Mention Araoluwa Popoola, people may struggle to know the name, but when one mentions Aramanda, many people would scream the name. This is because, Aramanda, one of the country’s most sought after fashion designers, has been making the country proud taking his designs across Africa, In this interview by SEGUN ADEBAYO, the multiple award winning designer speaks on his tailoring journey and what to expect from him this year.
What is the mystery behind Aramanda?
The brand name is Aramanda, being faceless, which I don’t think I am because it doesn’t seems to work anymore. But the brand name Aramanda is mystery on its own. The motivation behind Aramanda is that I want to do something that is different from the norm. I call myself a normative tailor which means catering for people that cannot go to shops or those that do not have time to go to shops because that is where I come in. The biggest thing one can do in life is to solve problems. So, doing that is part of me.
Apparently, we have a lot of people doing this as well but what makes you different?
The quality of what we serve is different likewise the designs and of course the way we take care of our customers is top notch; our customers services can’t be matched by any other outfit. Yes, many people do it but they don’t do it like us.
You’ve been in this for five years now, how close are you to achieving your biggest goal?
I have not even got to where I am going to. I still have to put in more effort because the vision of this company is actually to be known all over the world.
How do you convince people about your brand and what makes your brand special that celebrities now rock them a lot?
Once your product is good, people will definitely want to wear it. But if it is the opposite, that is where problem comes in. If your product is good, people of high status would love to wear it. Once you serve a good product, then it will speak for you.
How do you source for your products?
I travel a lot and I move around because I create my designs myself. Sometimes, I travel to check on what’s going in the world and I use my ideas to bring out my unique designs.
How hard does it come for you creating new ideas for your rich clientele?
I talked about travelling a lot. For me, once you travel out of your domain, you would be exposed to lots of new things that can open up your mind and drop new ideas on your mind. Once your mind is open, your creativity is the next thing. Once you can be creative, you are good to go.
You seem to be pushing the brand more while you stay in the background, why?
That’s the mistake some people make. I’m not a model. I’m a business owner and a fashion designer when we talk about Aramanda, it should be in the fore front while I stay in the background because the business we are pushing is Aramanda. If I’m all over the place and I want people to know me without my business, there’s no gain for me. My business is Aramanda and that is what I want people to know. The truth is that I am not marketing myself but the brand.
How convenient is it for you to run this kind of business without having an office?
Online business is the main thing now. If you have a shop in Nigeria now the shop cannot pay for itself unless you have other business you are running. So what is the point of running a shop that cannot pay for itself?
So this has helped you a great deal?
It makes me feel like I’m getting somewhere when you see many people wearing your brand then you know you are not stagnant; I am getting there.
Are Nigerian celebrities truly fashionable?
Trust me they are. Nigeria is leading the fashion league in Africa right now because many countries look into Nigeria to pick their fashion sense. People are following what we do here in Nigeria. In Africa, Nigeria is like a role model when it comes to Africa fashion
Who is Aramanda?
Aramanda, remember the book Ogboju Ode ninu Igbo Irunmole, I believe I’m sort of that mysterious being; Ara from my name which is wonder and Aramanda which is mystery roll up in one to become a brand. If you look at our logo, we have an animal called rhinoceros, which is the only animal with the horn on its forehead which signifies strength and mystery.