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Who’s HauTe: Interview with Nigerian FemCee turned Fashion Designer, Sasha Alabi of ‘EclecticBySasha’

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Yetunde Alabi, Popularly known by her stage name Sasha is effortlessly one of the top female rap artistes in Nigeria; the rapper turned designer  recently unveiled her fashion line -EclecticBySasha proving to us that lyrics aside, she can talk Sewing Machines, Sketches and Seams too . In this interview, we catch up with Sasha on achieving her dreams as a Fashion designer, journey from being a musician to passion for fashion as well as what to expect in the near future!

HauTeFashionAfrica: We are somewhat familiar with Sasha the artist, so we’ll like to meet Sasha the designer and individual

Sasha: Sasha the designer/ creative director of EclecticBySasha are one and the same person, I am a fan of true art and believe in expressing myself through avenues that share my perspective on life, fashion is one of them!

HFA: From music, you dipped your paws right into fashion. How did that come about?

S: Paws? I prefer well-manicured handshahaha! Well unknown to many, I have been a bespoke designer almost as long as I’ve been a recording artist, My mother ran a fashion label when I was much younger called “Poise” and I was greatly influenced by her passion. After I got my first recording contract with Trybe Records in 2002, I had a lot of appearances and performances and was the only female on the team so nobody shared my dilemma of “what do I wear to this or that event”. With the background I had experimenting with left over pieces from my mum’s workshop, I started going fabric shopping and custom making my own clothes and it soon caught on with classmates and friends ordering clothes off my back which was what inspired me to take it seriously as a business.

HFA: Before we talk about your debut collection and your label, let’s learn a few things about you:

1.Five must have things in your wardrobe?

                       2. Who inspires you?

                       3.Most random thing you’ve ever done?

                       4. Favourite fashion item?

                       5. A perfect song for the runway

 

S:   1. A great pair of black pumps, a pair of jeans, a black dress, a colourful shirt (preferably over sized) and a comfortable pair of brogues.

      2. I am inspired by life and it’s complexities, hard working,multi- tasking and selfless individuals and most importantly the love of God.

       3. Hmmmm Randomness is my middle name it’s hard to choose just one moment hahaha.

      4. Shoes!!!!

     5. “Who Run the World/ Girls” by Beyonce

 HFA: Eclectic by definition is selecting the best of styles and ideas, it’s no wonder you chose it as the name of your label. Out of curiosity though, we’d like to know how you arrived at ‘Eclectic by Sasha’?

S: Simply put, I love to read!!! I came across the word in a book a few years back and had to look up the meaning, I totally loved it because it describes my personality in many ways, so when it came to naming my label it seemed natural.

HFA: Who is the ‘Eclectic by Sasha’ woman?

S: The EclecticBySasha woman is adventurous, free spirited and multi-tasking, she loves to look good without spending hours trying to figure out what to wear and because she assumes so many roles (Daughter, sister, Friend, Mother and wife) her wardrobe must assist her in transforming seamlessly!

HFA: One of our major fears when we discover new and awesome design talent out there is consistency, or lack thereof. We understand that there is a passion but one has to be committed 100%. How do you intend to juggle music and fashion?

S:I can totally relate to the sentiment that the task seems daunting, but I’m always up for a challenge! The fact that EclecticBySasha exists today is a testament to our consistency, which our very first clients can attest to. Music and fashion are both very demanding but have always worked hand in hand for me, and by God’s grace will continue to.

HFA: Do you do the actual designing of your pieces or you have a team of designers you work with to develop your ideas?

S: I currently do all the designing myself, but as a retail brand we (My team and I) intend to be able to accommodate able hands in the future who understand our vision and can help achieve a bigger brand.

HFA: What is the aesthetic of the label?

S: We are Eclectic!!! Not by name only, but from our influences too.  It’s a mixture of different styles but predominantly casual, chic with a vintage edge!

Sneak Peek of ‘The Inception’ Collection: 

HFA: What is the inspiration behind the label?

S: The inspiration behind the label is the observation of a gap that needed to be filled, mass market! As Nigerians, we love to look good and lead very colourful lives but not everyone can afford a certain lifestyle, EclecticBySasha is here to bridge that gap by providing the average woman with glamour on a budget!

HFA: We spotted a few pieces on the L’Espace shop floor and we liked what we saw. Asides a successful test run at L’Espace , Whatinspired a full collection from the label?

S: Thank you!  The plan has always been to provide consistent ready to wear collections made in Nigeria and proudly so, but coming from a client based or bespoke background I needed to understand the market and ensure that when we did create a demand,we would be able to supply, retail has it’s challenges but I am more confident with the feedback from the test run and believe we are ready for business.

HFA: What inspired the title of the collection – ‘Inception’ and what inspired the collection itself?

S: An “inception” is the beginning or first stage of subsequent events, which aptly describes the phase that we are in, the mission of this first collection is to introduce people to the brand EclecticBySasha, at first people assumed that it would be high priced mostly because the clothes were seen at red carpet events and in magazines, but now you can walk into a store and purchase items without breaking the bank and that is who we are, your wallet’s best friend hahaha! So in essence creating a selection of pieces that would hopefully become wardrobe staples was the major inspiration.

HFA: After going through the production process of your first collection, do you see yourself doing this long term? And why?

S: YES!!! I love the creative process and the dream is to create a sustainable Nigerian brand that can go toe to toe with any of its international peers. As we expand, we will create more job opportunities and in turn be an asset to the community, so as long as there are people willing to work and people willing to wear clothes I remain more than eager to oblige them!

HFA: Where will the pieces be available for purchase?

S: We are currently stocked by L’Espace 19A Olosa Street Victoria Island, Lagos, and intend to explore online sale channels as well.

HFA: Any other surprises we should expect from Sasha in the near future?

S: Definitely! However, I’ve learnt to allow things unfold.

HFA: Many Thanks for your time Sasha.

S: You’re welcome, thank you too!

The Inception Collection at L’Espace:

 

Eclectic By Sasha Is a Nigerian retail brand that seeks to provide the allure of high street fashion at affordable prices to the upwardly mobile woman who is not afraid to stand out in a crowd, Created by Anthonia Yetunde Alabi popularly known as Sasha, the award winning First Lady Of African Hip Hop began her foray into fashion as a bespoke designer in 2004, With an ever growing client base her dream to create Nigerian high street was born in December 2011 at L’Espace where her sample collection was met with resounding success, Championing the cause to provide readily available female fashion, other services include bespoke tailoring and wardrobe styling.

Price range of pieces:  from N8, 500 to N14, 000  [Nigerian Naira]

See photos of the Debut Cocktail Reception at L’Espace – House 38, Ijeoma Ndekwu, Obsidian, Toju Foyeh, Zed Eye & More Fashion Lovers welcome rapper, Sasha P’s debut Collection “Inception” at Retail Store, L’espace.

Photo Credit: Kola Oshalusi.

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