Being the official blog partner of this event, DC will be having the scoop and gossip on all that is going on backstage so rest assured we will be handing out some treats ;-))
Today we will be showcasing 2 of the designers who will be featuring at the Camer Couture show. Rovisa Design by Rose Mbango and Bot I Lam
Happy Reading y'all!
DC: What is it about fashion that made you start a fashion brand?
Rovisa: From my childhood I was fascinated by the ideas of being a fashion designer as my grand mother was a dress maker. I think my dream came true after my studies when I started working as a designer’s assistant at many fashion houses such as Stiletto, DEBiSS, and more. With a little push from family and friends, I decided to start my own brand.
DC: What is the Rovisa Design brand all about? Tell us about your concept?
Rovisa: Rovisa design is a design label with its target consumers being young and belonging to the upper middle class. The clothing under the Rovisa design brand will be stylish and unique. They won’t come under the rugged everyday fashion, it will be for those who choose to be different and who want to make a style statement.
DC: What is the art of origami?
Rovisa: When I began designing my first clothing line, my inspiration came from ‘origami’ a Japanese word (ORI: to fold and KAMI: paper lit) meaning the art of paper folding. The goal of this art is to create a given result using geometric folds and crease patterns. Origami refers to all types of paper folding, even those of non-Japanese origin. Origami only uses a small number of different folds, but they can be combined in a variety of ways to make intricate designs. So my idea was to experiment with origami in fabrics.
DC: Why did you decide to experiment with this style in your clothes?
Rovisa: I wanted something different, innovative, creative and exquisite to look at because I don’t believe in simplicity when it comes to designing a line.
DC: Who is the Rovisa Design clientele?
Rovisa: My potential customers are young people; men, women and kids.
DC: Where do you get your fabrics from?
Rovisa: I did get my fabrics from many trendy markets in the UK as well as from Cameroon too.
DC: Who does the actual sewing?
Rovisa: I do all the actual sewing with 2 other assistants; Vincent de Paul and LaVictoire.
DC: How do you manage to juggle everything and be a wife and mother?
Rovisa: I manage to do everything by the grace of God and also because I am a very organised and hard working person.
DC: Which fashion brand(s) do you take your inspiration from?
Rovisa: I get my inspiration from designers such as Kenzo, Hussein Chalayan, NiNa Debiss etc
DC: African fashion is slowly enlarging its reins, what is your opinion on this?
Rovisa: I think it is great that there are a lot of designers out there striving to be the best and take on the Western designers. We need to continue to support our own.
DC: How can we help the young fashion designers in Africa to start up?
Rovisa: I think it is a matter of support and I feel this support needs to come from the African people and the African governments who need to help young designers to establish themselves into the fashion scene by financially supporting them thus allowing them to promote their brand. We have great designers in Africa!
DC: Cameroon is slowly picking up on what is going on around countries such as Nigeria, Ghana and South Africa, what is your opinion on this?
Rovisa: I think we would be in even better grounds now should we handle or face our responsibilities and learn from these countries quickly.
DC: What else do the Cameroonian government have to do to promote these changes?
Rovisa: They have to promote these changes by making financial help available as well as creating organisations that can help to promote and oversee projects.
DC: If you were not a fashion designer, what else would you have loved to do?
Rovisa: I would have loved to be a social worker because I do care a lot about people.
DC: How supportive have your family been to you?
Rovisa: They have been very supportive even in the difficult moments and I am glad to have them.
DC: Where is the Rovisa Design brand heading?
Rovisa: The sky will be our limit!
And that was what Rose Mbango of Rovisa Design had to say.
Please see below the interview given to us by Xaverie Bakheme and Lola Adeshigbin of the label Bot I Lam.
DC: Tell us a bit about your Bot I Lam brand? What is your concept?
Botilam: Bot i Lam means ‘beautiful fashion’ in Basa, one of the Bantu languages in Cameroon. We are establishing a fair trade project, whereby we bring our designs to Africa, source the tailors and fabrics over there, so that they can benefit directly. From our profits, we donate to charities based in Africa.
DC: Why did you decide to start a fashion business?
Botilam: We both have eclectic fashion styles and wanted to portray our mixed backgrounds, incorporating our African heritage with our Western upbringing. Also, the idea of seeing stores stock garments in African prints but made in China or Indonesia didn’t appeal to us; hence decided we should start one, made in Africa.
DC: What do you aim to achieve with this brand?
Botilam: An African business exposure, enabling the recognition of African craft and starting a trend to set up/ establish a working connection with Africa so as to enrich ourselves.
DC: Where would you like your brand to head?
Botilam: For greater things of course! How big is unknown as it’s not about fame but the difference we can make.
DC: Which designers have inspired you (Western or African)?
Botilam: Xaverie: Basso & Brook as they are not afraid to use bold colours and prints.
Lola: I like Marc Jacobs. His designs are always vibrant and innovative.
DC: What do you think about the rising fashion scene currently seen in Africa at the moment?
Botilam: It’s great to see, especially that Africans are being so creative. They are finally being recognized both here and back home.
DC: Which African fashion designers are amongst your most talented?
Botilam: We look at designers by skills and not necessarily by origin. However, it is inspiring to see those that have broken into the fashion elite such as Deola Sagoe and Duro Olowu. They have managed to establish their names over the past years.
DC: Were your family encouraging when you told them of this business venture?
Botilam: They were, although they had their reservations as they knew the difficulties you encounter with tailors back home.
DC: How easy was it to start the business?
Botilam: It was straight forward as it is a partnership hence we didn’t need as much formalities.
DC: Has it been all self funded?
DC: Who are your target customers?
Botilam: Our target customers will be from all ages and all races.
DC: Where do you source your fabrics?
Botilam: So far it has been Cameroon, but we hope to explore other African countries.
DC: Who does the actual sewing of the pieces and where are the tailors based?
Botilam: The tailors who do the sewing are in Cameroon.
DC: Why did you decide to source tailors from there?
Botilam: Although this can be challenging, we do it to ensure that our products benefit the continent.
DC: What is your view on people living in the Western world who fail to support and give back to their original countries?
Botilam: To each their own prerogative. Some were born here, and have no ties back home and you can’t blame them. Some were born back home but feel the West is their new home. It’s a personal trait, but we believe it is important to give back. The Diaspora is the key for Africa’s development and more should be done to make them aware of this.
DC: You are not into the fashion business full time, what else do you do?
Botilam: Yes we are not in the fashion business full time. We graduated in completely different subjects and get the opportunity to do other things.
Xaverie: Investigator, Lola: Business Consultant.
DC: Who would you most love to style and why? Male or female, Western or African?
Xaverie: I would love to style Estelle, as she seems unafraid to experiment.
Lola: I would love to style Michelle Obama. I love her fresh yet classic style and she’s not afraid to take risks. Also, it would be great to hang out with someone that I find inspiring!
Hope you enjoyed reading. Below are some of their designs!
To see more, come to the Camer Couture event taking place at the Shoreditch Studios on the 17th of October, 29B New Inn Yard, London EC2A 2EY.
Tickets cost £30 for standard and £40 for second row.
Reception starts from 6pm prompt and there will be drinks, nibbles, fashion, live music from Muntu Valdo, Serge Tebu and DeeQuest with a live band. The dj will keep you going till 3.30am!
The BBC will be there, where will you be?