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Friday, August 9, 2013



We came across the quiet, but brilliant Osime Saibu at the just concluded Africa Fashion Week London 2013. Her designs from the emerging label - Simeogieme were quite simply- 'classic, body shape enhancing and very functional' , to us a breath of fresh air.

She got everyone's attention because prior to her showcase, she just moved around without any 'airs' and inconspicuously not wanting to draw to herself any undue attention.

But the moment the models came out one after the other, wearing her creation with much aplomb! Everyone immediately exhaled that they were seeing a 'bright star' in the making, a fashion meteorite has landed, ready to make an impact. She was one of the highlights (BRIGHT SPARKS) of the 3 days fashion extravaganza at the old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch.

We had a great interview with the Creative Director of the emerging label and it was qyite insightful. 
Interview was conducted by Abiola O. Aloba for Maestro's Media. ENJOY!!!

How did you come into fashion? What made you embrace it as a career path?

I have always been interested in fashion since I was a child. I believe the interest developed as a result of being around the tailors my mum hired for her tailoring business, which was established using the garage of my home in Lagos, Nigeria. I was interested to see how yards and yards of fabric could be transformed into something really elegant for women to wear, so I would always help out after school. My mum eventually taught me how to sew. I enjoyed sketching, so I would imagine different dresses and sketch them on a pad. This was a hobby at the time.

As I became an adult, my interest in fashion increased especially as I had moved to live and study in London, the fashion capital of the UK. So I bought a sewing machine and for practice, I would cut up bed sheets to make little dresses and skirts. Also, sketching designs during lunch breaks at work became a habit. My interest had become a passion, and this led me to ask Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah if I could intern with him. He agreed.

Then I was asked to be a bride’s maid at my friend’s wedding and the bridal train had to buy a particular fabric “aso-ebi” to make dresses with for the wedding. I decided to sew my dress for the wedding myself. This was the first time I would make a dress which would be worn for an occasion. At the wedding, which was in Washington DC, I received several compliments on my dress and a few people asked to take pictures of my dress. This was a massive confidence boost for me, and that led me to establish the business.


What's your brand called and what made you name it so? What particularly do you hope to reflect with the name?

My brand is called Simeogieme. It’s gotten from my full name Osimeogieme which means “God sent me”. I am from Edo State in Nigeria. With the name I hope to reflect purpose. We are all on a journey in life, and we all get dressed for journeys. I want to help prepare women for their journey, as I am being helped as well.

What is your design ethos?

I am one of the believers of the quote “Simplicity is Sophistication”. So I decided my design ethos would be Simplicity, Sensuality & Sophistication. My ethos is reflected in my designs which I believe are simple, sensual and sophisticated.

Where does inspiration come from and what helps to energize the process?

My inspiration comes from different things or places. I do not limit my designs to particular types of fabric or particular cultures. I decide on a theme I want to explore for a collection and then inspiration comes. It could be from tranquility or from chaos. For example I got the inspiration for the hooded bandage body suit (in the Sim Simma 2014 Collection) while sitting on a red and black Kawasaki Ninja motorbike. The image for my design came to me and I sketched it on a pad later.

Wait a minute. Do you ride bicycles or power-bikes? 

Not a pro or anything like that. A friend of mine got me to take lessons with a guy in Lagos and that's it. I was fascinated by my friend's Kawasaki Ninja so that got my interest. I ride both bicycles & power-bikes. Though I do not own my own bike for now.  

Would you ever buy a power-bike for yourself in the future?

Yes! Absolutely. But that would be when I can afford it, and also after I buy my Range. I think Power-bikes are SEXY!!!!!

How long now have you being designing and do you have hands-on experience?

I’ve been designing dresses that get made just for me since I was 16. But as a business, designing to make and sell, I’ve been doing this since 2010. Like I said, I interned with Yemi Osunkoya in 2008. I chose him because I like his designs which flatter a woman’s body and makes the wearer comfortable with and confident of her body. The little time I spent in his studio watching him work and assisting, plus the advice he gave on design and the fashion business influences my design approach and business decisions till date.

Who are those that you consider as inspirations in the business and why?

