Guys, can we act like nothing happened? Can I just give you flowers and act like I haven’t blogged for a while now? Let’s skip the ”Hey, how you doing.” I’ll even throw in some chocolates and a brand new car.Pretend like it never happened… 😀
I have a two good reasons for my absence. School. School.That’s one word times two, but you get it.
On today’s menu…Made in Africa! Yum! You know I’m all about the Made in Kenya and Made in Africa agenda. A Nigerian fashion brand called ‘Native and Sewn’ reached out to me and this is how I styled this peplum top. I paired the vibrant print with a toned down dusty rose pencil skirt and two different pairs of shoes. A pair of Converse and heels to reflect my two moods. Sometimes you want to look like a red carpet starlet and sometimes you just want to get from point A to point B without actually crying about your shoe choices 😀 .
Let’s get to know the fashion brand a bit, shall we? Emmanuel, answers some questions to help you get to know them!
-Who is behind the brand, NATIVE AND SEWN?
Me, Emmanuel Kalu and my wife, Ngozi Kalu. At the beginning, it was mainly me running around building the relationships and figuring out the logistics need to run such an operation in Nigeria. Later she joined and oversees the ordering process and other business affairs that takes place on the ground.
-Describe the kind of person that loves ‘NATIVE AND SEWN’
I would say there’s two main kinds of people that love our brand:
- Individuals who want authentic African and African inspired apparel. By authentic I mean apparel that’s actually produced in Africa by a company that contributes to the local community back home.
- Nigerians that live abroad who desire a modern way to get custom sewn native apparel with all the options that would be available to them if they were getting it made in person back home. In fact, this exact desire is what lead me to start Native & Sewn.
-When did you start your brand and what brought about the idea?
The idea came to me back in December 2015 while I was back in Nigeria looking for a tailor to make an outfit I needed for an event. I was finding it difficult to find a quality tailor and it reminded me of the same stress I felt when trying to get an outfit made back in the US. I said to myself, it would be nice if I could just go to a site and customize my ideal outfit and have it shipped to me to avoid running around in this heat. And I guess the rest is history.
-What was your inspiration for your latest collection?
We recently launched our Women’s Collections. We always had plans to add a Women’s Collection, but because of the numerous request and inquires about custom sewn native women apparels, we decided to make it a higher priority.
- How do you differentiate your brand from other brands of fashion?
What makes us unique is the fact that our apparel is custom sewn on the ground in Nigeria. We provide a platform that gives you the same level of customization you would receive if you were getting an outfit tailored back home. Simply select a desired style from our collections or send us a picture of your desired apparel style and we will work with you to make your perfect native outfit.
- As a brand that is made in Nigeria with buyers around the world, what are some challenges you have faced so far?
Logistics and dealing with local merchants can be a bit of a headache. Having our apparel custom sewn and produced locally in Nigeria was defining not the easiest route. But to me, building a business that actually supports the local community and not just takes from it like so many business in Africa do, far outweighed the hurdles that would be faced. With that said, I decided to spend a year in Nigeria to get a feel for the environment and build the foundation for Native & Sewn, in addition to experiencing living abroad.
-In a world that prioritizes high volume production and sales at the expense of the environment and people’s lives, how are you ensuring that your brand is environmentally and socially sustainable?
My vision for Native & Sewn was not just to make custom sewn apparel, but to do it in such a way that it positively contributes to the local community in Nigeria where our clothing is produced. Far too many times people and business take from Nigeria, in fact the whole of Africa, without much consideration for the local community. As Nigerians and/or Africans, residing locally or abroad, I believe our goal should not only be to increase our personal wealth but to also better our community back home, even if it’s in a small way. This belief is why I decided to start the business on the ground in Nigeria.
-What do you hope to achieve as NATIVE AND SEWN in the next 5 years?
I hope to continue to improve our processes and continue to add and buildout our collections. I would also like to have small show room shops where you can have your measurements taken and place your order all in one place.
-Your pieces are to die for. Where can we buy them?
You can buy or make your custom sewn request from our website https://nativeandsewn.com. You may also send us emails about your desired apparel to: email@example.com.
SHOP THE POST :
Top : nativeandsewn.com
Skirt : here
Converse : here
Heels ; Primark
Photography by Marco Lin.