I’m Iffy. I’m the founder and the designer of Olive Ankara. I recently left research, to pursue a dream which is to bring Africa to Singapore. Singapore, there’s not so much black community and I really needed to find a place where I could feel like a little bit at home. Singapore has this amazing thing that is a place where you can really experience the meaning of ‘melting pot’. You can find people from different cultures all living peaceful in this island. I observed that there is no African culture. I felt like I was homesick. I was always going back home and I was stealing some clothes from my mom’s wardrobe. She was upset because I was never returning back the clothes so my grandmother gave me, my first Ankara fabric and I started doing clothes for myself. She’s a very creative person. She’s always smiling, always lively. Like contagious in her happiness. I’m happy to help her, when I can, if I can. When my husband and I got married. I decide to design my own wedding gown to have a Nigerian traditional wedding. When I wore the dress, that I created and I start dancing with that dress. Then I said ok, this is the time. All the name and meanings are given at the market. The ladies they were creating a story around the fabric. So for example, this one that is called ‘speed birds’ which is this. The meaning is like, money has wings you need to use it wisely. I will match the fabric and the design. ‘Olive’ is a name that I really like that I will give to my daughter one day. ‘Ankara’ is the name of the fabric which is also known as ‘African Fabric’. The cool thing about Singapore is that people are really curious. First of all it’s something different that they are not used to it. This is always a big win for the business. When I started the brand, I was only online. But now, people can come to the showroom, try their clothes, feel the texture. I can tell them about the fabrics. What I’m doing and why I’m doing this. Can I try this one? – Yes!
– Wow! The biggest challenge was to start, because you’re always afraid about starting something new, something that you don’t know where it’s going to take you. You don’t have to be afraid, even if it’s not going to turn out good. You’ve been brave and it’s not a failure. This piece of cloth was used to make this Kimono. The fusion between the Japanese culture and African fabrics. People will start to know more about the brand, about the culture, about Africa. Not only fashion but food, music and what we can really offer.