Wardrobe consultant and fashion designer, Obijie Oru recently unvieled her debut collection which she dubbed ‘Regenaration’ on the 1st of May at the Coral Hall, Victoria Island, Lagos. The extremely talented and highly creative designer showcased some of her best work on the runway and fashion lovers enjoyed a fabulous evening at the fashion show.
Assisted by upcoming stylist, Evbade Ohiowele of ‘Fabulouscity’, Byge showcased a delicious fusion of traditional outfits and modern trends that we all just love to see on the runway.
FAB caught up with the creator of Byge Collection and she was more than happy to share with us her experiences and inspiration for her collection.
How did you get into fashion?
I stumbled into fashion, there’s was no time when I made a conscious decision to become a fashion designer, I have been sketching since I was 7 or 8, but never really paid attention to it. After university, I needed to do something to fetch me money while I wait to do my extra year and I tried my hand on so many things. When I tried my hands on fashion, I rested there, I had come home, it was effortless, I loved and still love building clothes from the scratch to finish, it gives me joy to see a satisfied client. I have been into fashion for about eight years now.
What made you go with the brand name, ‘Byge’?
BYGE as a name was coined by a group of friends I had in the university all of them guys. I truthfully don’t know how they came about the name. One minute I was Obijie by the time I was in in my second year, I was Byge and the name stucked. When I started my label I wanted a name that was fresh and decided to go with it, ever since then I was rechristened, my dad calls me Byge sometimes too.
In your own words, how would you describe your designs?
My designs are fresh, artistic without being too outrageous, simple, modern, contemporary, ethnic… everything. My designs are my state of mind; my designs tell a story.
Describe your debut collection- Regeneration
My debut collection isn’t really Regeneration, it was Scarlet, which I did for the valentine season and for a show “for the love of the season” by ONOS. But Regeneration is the collection I decided to show Nigeria and Africa and it tells a story. Regeneration means to replicate, coincidentally, my name “Obijie” means regeneration of something good. And since this was like a rebirth I wanted to do something along that line. Even though that was the decision, when I started the collection I didn’t even realize I was replicating until after a month when I stopped to look at my work. Each part of the collection started with a single sketch or seeing somebody’s outfit, and different variations replicated. I’m hoping people will get to see me replicating.
What would you say your favorite piece was?
I had 47 pieces in all plus my shoe collection, I’m not sure i have a favourite, but I liked the outcome of the skeske skirt- long, elegant, and beautiful.
What kinds of challenges did you encounter when creating your designs?
Really when creating designs there aren’t any challenges. I wake up with an inspiration, a flash and I need to put it down immediately so I don’t forget, then I start to create variations of it. I see the fabric first and I’m inspired by it and designs start to flow, because we haven’t yet reached the level where you have your designs and the fabric is created just for them.
What inspires you, and what inspired the ‘Regeneration’ collection?
I’m inspired by everything and everybody around me, the movement of a bread-seller can cause a flash of design in my head and I sketch it down. I can see someone’s outfit, be inspired by it and do a variant of it. I’m inspired by culture, music loads of stuff.
Regeneration was inspired by a need to translate into clothing my journey so far. I had a part called the Law Series, I studied Law in the university and gave it up for fashion. Those pieces were cream and black and different from what we would wear in class or court but they were what I would have liked to be worn. I also had a part which I showcased corsets. I was inspired by the movie burlesque and the vintage eras, and then of course ankara- vintage ankara that I have a special love for because I grew up sneaking into my mom’s room to tie her expensive Vlisco to church or for plays in school. Each pattern of ankara reminded me a special childhood, a happy childhood…..I just translated it to where I am today- my state of mind today with ankara.
Describe your personal style
My personal style is incredibly simple; I am often spotted with a low cut, low maintenance outfits so I have time to do my work. Apart from designing, I also cut and sew, I love the Barbie doll look, so my clothes are always slight ball-gown’ish. So when you meet me for the first time you see a really simple lady.
What are your future plans concerning Byge?
My future plans concerning BYGE is to go global. We would would love to be relevant in Africa and Europe, I would also like to expand and thus create more jobs for unskilled labour especially the girls(I have only ever worked with seamtresses). Our brand will be seen in various shops and malls across the world.
FAB thing about your job
The FAB thing about my job is really the sense of and joy I derive from doing it. On a regular day while drawing patterns and cutting, I have been known to dance to tunes in my head. I also love how customers and client feel when we have done a good job, the feedback is always something to love.
My favourite designer internationally is Vivienne Westwood. I used to study her designs, they are so edgy and they always tell a story. I also love Alexander Mcqueen and Ellie Sab. Here in Nigeria, Deola Sagoe does it for me, absolute creativity, you can see the detailing, no cheating with blings, her clothes her awesome.
My favourite accessory is my bangles; I could wear up to 20 pieces at a go. I take the bangles to the extreme and keep all others simple.
FAB way to relax
I’m not sure I ever get time to strictly relax, but when I do it’s usually amongst friends or family and sipping cocktails, reminiscing, planning for the future and just generally being together.
What makes you FAB ?
I am fabulous, African and Black just because I love my culture and heritage and celebrate it any chance I get. I never try to identify with what I’m not.
Check out more pictures from Byge’s ‘Regeneration’;