Is it really any shock that African-inspired fashion is trending at an all time high? With respect to the diaspora, African print head wraps, neckties, dinner jackets, socks, home decor and more as being sought after by all. People from every walk of life are feelin' the patterns, the shapes, the adornment known as African fashion. Textiles that reflect light. Prints so bold and vibrant. African garments stand out like sunshine light on dismal gray day.
The most renowned apparel has the finest quality. The owner doesn't have to explain away the garment's beauty; it's as if the clothing itself speaks a language of its own and anyone in full view of it's splendor fully understands it's native tongue. African apparel screams, "I'm Black and I'm Proud."
Wearing an African style is one of the simplest ways to paying homage to a home some of us may never see. The appeal seems natural. The fit feels like it is tailor-made, and in some cases what you see online are one of kind, custom designs. They take weeks to make! One young lady is making it easier for us to rock African designs without the couture wait. Abiye-Yvonne Dede has always had fascination with fashion. Her interest turned into full blown obsession, her ready-to wear online fashion boutique, L’AVIYE.
MRTV: When was L'aviye founded and what inspired you to open an online boutique featuring African print apparel and accessories?
L’AVIYE: I've always had a long standing fascination with fashion. I love to wear outfits that are sophisticated, one-of-a-kind, bold and make a statement. I love the feeling I get when I walk into the room and everyone asks, 'where did you get that?'
Because of my Nigerian heritage, I’m in love with the vibrant color and patterns of the African print fabric and I wanted to make items from these gorgeous African prints, that would be affordable, good quality and could be worn with everyday outfits to create the ‘African-meets-Western’ look.
I wanted to add my own contribution to the already existing fashion scene by showing how African fashion could be incorporated into work, party, casual and play outfits using these outfits & accessories. I initially started as ‘Accessories by Abiye’ in December 2012 which we rebranded to L’AVIYE in November 2013.
MRTV: Starting a business takes money! How were you able to fund your vision?
L’AVIYE: I started gradually and my business has grown organically since 2012. To be honest, I started out with £10 ($13.19 US Dollars) which I saved up from my student budget. I acquired materials I needed to make my first item and a friend of mine bought me some fabric from her trip to Nigeria. I sold my first items and used the proceeds to buy more materials. It just continued from then.
MRTV: Can you give me a few examples of how social media has helped your business?
L’AVIYE: Social media has been everything for L'AVIYE. When I started, I knew no-one and no-one knew me. I tried to post as much as I can on social media and customers found me. Its been incredible! Today there are over 70,000 #LaviyeGirls globally! What an honor.
MRTV: Entrepreneurship is not for the weak! What hardships (if any) have you experienced as a business owner and how did you overcome them?
L’AVIYE: Gosh! Where do I start? Every day is a challenge with owning your own business but I try to just focus on the end goal and tell myself that nothing good comes easy. Every now and then I look back at how far we've come and I have to pinch myself! God has been super faithful.
MRTV: What is your favorite aspect of being an woman in business?
L’AVIYE: I like that I can use the hashtag #GIRLBOSS *laughs* Ok, I'm joking, lol! But honestly, women are made of tough stuff you know! I feel privileged to be a woman.
MRTV: Where would you like to see yourself and your brand in the next year?
L’AVIYE: I'd love to own 3 boutiques - one in New York / LA, London & Paris.
MRTV: What sets your company apart from other online boutiques?
L’AVIYE: L'AVIYE is a brand I can say I'm truly proud of. We're dedicated to providing affordable, trend-led, ready-to-wear African fashion to #LaviyeGirls all over the world - pieces that you can truly treasure again and again! Most African fashion businesses make items to order, which can take up to 4 weeks. My girls see something on our website today and get it delivered to their house in 1-3 days and our partnership with DHL has been instrumental to achieving this. I'm super proud of that.
MRTV: What trends for this season should we adding to our wardrobe?
L’AVIYE: Ruffles, Ruffles, Ruffles! We've got some cute items on the site that feature this trend at the moment.
MRTV: What are a few tips to help entrepreneurs WIN when they start a business?
L’AVIYE: Believe in yourself and work hard. Work very hard. Good things come to those who work hard :)
MRTV: Favorite R&B group?
L’AVIYE: Ohhhh I can't pick! I'm stuck on my old school R&B groups still but I'd say 112 & BoysIIMen.
MRTV: Where did you go on your last vacation?
L’AVIYE: The Maldives. It is dreamy!!
MRTV: If you could style any celebrity, who would it be and why?
L’AVIYE: Eva Longoria most definitely I've loved loved LOVED her since Desperate Housewives. But Hey Kim K! I love you too :)
L’AVIYE is on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn. Add them on any of these pages to be informed about any special offers we may have such as giveaways, flash sales and events.
To say thank you, Abiye is offering all Minority Report feat. Black Owned Business readers 10% OFF any L'aviye purchase on the website. Visit: http://www.laviye.com/ and type BLOGFEATURE10 at the checkout.