Our Summer of pop ups continues with a one-week event by Eloli, an exciting fashion brand that embodies sisterhood across the oceans. Kelly from Team Sapelle sat down and asked Dibo, one of the founders of Eloli for a quick-fire interview. Read on…
-Tell us about you and your brand, to start… who is Dibo?
I am a creative director of Eloli, a fashion brand which I run with my two sisters. I am based in London while Fese is based in Yaoundé, Cameroon and Sume is based in Toronto, Canada. We are all self-taught in fashion design however we are from a family of creatives and grew up in a household where we learned how to sew early on and developed an interest in fashion and retail. As children, we restyled and designed our clothes and having our mum’s machines and amazing fabrics at home made experimenting, an everyday part of our lives.
-What is Eloli ?
Eloli is an award-winning contemporary fashion brand which showcases African design.
Eloli means “it is beautiful” in Bafaw, a language spoken in Cameroon. We wanted a name that was rooted in our heritage evocative of the feeling you get when you wear one of our pieces. Through countless conversations with our mum and aunts, we landed on Eloli. It has proved to be the right choice – beautiful is the most common descriptor we hear. It makes us smile each time.
We currently have a handbag line, and a collection of men’s and women’s clothing available in our boutique in Yaoundé, our website and through other select retailers and e-commerce.
-How would you describe the style of your brand ?
The Eloli woman and man stands out from the crowd with their adventurous and confident nature. A man and woman of the world, they are glamorous with a chic and unique style allowing them to revel in being the centre of attention. They are free and confident, living life on their own terms while caring for the world around them. They are curious, adventurous and comfortable in their own skin.
The brand incorporates our love for vibrant colour and pattern. Through Eloli we channel our shared passion of introducing an African aesthetic to contemporary design.
-Are your inspirations coming from all over Africa or from a particular country?
Our inspiration is global with our aesthetic firmly grounded in our Cameroonian heritage. We live in 3 different cities on three different continents, we love to travel and discover different cultures. We are very influenced by our heritage and remain forward looking in our designs.
We are inspired by the people we design for: adventurous and fearless women and men.
-What motives you as a fashion designer ?
As a fashion designer I am motivated by a sense of beauty and style which is heavily influenced by the glamorous men and women who I grew up around. My sisters and I have a huge appreciation for African fashion and aesthetics and try to incorporate that in our designs.
We are keen to contribute our culture into the fabric of contemporary design and tell our own story so to speak.
Seeing our designs on people in everyday life is a great reminder of why we decided to start the brand in the first place and keeps us going.
Working with talented people and seeing how we are contributing to their families and the local communities in our own small way keeps us driven.
We have also been very blessed with some recognition for our work which is amazing for such a young brand. We were featured in British Vogue last year and also named one of the ‘4 Canadian Start-up Companies You Should Know’ by The Kit Magazine, Canada. We have also won a few awards and all of this helps us focus knowing that that voice in our heads telling us we can achieve just about anything if we keep going, is not so crazy after all.
Plus, having sisters to rely on keeps us pretty motivated!
-What are your greatest strengths, and how will they help you as a fashion designer ?
Well, I did a strength finder test a few years ago and according to that, being creative and strategic are amongst my top 5 strengths. Being creative is obviously essential for a designer and being strategic helps in defining how we turn our creativity into a sustainable and relevant business. The business of fashion is very competitive and it is easy to fall in love with the glamour and not put in the hard work however it is a business and you need to be able to see the bigger picture and plan accordingly.
Thank you Dibo.