‘My wish is for Meghan Markle to carry my bags’
When renowned Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Dior designer, Maria Grazia Chiuri stormed Lagos as hosts for the Live In Lagos event, little did they know the effect they would have on several players in the Nigerian fashion industry, one of whom was Ronke Ladipo, the brain behind Nigerian fashion outfit, Rouch.
“I went prepared for Live in Lagos because I heard one of my favourite writers Chimamanda and Chiuri would be attending. At the very first event, I caught Chimamanda’s eye and immediately made my way over to her. She was struck by the padlock bag I was carrying, she asked about it and I seized the opportunity to talk about my brand and the inspiration behind the bag. The bag isn’t just a fashionable bag, but also serves as protection to all my ladies. To my surprise, she ordered three bags on the spot.
“I know a cultural activist like Chimamanda is not waiting to be invited to a table but setting tables around the world where more voices can be heard. The bag also caught the attention of Chiuri, who was already carrying it at the second event. This was a big deal to me because a designer cheering another designer is always amazing and I believe this is something we all can learn from.”
Ladipo said she has always wanted to be a bag designer as she’s always had a passion for art and craft, adding that being a fashion designer is a dream come true for her. “I enjoy making sketches of eclectic bags that one day will hopefully be available in stores around the world. Designing is a way to express the unique side of your creativity, and also a career that I believe I can achieve a lot in. Many modern-day fashion designers have often looked back on the history of fashion, design, and styles that have had a significant impact on society. The need for new ideas and inspirations has led many designers to borrow and even reinvent ideas from the past.
“My goals are to create stylish bags that are for all ages and genders. In my creativity, I want to show a creative side of my art ability and I want to make my bags affordable for all as well. I believe those who are passionate about their craftsmanship plus real dedication towards their business will receive great fruition.
Speaking on why the padlock bag is a huge fashion statement and why people can’t take their eyes off it, she said fashion is one of those traditions people make because they feel the need to have something in common, which is still relevant today. “Although, it’s not just about people having identical style, it’s a significant social aspect that unites people. I’ve got to be inspired by something, somewhere and then I think like an entrepreneur. Start small with one prototype, set right prices, put it on a website and on social media.”
Ladipo says she feels it’s her responsibility as her talent and vision play a huge role in how people look, which is why she keeps designing the best of the best for all her clients whilst contributing to the cultural and social space. “I love to study fashion trends, sketch designs, select materials, and have a part in all the production aspects of my designs. I stand out because I’m effective with all my creativity and pay attention to every detail. I love to see the expression on my client’s faces because that’s what keeps me moving and motivated. Being unique is largely about doing small things differently to everyone else rather than trying to reinvent the wheel all the time.”
On highs and lows so far, she said one of her major fashion highlights was when Naomi Campbell was spotted carrying one of her mini purses. “It felt really good; another person on my wish list is the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle as I love what she represents. As for the lows, when you think of where you started from and all you’ve had to deal with, all the good, bad and ugly experiences, you’ll come to a conclusion that it’s not always the end result but the journey that’s beautiful. I’ll do it over and over again and wouldn’t have it any other way.”
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