Have you already heard about docklandFASHIONparty? Diaspora Events Germany is holding an evening of African inspired urban fashion, music, drinks and much more on October 1st 2015. The venue “IndoChine” is one of the best locations in Hamburg. Ceiling high windows, huge Buddah-statues contrasting modern leather lounges – the design plays with stilistics from East and West. In addition to this, IndoChine offers a great river view. You should not miss this event.
Florence Oriwo is one of the Fashion designers who is going to showcase her latest collection at the docklandFASHIONparty. We caught up with her over email to discuss her collection, what inspires her and much more!
Interview with Florence Oriwo
Frolicious: The docklandfashionParty will take place on the 01st of October 2015 and you will be there showing your collection. Are you excited?
Florence Oriwo: I’m very excited about the Show. It will be my first presentation on the catwalk. My Fall/Winter collection is my pride and I can’t wait for the hopefully positive reaction of the audience. Besides my personal excitement towards it, you must keep in mind that I just started my business and this might be a real booster for my Fashion House.
Frolicious: Please tell us a bit about yourself. Why did you decide to become a fashion designer?
Florence Oriwo: I am Kenyan living in Hamburg since 2008, happily married with two beautiful children. After finishing my studies in Maseno University, Kenya with a Degree in Business Administration (Accounting), I moved to Germany. I attended Language & Accounting courses & finally became an accountant in Germany. But inside my heart Fashion was always been my passion & I had been designing & making my own clothes using a needle & thread because I couldn’t afford a Sewing Machine. One day in 2009 my husband surprised me with a sewing machine (a Singer) on my Birthday & that’s where it all began. Whenever i found time I spent it on my Machine making clothes for my daughter & I. Early last year, I attended a Beginners Tailoring Course which I dropped out of because I got bored of the slow progress that I was making.
So when my second Child turned 1 & could join Daycare, I opted not to go back to my Day job & concentrate on my Passion. In April 2015 I set up my workshop with the help of my Husband, registered my Business & started sewing. Am so grateful to my Husband is fully behind me and supports wherever possible.
Frolicious: Your line is handcrafted and for women, children and men. What makes your fashion line special?
Florence Oriwo: My Fashion line is handcrafted, here in workshop in Hamburg, still mostly by myself. It is inspired by my own Style, what I like & would wear any day-everyday. I grew up in Africa and migrated to Europe as a young woman & the blend of this is visible in my Designs. The Core parts of my line are the beautiful African Prints & colors, patterns and details, inspired by modern European cuts and shapes but of course with a touch of my personal taste, thus- Oriwo-design.
Frolicios: Do you think that there is a movement regarding African Fashion at the moment?
Florence Oriwo: I see a lot of progress regarding to African fashion, so much appreciation & pride that is associated with it internationally. It is to becoming more independent and ‘’Accepted’ widely. I am blessed to be a part of this movement & would like to share it with my customers too. Oriwo-design allows the wearer to merge beautiful wax print with modern cut and wearable fashion which is not only made for the red carpet but for everyday wear.
Frolicious: What is the most challenging part of being a fashion designer?
Florence Oriwo: Fashion design has different challenges. First challenge is the design process itself. It is a complex mixture of creativity, research, prototyping etc. – the process from the idea to the product is tricky and sometimes disappointment and frustration is experienced. After the creative process the product or line is ready & the designer is satisfied. Now comes the moment of truth, will the potential customer like the finished product?. Will the line be a success or will it just be lying on the shelves collecting dust?
Second challenge: At the end of the day it is a business, and as such it should to generate profit. A fashion line must not only satisfy the customer, for it to be a successful and sufficient business it should cover costs and expenses too.
Third challenge: Marketing-I am blessed not only because of my experience in the Business world but also my Husband’s expertise (he studied Business Administration too), which enables me to make wise ‘Business’ decisions in regards to my Fashion line. The challenge is finding the right marketing strategy. How to package the products, how to price them, how to distribute them, Theory and reality are often very different.
Another challenge is harmonizing family life with business and creativity. Sure, this applies to most self-employed persons. It is a general challenge, but a substantial one. Without harmony in my private life, there is no harmony and success in my business.
Frolicious: Does your work reflect your personal fashion taste? Can you describe your style?
Florence Oriwo: I would wear all my designs every single day if I could, (I actually try to). My line is a mix of Classic & modern styles which can be worn any day , combined with existing pieces in your wardrobe & can be worn for many years to come. That is what I aspire to make possible for my customers.
Frolicious: Do you try to keep up with the trends or do you create your own styles?
Florence Oriwo: Frankly speaking, I try to do a bit of both. In as much as am not so crazy about Trends, I have to admit that there are some that can be modified to stay for a longer time, & of course I have to keep up with what my customers like because if they don’t like it, they won’t buy it. So, I guess that if my personal style ‘is in’ then ‘I’m in’ too. I hope that I’ll be looking back at this Interview in a couple of years as a description of a successful Fashion House.
Frolicious: Why is it important to have such an event like the “docklandFASHIONparty” in Hamburg (Germany)?
Florence Oriwo: This event is afro-inspired, am African and as I already mentioned earlier, African (fashion) designs is really coming up. I hope the party will be a success and the beginning of regular events of this kind. I am happy that the Party is in Hamburg, very convinient for me and of course really appropriate because Hamburg is the most beautiful city in Germany.
Frolicious: Any last words?
Florence Oriwo: All I want is to create beautiful clothes & be able to live from it. I want to jump out of bed every morning looking forward to a fulfilling work day satisfying my customers and myself.
presented by Diaspora Events Germany
1st October 2015 IndoChine (Hamburg, Germany)