#TOSInterview: Orange Culture’s Bayo Oke Lawal on diffusion lines and grooming a new generation of customers

30 January of 2016 by

Oc By Orange

Man of the hour dressed in Orange Culture

The Orange Culture showcase at the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week was a very quiet landmark. In creative director Bayo Oke-Lawal’s understated but consistent method, he introduced us to his new project, a diffusion line called Orange by Orange Culture.

The clothes are very Orange Culture; androgynous and perfectly perched on the line between edgy and wearable but definitely with a younger and more adventurous buyer in mind. They feature adire, a 2011 experiment that has now become a staple at the brand.

In the weeks following, through the brand’s official Instagram handle, Orange Culture also introduced ‘OC by Orange Culture,’ a licensed street wear diffusion line made up of T-shirts and sweat shirts emblazoned with the brand’s latest season mascot, the barely clad fisherman rowing out of a glistening mouth, audacious but mass market ready. We tracked Adebayo Oke-Lawal, creative director of the brand down and got him to tell us all about the new lines.

TOS

A high street diffusion and a mass market diffusion line in quick succession of each other is quite the gut punch. Tell us about Orange by Orange Culture?
ORANGE CULTURE
Wow – thanks for the introduction Ed haha. Orange by Orange Culture for us, is an opportunity to communicate with our younger clientele. We find that even though we do have a beautiful youth following, a lot of them are not in a place to buy luxury/ high end items and instead focus on purchasing the less expensive accessories . As a brand we wanted to give something to those young minds – that have supported us pushed us and helped give the brand the confidence it embodies today .Orange by Orange Culture embodies what our brand is about – androgyny and edge but mixed with wearability – the clothes are made mainly with Adire which we started a relationship with in 2012/13 and are easy on but unique pieces that will not break the bank . It is not necessarily cheap because we still want it to preserve the quality that Orange Culture is known for but it is a lot more affordable and is created with a lot less expensive techniques .
TOS
From the teasers and the showcase at LFDW 2015, one thing is clear, the new diffusion line pulls a lot of inspiration from the Orange Culture archives. Adire prints from 2011, leather from 2012, sheer from 2013. Is this deliberate?
Bayo Oke Lawal
 
Very much so. What we’ve done is the diffusion line pulls from some of our favourite pieces from the luxury line tweaks and makes it more affordable, it is giving people that cannot afford some of their most loved pieces the opportunity to afford something close to it .

TOS

How does Orange by Orange Culture differ from the parent brand?

Bayo Oke Lawal
The parent brand and Orange by Orange Culture differ in terms of fabrication for example our parent brand is somewhat expensive because we offer luxury in terms of fabrication and construction.  This makes it more of an investment for us as a brand rather than Orange by Orange Culture. Plus Orange by Orange Culture caters to an entirely different facet of our consumer block .

TOS

Who is the man the Orange by Orange Culture brand is going to dress?
Bayo Oke Lawal
Our younger and more emerging clientele, people who plan to buy the parent brand but want to grow into it so they build piece by piece with Orange by Orange Culture until then.

OC 21 OC 23 OC 24

TOS

You’re also debuting a street wear brand, OC by Orange Culture. Tell us about that?

Bayo Oke Lawal

Following is a street line for the customers who love the brand but aren’t brave enough to pull off our androgynous pieces . We decided to encapsulate all of our aesthetic into pop art and push them on easy to wear tee shirts and sweatshirts. We find that the everyday man, trying to ease his way into a love affair with Orange Culture, finds his place within this brand.

It’s also for our younger and more relaxed Orange Culture lovers – they particularly enjoy everyday wear . So we are giving them something they can wear every single day of their lives but still carries the Orange Culture touch.

orange 2

 

TOS

I have to ask though, the timing seems auspicious. Especially now that many international brands are folding in their diffusion lines into their parent labels. Why now?
Bayo Oke Lawal
 
I think the Nigerian market is entirely different to be honest. It functions independently and has a different need. I feel the market here needs brands to cater to various needs and market bases because we have a very diverse mix of consumers from very different stratifications and that is something a brand can key into to build its financial base here.

TOS

In late 2015, Raf Simons left fashion house Dior, citing the overwhelming pressure of having to design several collections at the same time left him drained and disillusioned with fashion. You are taking on three distinct lines with different aesthetics, which translates to a minimum of four collections a year. How do you plan to juggle this so you don’t drop the ball?
Bayo Oke Lawal
Well orange culture the parent brand is the only brand that follows full on seasons. Our other two brands are pop offs. We present whenever we feel ready to in the year. So though the pressure may exist, it is a lot less than you may think it is ( or maybe because I love it / it feels less.) My plans for Orange Culture involve so much more – so for me this feels not like stress but a hardworking step in the right direction.
TOS
With three lines, retail will become even more important to you, what are your plans? Will you retail your  new lines through channels different from Orange Culture?
Bayo Oke Lawal
 
I already do that and I definitely definitely plan to continue that.

(Editor’s note: Orange Culture has concessionary deals with Stranger Lagos and Osengwa in the US. They can also be reached in the UK via May Concepts).

TOS

One final question, any sneak peek details we can expect for the coming autumn collections?

Bayo Oke Lawal

Hahaha just come with an open heart and an open mind and enjoy as per usual, an emotionally driven collection.

 

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