rich in colour and texture, what inspired this combination?
O.O: To be honest My Mum. My mum could open a store with her personal collection of fabrics! I’ve always tagged along with my mum for fabric shopping, she interior decorates aswell so all iv learned has come from her.
HFA: How do you get inspiration for your designs?
O.O: I know it sounds weird but most my inspiration comes from dreams. I could be taking a nap now and an idea comes to me, I either quickly wake up and sketch it or let it replay in my head over and over again. I also get inspired by fabrics.
HFA: Describe the Re Bahia woman in 5 words, What should every Re Bahia piece reflect when seen on an individual?
O.O: Simple, Elegant, Confident, Special and Fun. Every piece should reflect the kind of woman that is confident to try something new and different.
HFA: Being a new designer, how well do you think the brand is doing and how well has it been accepted in the Nigerian Fashion Industry?
O.O: I’m still in shock, I’m my worst critic and for a long time I put myself and my designs down thinking they weren’t good enough! I’m so happy people love the brand and what we have to offer. So far the brand is doing ok, taking a lot of baby steps for now. I have a lot to learn about the fashion industry.
HFA: Have you been involved in any fashion shows or had the opportunity to witness any famous persons wear your designs?
O.O: So far I just took part in my first show which was FAB magazine’s partnership with Vlisco. Really pleased Eku Edewor and Dolapo Oni wore my dresses to the MAMA’s. My mum and I love studio 53 extra!
HFA: What are the short and long term goals for this brand?
O.O: Short term goals would be to build a strong client base in nigeria, while long term goals would be to expand to the rest of Africa and Europe.
HFA: How would describe your personal style? Has this affected your creative design in any way?
O.O: My friends agree that my personal style is like carrie’s from sex and the city. I’m still trying to take it as a compliment. I wear anything and everything. Being a woman is fun. I love playing dress up and taking on different characters. It defintely has, I want women to feel comfortable wearing anyting like I do!
HFA: What is most enjoyable for you as a designer?
O.O: Working with mum. I think its her dream as much as it is mine. We drive each other insane, but nothing beats working with my mum.
HFA: Are there any stockists for your pieces at the moment?
O.O: No there aren’t but I’m hoping I should have a couple by the start of next year.
HFA: Where do you see the brand in 5 years?
O.O: I’m hoping that Re bahia will be on an international scale in 5 years. By God’s grace and a lot of work, noreason why it can’t.
HFA: Is there anything Re Bahia wants us to look forward to?
O.O: Definetly! Were starting a new trend of fabrics can be worked and were just getting warmed up!
HFA: Thanks ever so much for your time Orire.
O.O: Thank you soo much. I had so much fun answering all the questions.
Eku & Dolapo’s Images via StyleHouseFiles
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