In a world where baring some skin are the norm and a daily trend, comes a daring brand that brings elegance and dignity to the world of women fashion. The House of Fitpparel is a brand about class, comfort, and sassiness all in one drop.
Haderotakisblog had an interactive session with the creative director of the brand, Ms. Lateefah Olusinde and she was a breeze of freshness. The young brown-skinned lady, as she loved to be addressed took us into the world of her brand and below is what she has to say about it all.
HOB: – So Ms. Lateefah, you are welcome to haderotakisblog. Before we forge ahead just tell us a little bit about yourself and what your brand is all about?
HOF: – My name is Lateefah Olusinde, I am currently a serving corp member (brief laughter) if that is a punch line. I’m a very gentle person, one brown-skinned girl like that…….
HOB: – brown-skinned girl jor o (saying jokingly)
HOF: – So my brand is called House of Fitpparel, it’s an online brand actually. It deals with fashion for women, not just any woman, the doyen of women……
HOB: – ok…
HOF: – Like, women who love to be classy and elegant, and at the same time, beautiful. And women who don’t like too much of everything on their clothes, like, they just want something simple and classy, so that’s why the tagline of the brand is “Simplicity meets Elegant”
HOB: – Mmm, Ok ok ok.
HOF: – Yeah, simplicity meets elegant. So, I create clothes for people from the age of 13 to above, till death. (Brief laughter in between) if there is anything like that. So far, it’s on Instagram, House of Fitparrel. That’s all I am about.
HOB: – Ok. So how old is House of Fitpparrel?
HOF: – Basically, let just say almost a year old. Cause I got it registered in 2018 December, immediately after my birthday, that is the 7th of December 2018. House of Fitparrel is just 11 months old, so to say.
HOB: – Hmm, that’s interesting. So now, tell us. Why fashion? Because if you look at the Nigerian sectors, different sectors, you will find out that fashion has always been there, a lot of people are into fashion, all sizes and everything, why fashion, why not other things?
HOF: – well, in fact, some used to say that fashion is a saturated industry, that there is nothing there again. Well, I will tell you that after technology and agriculture, its fashion. Everybody wears clothes every day, then it depends on how you want to stand out, what your competition is all about and if you know your niche and your target market, you can never go wrong in fashion……..
HOB: – ok……
HOF: – even if we are a million that are doing fashion in the same place there will be a different thing. What you do and what I do……
HOB: – ok. Ok.
HOF: – so that is why. Ok, the reason why I do fashion, right?
HOB: – Yeah…..
HOF: – Well, should I say it was an anger that actually triggered it……..
HOB: – oh yeah?
HOF: – Yeah. Because normally at home, in my family, they don’t choose anything for you, they allow you to choose. From the age of 5 or so, they allow you to choose whatever you want, from your Sallah clothes to the shoes you wear to school, the school bag you want, the water bottle and all that. They make sure you choose it yourself so that when it gets spoilt you take responsibility.
Ok, so I remember very well, I think I was in JSS 2 or so, my dad took us to the market, as usual, to get clothes for Sallah. Then I gave my fabric to this tailor and she murdered my clothes, like she totally spoilt everything(both laughing) I couldn’t wear the clothes, I was just crying and she did not finish on time for me to know that this cloth is spoilt so I could take it to another person or maybe try and get something else. It was the night before Sallah, and you know how important Sallah is to children?……..
HOB: – of course, of course.
HOF: – So I was really really angry, I had to go meet the woman the following day and say, I will become a fashion designer one day and I will never treat people this way, I will be better than you, I will be an example how a tailor should be or how a fashion designer should be. She said she is not like that blah blah blah. I said sorry cannot do this one, and then I left.
When I wanted to learn, my dad was insisting that I go to the woman’s place but I said no, that she is not citing a good example, I am not going to learn from her and then, I learned somewhere else. And here I am today. So it was a kind of anger.
HOB: – That’s very interesting. So now, since you have been in the fashion business, how are you faring in the business? Your challenges? Customers? You go to the market to get your fabrics, right? And your client and everything. What will say are the challenges so far?
HOF:-Well, you know there is nothing you will do in this life that will not have challenges, right?
HOB: – Definitely!
