Average read time: 8 minutes
From Nigeria to the world
From the bustling streets of Lagos, Nigeria, designer and ultimate force to be reckoned with, Perry Omoruyi Aigbovbiosa, designer of the edgy brand, Izoduuwa, is carving a name for himself in the fashion industry.
Being raised by a mother who made clothes, seamlessly ignited the idea for Perry that a career in fashion is the path to take. This is where the idea of starting a fashion brand was born.
“My love for fashion started when I was a teenager. My mother used to dress me and my siblings up nicely most times, especially during celebratory events. I guess I picked up the idea of putting pieces together from then subconsciously. As I grew older, I began to love the idea of shopping during my travels. Eventually shopping for friends and family then styling them became a passion of mine,“ said Perry.
“The idea of the brand started in 2019. Lots of market research for fabrics, and other crucial resources needed to create samples and find the right team to work with was done. Our first ever collection dropped in 2020, Tagged Iredia SS20, which means I am here to stay in Benin dialect,” Perry continued.
Drawing inspiration and a mountain of ideas, from childhood memories, the Edo culture and his breathtaking travel destinations weave a vibrant yet unconventional design aesthetic.
“The genesis of Izoduuwa stemmed from an aspiration to create a rugged fashion style, yet exceptional creative designs that transcend time. My core mission is to establish a brand that serves as a disruptive force in the menswear styling realm, amplifying Afrocentric menswear with an emphasis on durability,” said Perry.
“I eventually realized what I needed was a strong Benin name, that represents my tribe, my continent, and everyone who aspires to impact through their skillset. Hence, The birth of Izoduuwa,” Perry continued.
Symbolism behind collections
Designers usually have a theme or a muse inspiring a collection. The late Alexander McQueen, for example, created a collection for his longtime muse and mentor, Isabella Blow, Jean Paul-Gaultier once designed a collection dedicated to Amy Winehouse.
The intellectual designer, Perry is no different for his Izoduuwa brand. The notion of creating meaningful collections based on family and spirituality brings a sense of depth and feeling. This was evident when he spoke about his fourth collection.
“Our fourth collection, titled “NOSAKHARE SS23,” embodies the concept of destiny and renewal. The name, meaning “what God has ordained,” was bestowed upon my nephew by my late mother even before his birth,” said Perry.
“Remarkably, he came into the world just five months after her passing. Prior to his birth, I had an intuitive sense and envisioned that his arrival would usher in a healing wave throughout my entire family. In essence, this collection encapsulates deep self-reflection, encompassing both pain and hope, while placing special emphasis on the profound joy associated with new beginnings and the resurgence of life. It serves as a poignant reminder that life’s tapestry comprises not only pain and joy but also an abundance of other experiences,” Perry continued.
Collaboration is the new competition
We’re living in the era of the woke generation that believes in collaboration over competition. Gone are the days of creative isolation, and hello to the new age of creatives and brands exchanging ideas.
This is a clear indication that the power of collaboration is here to stay and young African designers are at the forefront of this phenomenon.
When asked about the importance of collaboration Perry simply said: “Collaboration allows us to build ethical business relationships, that empower businesses with the right resources and opportunities to access new market opportunities, and build brand credibility and awareness.”
We’re looking forward to seeing what the uber-Afrocentric has in store when it comes to collabs.
Highs and lows of brand building
Social media and the internet have created the idea that starting a fashion business is easy and the success of running it even more effortless. This is far from the truth.
It takes hard work, sleepless nights, and a lot of financial strain that not just fashion designers, but entrepreneurs have to endure. The challenges are as pivotal as the successes.
“Financing the brand, finding the right team or contract staff to work with, maintaining creativity level and business output, staying consistent, and sustaining the life-cycle of the business are all challenging,” said Perry.
With all the challenges come successes and highs too. The designer shares some of his highs with us: “The timeless feeling people get when they rock our pieces. Most say it instills confidence in them, some feel very powerful in it, some say they get the feeling of royalty when they wear our pieces, but the majority of feedback revolves around the AFROCENTRIC feeling people get when they rock an Izoduuwa piece or sight it. Finally, the idea of how people organically connect with our pieces,“ Perry proclaims.
So where does the future hold for Perry and Izoduuwa?
Perry optimistically said: “Connecting a lot more with audiences that are authentically drawn to our brand, creating quality and timeless designs, collaborating and growing a large community through cross-marketing.”
We will eagerly be watching what the future holds for this up-and-coming brand.
Words | Sibusiso Mkize @sbustylegeek
Image Credits | Supplied By Perry Aigbovbiosa