"I HAVE THE BEST STITCH IN THE WORLD"

ARAMANDA


Aramanda in the Yoruba language means 'Magic', which really is not a far-fetched conclusion to what Araoluwa Popoola, CEO of Aramanda does anytime he wields the thread and needle.  At 27 years old, he has begun making a name for himself as one of the trendiest fashion designers to watch out for in this part of the country. The fast rising designer who also dabbles in event production and photography tells us how he weaves his magic...

Given that you studied Microbiology, how did you end up in fashion?

This started in 2007 while I was in Bowen University. When you are tall with a skinny frame like me, getting what fits you can often be a problem and most of the time you have to get things refitted by a tailor. This, coupled with the fact that I have a passion for fashion, was what inspired me to start my own label.

How did you begin?

I started by taking orders to Tinubu Square in Lagos to sew but after a stream of constant disappointments from the tailors, I had to get my own sewing equipment and employ my own tailors. In the beginning, I didn’t mind what the customers were paying me even if it was 10 kobo, I just wanted to be seen and heard. I wanted everyone to know me on the basis of quality first. I went everywhere - Lagos, Akure, the east, the north as long as I could cover the cost of logistics.

What are the biggest challenges you face on the job?

Delivery…when you outsource jobs and your tailors fail to deliver because they've taken a huge chunk of jobs elsewhere. That is one of the most frustrating aspects in this line of work. 

What makes Aramanda so different from other labels?

I have the best stitch in the world! I got into this business so that I can be the best in the world. I buy books on tailoring from Italy and the U.K so that I can become better so trust me when I say that I have the best stitch in the world.

What does fashion mean to you as an individual?

Simplicity! Fashion for me has to be simple.

Which kind of fashion do you specialise in?

I do everything a needle and thread can make but I would consider traditional pieces and suits my strongest areas.

What inspired you to go into photography?

Photography for me started last year. My passion isn't just for fashion but for anything that demands creativity and in my opinion photography is all about being creative. I usually take my fashion pieces to the studio to shoot all the time so I thought to myself, why not learn it all together?

Which aspect of photography are you into?

I prefer to do more of events, weddings especially because there are a lot of exciting moments to capture.

What is your favourite piece of attire?

Personally, I love modern trads. Most of the time, you'll find me in tunics.

What do you think is the biggest trait you have that has worked for you?

Perseverance; it should be the biggest trait every businessman should have. Don’t ever take no for an answer and don’t ever back off. For example, I was on Ali Baba's case for a year before I finally got to sew him something. You have to be able to say No to No.

You organise parties on the side too, how did that come about and how many have you done so far?

I love going to parties and that takes a chunk of my money. As a business man, I got to thinking, why not throw parties and let people have fun with me. We have organised three so far. There was one at Old Town Hotel, one at the mall and one at Housing.

Long term plans for Aramanda as a brand?

For fashion, I do convenience tailoring right now and I intend to have outlets in Ibadan, Lagos, Abuja, UK, Abu Dhabi, the United States and so on. Convenience tailoring simply means you don’t have to leave the comfort of your home to get your clothes sewn. You don't even have to order online. We come to you, you get a feel of the fabric, we take your measurements, specifications and we deliver right to your doorstep.

If you could go back and talk to your younger self what would you say?

I would tell him he didn’t do wrong because every path I have walked has given me a lesson to hold on to. If you are saying you want to go back to right some things then you shouldn’t be where you are right now.

How did you make your first sale?

My very first sale was my dad even though back then he didn't believe in it. Outside of family though was a guy I met outside.

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