(DA) WHO IS ADEBAYO OKELAWAL ?
I’m just a guy-next-door that was gifted by God to create the movement that is now Orange Culture. I love my family, and believe very much in the ability of art to not only tell a story, but also contain emotions powerful enough to change lives.
(DA) TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT YOUR EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND ?
I have a degree in banking and finance from the University of Lagos and a Masters in International Management from North Umbria University. But I’m a self- taught fashion designer.
(DA) HOW WAS GROWING UP LIKE ?
Growing up for me was very intrapersonal. I spent a lot of time in my head. I was also super awkward so that kind of made it all interesting. All I knew was that I loved to design and it created a voice for me in a world where I felt kind of lost and confused because I wasn’t like the boys I was told were real boys. I am super thankful to my mum and my family – my mum always said “I’d be different from the other boys”, and she never meant it in a bad way. My family loved me different and they encouraged me – so that made all the bullying somewhat consumable. However, unlike most people, I don’t want to go back in time. I am comfortable with the present.
(DA) WHAT WILL OB BECOME IF HE WASN’T A DESIGNER BRAND?
I would be a florist or a teacher – I love kids.
(DA) WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO GO INTO FASHION & DESIGN?
Growing up watching my mum and her family get ready with so much joy. Also the voice that design gave me- it was, in a way, very spiritual; designing made me feel powerful, and that in creating, I could set myself free and also change the world. It was a sustainable thought.
(DA) HOW DID THE NAME(ORANGE CULTURE ) OF YOUR COLLECTION COME ABOUT ?
I started writing and wrote a published article called “The Orange Boy”. It represented my thoughts on being an individual and growing up with that state of mind in Nigeria. A lot of people wrote me letters on how it had inspired them and how they felt “Orange” a lot of times. So I wanted to create a brand that sort of represented that individuality that I lived by – a culture of sorts . That’s how the brand name came about.
(DA) TELL US IN WHICH YEAR DID YOUR COLLECTION MAKE A DEBUT APPEARANCE ON THE RAMP AND HOW WAS THE EXPERIENCE .?
2011 and it was interesting. We were highly rebuked by a lot of people though. To be sincere, I almost shut down- bought into the critics and nay sayers, the spectators of conformity, but, again, many thanks to my mum, family and good people that backed me. They pushed me to continue. They drowned the voices of the critics and nay sayers and the spectators of conformity.
(DA) HOW MANY COLLECTIONS DO YOU HAVE NOW SINCE THE CREATION OF YOUR BRAND ?
Oh my, I think about 9
(DA) HOW DO YOU OFTEN COME UP WITH INSPIRATION BEHIND YOUR COLLECTIONS ?
I’m an emotional designer. So my environment, my emotions, my experiences – those 3 e’s literally inspire my collections.
(DA) ANY AWARDS SO FAR ?
Yeah a couple from which I’m very thankful for.
(DA) WHAT IS THE FUTURE DREAM FOR THE BRAND ?
World takeover – face of African menswear.
(DA) WHAT MAKES YOUR BRAND STAND OUT
It’s a genuine brand. It’s honest.
(DA) DESCRIBE OB’S PERSONAL STYLE ?
My style is very chilled. I’m not a preppy boy at all – not into Bow ties or suits. I like my clothes with a bit more personality and age. A little rumple here and there never hurt nobody.
(DA) WHAT FASHION ASSERTS ARE LIKELY TO BE SEEN IN YOUR CLOSET ?
Trainers ( a lot of them ), loads and loads of Orange Culture and, well, African brands – I love dricky jeans they make me very happy. Adele Dejak and Rolls London jewellery, Dapmod sunglasses and Nodrog street bags.
(DA) FAVOURITE COLOURS ?
I love black and blue.
(DA) DO YOU WEAR OTHER DESIGNER’S CLOTHING ?
Yes of course!
(DA) YOUR TOP THREE(3) FASHION BRANDS
I’m a Kenzo boy
(DA) ADEBAYO SPOTTED IN PARIS FOR A FASHION WEEK,WHAT WILL YOU BE SEEN WEARING ?
Orange Culture most likely.
(DA) WHAT DO YOU DO YOUR LEISURE TIME ?
Spend time with family and friends. I also watch series- huge comedy lover here!
(DA) DESCRIBE A DAY IN A LIFE OF OB ?
Mornings are family time – I love my nieces, they make me smile. I believe in prayer. But days are never really the same. Most are spent working so yeah Orange Culture as well as my other side gigs take over.
(DA) DO YOU HAVE ANY INTENTION OF STARTING A FAMILY SOON ?
Uhhhhhh ( that’s my answer)
(DA) ANY ADVISE TO THE UPCOMING ONES ?
Just make sure this is truly something you’re passionate about. Being a designer is not easy and the industry is quite turbulent – so make sure your motive is not fame or money. Neither would comfort you when the voices of the critics and nay sayers and the spectators of conformity are piercing into your ears.
(DA) WHATS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF YOUR BODY ?
Has to be my legs!
(DA) GHANA JOLLOF OR NIGERIA JOLLOF ?
I love both – I actually cannot pick.
(DA) YOUR TOP 3 FASHION BRANDS IN NIGERIA
Come on! I can’t pick three so many great ones. I love Maki Oh, Lisa Folawiyo, Lanre Da Silva, Mai Atafo, Gozel Green, Meena, Maxivive. Come on, there are literally so many great ones- the list is endless.
(DA) WHO IS YOUR CELEBRITY CRUSH ?
Nice interview. Refreshing, educating and inspiring. I love that ‘fame and money’ wont be there thing and i love Bayo more.