Not too long ago the fashion label Eyola showed up on my radar and has sent my mind into creative overdrive since. The UK-based brand is the product of Nigerian designer Eyola and is split into two branches:
● Eyola which specializes in exclusive cocktail/evening dresses and bridal wear
● Femme de Rose which is a collection of bespoke tailored blazers for ladies
With inspiration from the Victorian era and the supreme tailoring of Saville Row suit-makers, Eyola certainly stands out as one to celebrate. The brand pushes against fast fashion and towards an appreciation of quality and longevity in their clothes, which end up being real investment pieces.
Oooh and the coolest part! One of their services is the experience of designing your own blazer online, picking a fabric and having it tailored to your needs in London before being delivered to your location. You get to be the designer and learn a bit more about the process of making a quality piece while shopping.
I had a chance to chat with the very people themselves:
1. Hi! Can you tell us about your 2 brands, what came first and how it all happened?
Hello! It's really one brand. Eyola Fashion House being the head of the family, while Eyola and Femme De Rose are siblings. Eyola was conceived first then Femme De Rose followed. I always loved the arts growing up and I subconsciously began to draw a concrete line between things I loved and things I loathed about fashion. I was inspired by how West African women were (and still are) conscious not to wear the same outfit as any anyone else for both day and evening wear, especially when wearing the West African traditional attire. Another inspiration I borrowed from my West African roots is the bright exotic colours West African women paint their lives with, from their clothes to their vibrant, colourful personalities. Fast forward a few years, I discovered the Victorian era during my Master's degree. I was completely enthralled by the exquisite tailoring, craftsmanship and elaborate details during this famous period in fashion history. As the years went by, I grew increasingly tired of people walking down the street or turning up at the same event wearing identical clothing. The idea of copycat, trickle-down, clone fashion, that began to plague the streets, repulsed me. So much so that I knew I had to do something about it, and that something was Eyola.
2. What aspects from the UK and what from West Africa do you feel you capture as a brand and a designer?
The Eyola brand is inspired by traditional British tailoring and the entire brand is centered around the 19th century Victorian era - capturing a time in British history that pioneered innovation and creativity. I try to be as creative as possible in every aspect of my brand. Everything I do, I dedicate both time and creativity. During my regular visits to West Africa whilst growing up, I was memsmorised and drawn to the culture and how dressing was (and still is) a fundamental part of people's lives. Women take pride in their appearance and fashion is an art, but not taken too seriously. Women freely experiment, explore and take risks. Walking down a street in Lagos, there is never a dull moment thanks to the kaleidoscope of colour and the rich styles borrowed from both African and Western cultures, reworked by each individual woman to suit her personal taste. All of which I try to emulate with my fashion label.
3. Can you name any song(s) that represent the Eyola vibe?
This is a tough question and has certainly given me food for thought! I would say a mix between classical and jazz. Music that is very much a marriage celebrating classic, modern and timeless masterpieces - much like my ambition for the Eyola brand.
4. Any particular people you’d like to see wearing your clothes?
Women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. I design clothes to inspire women and encourage them to embrace their individuality. No matter their profession or country of origin, each woman is a superstar and therefore an honour to dress.
5. Anyone who has worn something of the brand’s that you were proud to have dressed?
My mother (and my dad, I made him something once too). There's nothing like seeing proud parents beam at you.
6. Who are your favourite designers of the moment?
John Galliano and Thierry Mugler (although the latter hung up his hat a while ago) - the last of the living geniuses.
7. Favourite models?
Three models who I worked with for a private Eyola catwalk show last year. They were poised, patient, hardworking and had such warm hearts and not to mention absolutely stunning both inside and out. The models: Abisola, Deborah and Precious.
8. I hear the number 8 is something of a brand number. Why is that?
As the wheel of creativity spun the Eyola brand, the connection between Eyola and the number 8 became impossible to miss or ignore. Eyola was born on August 2008, the term collection was replaced with 'Octette' - a name that derived from the figure eight hourglass shape created by the Victorian corset - and the logo design features 8 'E's on either side, to name a few. So, No.8 stubbornly demanded recognition and has since become an integral part of the brand's heritage.
Now for the even cooler part. 2015 happens to be an 8 year (2+0+1+5 = 8) which is likely an indicator of a good year 2015 to come for the brand.
It certainly means a good one for us! Frame Ambition readers get free shipping and a free numerology reading until the end of April with each purchase of a custom blazer.
Start on your creations on the website here (www.femmederose.com), e-mail your new friends at firstname.lastname@example.org with the title 'Frame Ambition sent me' and they'll sort you out with some free shipping wherever in the world you are!
Don't forget to send photos of yourself working on them and wearing the final product!