Aramanda: Projecting enviable designs in tailoring
Over the past decades, we have witnessed prominent designers take a retro outlook while searching for their inspirations, resulting in a rebirth of vintage fashion in all its glory. This is exactly what bespoke fashion brand, Aramanda International, redefines with its fine fusion of vintage and contemporary designs.
Birthed by Araoluwa Popoola, back in 2013, Aramanda International, started out from a small garage in the ancient city of Ibadan and has grown to a continentally revered fashion brand, with clients across Lagos, London, Dubai, US, among others.
Aramanda is also not just the new kid on the block in fashion. It is one that has tailored kings and celebrities both home and abroad. The brand showcased in the Runway Dubai Fashion show in 2017, using Kenya’s superstar Kagwei Mungai as brand ambassador. It has also walked the runway with the likes of Peteru, Gbenga Adeyinka and Maher Alkhaja of UAE stardom. Aramanda has been worn by many top dignitaries including Liberian President, George Weah; former president of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama; Jidenna for BET awards, Ludacris for his visit to Ghana’s president, among others. Currently, it has signed on former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, Oyo State Governor, Seyi Makinde, Alibaba, Don Jazzy, among others, as its brand ambassadors.
Aramanda is on a journey to compete with international brands and while it seems like a daunting task, it is very much on the horizon for this super creative fashion label. “Starting out was really difficult. No one was willing to be a guinea pig for a designer with no shop or client. Nigeria’s market embraces only popular designers and it’s very difficult for newbies to break in unless you have enough funds to expand to achieve visibility. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that either. You must sell at ridiculously low prices when starting out. Sourcing tailors was also tough, as they don’t like start-ups because of low wages/lack of sustainable client. Also, starting out in Ibadan did not help. The market is slow, and tailors are not confident about growth possibilities but I had a dream, stuck with it, and pursued it,” Poopola said.
He also praised Nigeria’s fashion scene as very diverse, dynamic and challenging. “We consider a lot of factors before styling. Early this year, my business partner, Stan Mukoro told me about HD Designs, a group he had worked with in the past. He made the connection and conversations commenced. We worked assiduously to make this happen. Today, the USA knows this brand and now it’s time for the whole world to meet Aràmàndà.”
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