Apart from Yemi whose work I am in awe of, I am inspired by Deola Sagoe. I find her work very artistic, and she pushes boundaries with her designs. In my early years when my interest in design was developing and she had recently started her business, I remember looking up to her as an inspiration. She still is. Other designers I am inspired by are Vivenne Westwood; her designs are quirky and colourful, and Victoria Beckham. I like Victoria Beckham because her designs are simple, sophisticated and chic.

How fulfilling is your life as a designer?

As a designer, the last few years have been hard but very fulfilling. Hard because starting any new business is not easy, especially as resources are limited and it is crucial to learn to maximise what’s available, but also because of sacrifices one has to make. However, it is extremely fulfilling to see what starts out as an idea in your head, sketched on paper and created to be seen, and then brought to life on a runway. It’s an amazing feeling to be able to share your ideas with many and see your work appreciated. For me, fashion designing is absolutely fulfilling.

What is your educational attainment up till date?

I studied quite a few things. I’m naturally very inquisitive; I like to learn new things. I completed a degree course in Accounting (B.Sc), and a Masters in Business Administration (MBA). I also have an Oracle Database Administration and a Project Management Practitioner (Prince2) qualification. I have gained valuable experience in the corporate world in Nigeria and the UK, and I still take up occasional contract work in Project Management Offices here in the UK.

How would you rate your showing & participation at the recently concluded Africa Fashion Week London 2013?

I participated in the recently concluded Africa Fashion Week London 2013. This is the first time Simeogieme would be showing at the AFWL , and the first time at a grand fashion show. I say “grand” because it is the biggest Africa-inspired event to take place outside Africa, which caught the attention of news giants like CNN and BBC. This brought a lot of attention to the event and raised the profile of the event which the designers that showcased have benefited from. Simeogieme had the honour of showcasing on the last day of the event alongside many established designers like Zizi Cardow, and my designs were well received. Also, the models were so happy to wear my designs. So I am pleased to say Simeogieme did well.

You seem to have favoured the bandage stripes made famous by the legendary Herve Leger brand, Why this?

I chose woven yarn bandage strips as the central theme for this collection because I want to dress women in colourful, bold and beautiful pieces that emphasizes flattering attributes of the female body, to celebrate femininity. Herve Leger made bandage dresses legendary, and I love his work so I decided to explore my own ideas on how I envisioned bandage stripes could be arranged, and also combined with other fabric, and I was pleased with the result.

What is the Sim Simma 2014 collection all about?

It is about celebrating femininity. According to the urban dictionary, "Sim Simma" is a phrase used as a declaration or recognition of greatness by oneself or another person, an exclamation in response to anything worthy of admiration. The vision Simeogieme had with the Sim Simma Collection is to dress women in colourful, bold and beautiful pieces that emphasizes flattering attributes of the female body.

From the body fitting pieces to the maxi dresses, which cascades elegantly on a variety of female forms, the wearer will be worthy of the admiration of all... including herself

With so many designers on the market and many more emerging daily, what helps to stand your brand out? What's the distinguishing factor?

It is commonly said that the bottom is crowded, but there is so much space at the top. Simeogieme strives for excellence and is committed to exploring fashion forward designs, making quality dresses and using quality fabric. As long as we continue striving for excellence and delivering on quality, we will always stand out and we will get to the top. Getting to the top takes commitment and persistence. It’s very easy to give up or settle for mediocrity, but harder to climb and persist. Like I already said Simeogieme aims to reflect purpose. Purpose persists.

Lastly, What does the future hold for you and your brand? Where do we hope to see you say in 2 years time? 

I usually say “I see the future”, not because I actually see it, but I see what I want it to be… “the expected end”, according to the bible. I am convinced the future holds good things for Simeogieme… a flagship store, a clothing line for men, a clothing line for kids… I have so many ideas. I think most importantly, in the next two years, you see me alive, God willing.

Creative Director: Osime Saibu
Design Label: SIMEOGIEME
Website: www.simeogieme.co.uk
Facebook: www.facebook.com/simeogieme.london
Twitter: @simeogieme


Anonymous said...

Very inspiring.

Anonymous said...

This is just Herve ledger recreated, same designs, everything. Very good execution though

Anonymous said...

I've never seen Herve Leger jumpsuit or hoodie though. I like her creativity.