by Yemi Olowu

Marayah O is a fashion and lifestyle brand that focuses on the creation of female pret-a-porter. The brand offers designs that are eclectic, refreshing and most importantly – wearable. The Marayah O woman can be described as free spirited, fun-loving, confident and happy.

Bola Yinka-Obebe, the CEO/Creative director of Marayah O is a graduate of Economics from University of Ilorin. She delved into fashion out of a need to satisfy her unique sense of style and petite clothing size. Bola took a course in design, pattern making and garment construction at Ginani fashion school in Surulere, Lagos and moved on to TAE as a designer/pattern maker. She later became the product line manager for the design house. A Perception Management/PR firm became the next stop, and she worked there until February 2010. She speaks on her label and her recently released collection, Street Style ALPHA.

Inspiration for her collection/ look book

The Street style ALPHA is simple, stylish, comfortable and wearable. The collection was inspired by the idea that we live our lives mainly on the street. Nothing is ever fully achieved within the walls of our rooms only. The street is a major part of our daily existence. Going to work, school, lunch/dinner dates, business meetings, hangouts etc all wouldn’t exist without the streets. The collection is about being fashionable while living our lives.

International designers she would like to work with

I love Elie Saab, Alexander Mcqueen is out of this world – I think I will find working with the brand interesting.

What she takes  most seriously as a designer

As much as there is a need for lovely designs, Finishing is high on my priority list. Pieces should be wearable (that’s relative), quite comfortable and most importantly with excellent finishing and attention to detail.

Her greatest accomplishment as a designer

Been able to set up an emerging R-T-W fashion line with a handful of employees and an increasing number of dedicated clients.

Problems she faces as a designer

A lot, I must say, but let me mention a few – lack of skilled labour, general attitude to work, funding (it’s quite capital intensive, sometimes you just get stuck in the middle), electricity (we spend a whole lot on generators) and scarcity of quality materials (accessories etc).

The Nigerian fashion industry is…

Fast growing, very impressive. constantly setting new bounds. Its exciting!

If she wasn’t a designer, she would be…

I dont know, really. All I can say is, it would have been something that’ll afford me the freedom to express me.

What she says to aspiring designers

Just do it! Don’t wait for a right time, as there is never a right time. Just take a step towards your dreams – just like that, you are a step closer.

Her favourite local designers

Deola Sagoe, JBL, Ejiro Amos Tafiri to mention a few

The role of the government

Funding. We cannot grow or expand as we should without funding. It costs a lot to go on a mass scale, which is where RTW like us aspire to.

Marayah O in the next ten years

We would have gone on a mass scale and would have begun the full integration of every aspect of the brand Marayah O (Couture, male clothing, kids, accessories and homes).

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The Look Book