|The Okunoren twins|
I recently had a chat with Taiwo Okunoren; one of the twins behind the luxury brand Bespoke for Fusion Lifestyle about 2weeks ago and decided to share with the lovely Fari Boudoir readers. :D
Born in 1983 in Lagos Nigeria, to Kunle an Engineer and Abiola Okunoren a fashion designer, the twins were inspired by the need to provide Nigerian men with English style shirts thus becoming the first and only fashion duo in Nigeria.
At the age of 19 while studying at University of Lagos, the twins entered the fashion industry when they decided to buy and sell English shirts in Nigeria. Whilst selling shirts, they noticed that their clients were displeased with the fit of the shirts and saw this as an opportunity to start designing shirts to fit the average African man but due to the mass availability of “shirt designers” in Nigeria and the immaturity of the Nigerian retail sector, the twins decided to focus their efforts designing and manufacturing bespoke suits. This made them Nigeria’s first child suit maker, and also the first fashion duo. In turn they inspired a whole generation, both directly and indirectly into the fashion industry that was previously believed to be only for grownups in Nigeria.
Bespoke grew through word of mouth and was eventually known as a luxury brand through its esoteric fit, earning its place as a leading menswear label in the sub-Sahara region of Africa.
The brand is responsible for introducing Bespoke tailoring to the Nigerian menswear industry.
Each suit made is aokunon epitome of invisible opulence and reflects the values and personality of the wearer. It is made using the sacred template of British Savile Row Craftsmanship®
The brand currently has a clientele base of over 2000 men in the Nigerian corporate, entertainment and political environment and in the past 9 years, the brand has distinguished its business through whimsical innovation and professionalism.
Bespoke operates with the philosophy that its clients are an integral part of the business.
They have had the privilege of giving their services to celebrities such as Jay Jay Okocha, Naeto. C, Tunde Baiyewu (Lighthouse Family), D’banj just to name a few.
A few of their accolades include:
- Designer of the Year 2009 (Mode Men Awards)
- Nominations for Best Designers (City people Awards)
- Nomination for best entrepreneur (fashion & style) 07 & 09.( The future Awards)
The Twins have also graced the covers and pages of the leading Magazines and newspapers in Nigeria: The Guardian, Thisday Newspaper and Style Magazine, The Punch, Made Magazine, Sleek Magazines and Genevieve magazine.
Taiwo Okunoren: An underlying factor for us is SUBVERSIVE MINIMALISM- In general, in order to subdue and take proper charge of a particular situation, it cannot be achieved using any form of force at all. On this basis, for anything to be aesthetically pleasing, for us, it must radiate invisible opulence; a way to reflect your style power without anyone mentally questioning your authority. Therefore an ideal gentleman must subscribe to this school of thought in order to avoid him over communicating his look. In more practical terms, we have done this by blending the sacred Savile Row craftsmanship with our very rich African heritage and then brought it to mainstream fashion in order to achieve our esoteric style.
Taiwo Okunoren: To be honest, every step is important. For instance in suit production, if you make the mistake of choosing the wrong fabric, the suit will turn out looking stupid! the same thing will happen if the right fabric is chosen but a bad cutter has handled the suit. so really every step in the production process is as important. Nonetheless, one thing that is totally unacceptable is getting the measurements wrong, your better of not producing anything at all. lol
Taiwo Okunoren: Challenges, i would say no. other than the typical power, funding, etc challenges every small to medium business faces in Nigeria. We have gone pass the days of people saying i cant wear made in Nigeria suits or shirts, we have a more sophisticated consumer now. On this basis, we have decided to move with time and cater for this more enlightened consumer by bringing our bespoke tailoring business to mainstream audience through our up coming retail brand THE SHIRT COMPANY. wont say much, but note, the epicenter of Nigeria's retail fashion is about to emerge lolFB: We'll be watching! And finally, describe your line in 3 words
Taiwo Okunoren: SUBVERSIVE, MINIMAL AND ESOTERIC