A couple of weeks back, gifted designer Ade Bakare staged a widely accepted couture show of his latest designs. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with him about the success of the show, his designs, and more…
How will you rate the success of the unveiling of your 2016 collection?
The Maasai 2016 Summer Collection has been a success. It was first shown In Port Harcourt at the Tres Bein Event in August, before it was shown at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week in October. We finally showed it to our private clients last week. The high neck jackets, silk evening wear and the new Ankara line of dresses have been a hit.
What inspired your collection?
The collection was inspired by the Maasai tribe in East Africa. I have always loved their way of adorning intricate beads, their love of colour and woven blankets called suka which is thrown over their shoulders in an elegant manner. All these we tried to capture in the collection.
Why was it a private fashion show?
Couture shows are private affairs for the clients who patronise the designer. It’s an opportunity for the fashion designer to show his latest collection. The idea of fashion shows is gradually becoming a farce, it’s almost like a content now for entertainment shows, losing its primary objective which is to present the collection and receive orders. Usually, when we have our couture shows, we get a lot of enquiries from people who would like to attend but preference has to be given to the loyal clients who patronise us.
it is how we keep ourselves in business.
You tagged it Maasai Collection, what does it mean?
It was named Maasai after the African tribe that influenced it. They are mainly in Kenya but they can also be found in places like Tanzania since they are a nomadic tribe. I felt it was important to portray the beauty of Africa and show the world its beauty.
What were some of the challenges you encountered while preparing for the show?
Part of the show was the Young Designers Creative Competition (YDCC) though this time we simply selected some young designers we felt have talent and needed a bit of support. Kenny Adelaja and Mccoy were chosen, and showed alongside us. I feel it’s very important to identify and encourage talents, but these shows require a lot of capital and as such sponsors are needed. It has been very difficult due to the financial situation in the country but we have persevered.
How was the reception?
The audience loved the collection. I think there is a huge reawakening in Nigeria and Africa for what is ours. The styles that had silk and Ankara proved very popular, with clients applauding the models who wore them on the catwalk, followed by orders after in Nigeria and abroad. We posted photos of the designs on our Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and started receiving calls from London, Atlanta and Washington.
How affordable are the pieces?
The collections have two labels, the Diffusion line which is Bakare Breeze and the main couture line Ade Bakare Couture. The Breeze line is less expensive with prices starting from N20,000 for a dress at our Lagos boutique in Victoria Island. The styles are very creative and we try not to produce many of them maintaining an exclusive style and adire jackets, colourful skirts in raw silk and linen trousers can be found in the range . The Breeze line is also on Jumia. The couture line caters to those who are not price sensitive and want exclusive designs made to fit them in rich couture fabrics such as gazars, silk organzas, zebelines, silk chiffons, etc including the bridal lines.
Where do you draw inspiration for your breathtaking designs?
Before we start designing a collection, we travel far and wide for inspiration. Africa is our major focus. I think having established my line in England over the years, I feel it’s important to be influenced by our culture. There is so much to tap into, for the next collection, and we are looking at either the Yoruba or the textiles from Mozambique. There is a rich culture to delve into. We also considered Fela Kuti the musician, but let’s see what happens.
What do you think will be in vogue in 2016?
Trends are not becoming obsolete, so it’s a bit difficult to say what might or will not become a trend. Lots of countries are becoming Independent fashion wise, but some trends such as colours play a role, jewel tones, lots of white and intricate textiles should feature next year.
What is your opinion about the fashion industry?
The fashion industry in Nigeria is thriving. We have established our boutique in Lagos for over five years and have seen it grow. We are now in the process of looking for premises on a major high road with a front view. Lots of designers are springing up every year and the people are wearing the styles with much creativity and pride. However, I feel it’s very important for the up and coming designers to study fashion design or apprentice with a fashion house for some years before setting up. This will give them the much needed experience to become successful. We have been beseeched with calls to set up a fashion school in Nigeria, having taught a lot at my alma mater (design school) Salford University College in Manchester, England, it seems like a natural progression. We are working towards it.
- SHADE WESLEY-METIBOGUN