HOF: – Ok. So in this field, it has been a really rough road, I must say. Because sometimes some customers can be so so annoying, some will even get to the point of slapping you after choosing about three different styles and want you to combine it together, and after combining it they will say “oh you have spoilt my clothes, this is not what I want” And the funniest part is that at the end of the day when they wear it people will compliment them and be like, ah, who did this for you and all that. And they will be like, oh is this good, is it nice. So the challenges have been the market like there are no many people but there are many people, you understand?
HOB: – Yeah, I understand.
HOF: – Like reaching out to the right people has been a challenge and the way customer behave has also been a challenge.
HOB: – Ok.
HOF: – fabric is not a problem for me, I am from the southwest, so you know Lagos is there and I know people in Aba and all that. So it’s fine.
HOB: – So now, when it comes to fashion in this day and age, the age of social media and online marketing, digital marketing and all. How do you promote your brand, what platform do you use?
HOF: – Basically, it’s Twitter and Instagram. That what I use most.
HOB: – and on these social media platforms, can you say that so far most of your clients are from here?
HOF: – especially from twitter, funny enough. You know how Twitter is? The traction has been from twitter, actually. Like the best traction so far has been from Twitter, because on Instagram, everybody just scroll and go, they just scroll and go. I cannot say categorically that I have gotten one client from Instagram but from Twitter, I have like 30.
HOB: – Wow! Interesting.
HOF: – And I just opened Instagram not so long ago……..
HOB: Twitter or Instagram?
HOF: Twitter. And I have like maybe 40 people following me and 30 out of them are already my clients. So Twitter to me is better than Instagram. I guess maybe there are a lot of flashy things on Instagram, most people get carried away, they don’t know what they want.
HOB: – Yeah, that’s true. So, as a young person in the Nigerian economy system and being in the fashion industry and all, has the economy downfall affected your brand and its market and your clients so far?
HOF: – Yes, it has affected it, in the sense that, the way some people will price you eh. They can call something worth ten thousand naira a kobo. And they will tell you that it is because of the economy, that they don’t have much and they need to look this good and all that. So, I have to adjust but not to the extent that will affect you. So that is it.
HOB: – So now, let get back to you as a person. You made mention of how you started this whole thing out of frustration and how the passion emanated from there, right? I know you are a serving corp member right now and when I first met you, you were in school then and you have been up and down about this fashion thing. Why the name HOUSE OF FITPPAREL? What inspired that name?
HOF: – well, my friends have always been asking me when am I going to open a shop since I graduated. But I told them that I am not going to open a shop so to say, that I am just going to have a house. So when I kept telling them a house, they now asked, why do you want to do a house? I said, in fashion, you don’t have to be a regular roadside tailor before you become a fashion designer and I said a fashion designer, not a tailor. There is a difference. I am not doing copy and paste; I am being creative with whatever I do, so don’t expect me to be like everybody, I just don’t want to be like everybody. Then the name Fitpparel? I thought about it and I know that my brand is a kind of a modest brand but at the same time, there should be sassiness because personally, I am a sassy alhaja, if it is allowed to say that.
HOB: – (laughing) sassy alhaja, I like that.
HOF: – Yes. So, I like to put a drop of myself in it. So if you want something that defines you, then I am the right person to reach out to. I will just know the way you behave, and then I will design something for you. That’s why it is Fit and Apparel.
HOB: – Is it safe to say that, you derive your creativity from your client’s personality?
HOF: – yes, yes. Exactly!
HOB: – what is your projection for the next five years for the House of Fitpparel? Where do you see yourself and your brand in the next five years?
HOF: – well, in the next five years I see myself producing nice, elegant and classy clothes for at least a thousand customers per month
HOB: – per month?
HOF: – Yes, per month.
HOB: – How many employees do you have under you?
HOF: – basically I have just one.
HOB: – which is?
HOF: – social media director and graphic designer
HOB: – so Ms. Lateefah, how many clients does the House of Fitpparel have under its belt right now? If you were to estimate?
HOF: – that will be the estimate of 50 because of change of location.
HOB:- So, thank you very much Ms. Lateefah and we wish you the very best in your endeavors and everyone at the House of Fitpparel and thank you for your time.
HOF:- my pleasure. Thank you for having me.
The demand for indigenous Nigerian outfits is on the rise and this has been one of the core aspects of House of Fitpparel. See more photos below.