5 Minutes With Okiki Marinho
Okiki Marinho is the Founder and Creative Director of Okiki Marinho a fashion brand specializing in women’s clothes and luxury hand bags. Her brand started in August 2012 and till date is a household name when it concerns luxury handcrafted leather goods, made to measure and ready to wear clothes.
Hello Okiki, tell us a bit about you and your brand?
I’m a warm, bubbly and extremely focused individual. When I set out to do something, I’m quite thorough and I make sure it must be done in good time. The brand makes bespoke & ready to wear clothing, luxury leather hand bags and caters to both working class and high net worth clients.
What inspired your bag line?
The bag line came after the clothes. I felt there were hardly any well done hand bags in the country and I was getting bored of the usual suspects in the international brand for luxury bags. The first hand bag was created as a gift to myself and on a trip with that bag, I got 2 bag orders and had to make up prices on the spot.
Briefly tell us about the design and production process for the bags.
I get a lot of inspiration from Africa and its diversity. The team and I sit down and brainstorm on various bag concepts. We then choose the preferred leather and finalize the idea and do a prototype. If we are not content we go back to the drawing board to work on the design. Once we are happy with the work it is then released for production.
The Nigerian fashion industry is growing at a fast pace, how have you been able to break into the market with your bags?
It has its perks. A lot of women are generally into bags so selling an Okiki Marinho bag has been quite encouraging. Our clientele want only the best and that is what we provide.
What’s your biggest struggle with being a designer in Nigeria?
The unstable exchange rate and material availability. With our currency fluctuating, it makes it almost impossible to go to the market and see what you like. The inconsistency in leather supply and availability also affects design direction. Also, artisans in this field are pretty scarce.
Where do you see the fashion industry going 5 years from now?
I know this industry has potential and daily we scratch a lot deeper. Policies have to be implemented though and unions must exist to promote excellent quality control and standardization.
The ‘buy Nigerian’ tag has been going on for a bit, how have you been able to tap into this trend with your bag line? If you haven’t already, are there plans to be a part of it?
From the get go, the Okiki Marinho brand has always promoted it’s buy Nigerian status because we are 100% made in Nigeria, from start to finish. This new attention has only further propelled what we already promoted.
What advice would you give to younger designers who are looking to do similar things as you are doing?
There is room for greatness, it’s in all of us. When you set out to do something especially in this industry put in a 100% irrespective of the setbacks, push!! People are watching and the world is waiting.