Tell us briefly about your personal and professional background.
My name is Tivere Oderhowho, I’m a 21 years old designer from Lagos, Nigeria, and I am the founder of Black Enigma. Black Enigma was created in July 2015. It is a brand that creates unique clothing that would normally be described as street-wear.
What inspired the creation of your brand?
Black Enigma was created out of pure anger and creativity. I got tired of the whole generic clothes young people my age wore. I like to be the odd person in a setting, I hate going out to public places and end up seeing someone wearing the same t-shirt or hat like me so it kind of dawned on me that I could actually start my own brand, and so I did.
Has creativity played an important role in your business growth? Tell us how.
Yes, it has. Nigerians are very strict, and very hard to please. I try to outdo myself every time and put in my all before I drop something new. I don’t do collections for the seasons, I just drop whenever I have a really cool idea. The creative process is kind of weird, one second I have a great idea, the next second it’s basic to me. My friends are all street-wear fanatics so they’re kind of my biggest critics too, I mean if they don’t give their honest opinion about my clothes no one else probably would. The growth has really been insane though, I started off with just basic dad hats but now I’ve got hoodies, denim jackets and jean trousers, track pants, and socks. It’s been really insane and surreal.
What makes you stand out in the crowd of ever increasing clothing brands?
My pieces are very unique, it has that weird/Gothic vibe to it, most brands these days create off trends. When I started my brand, there were other brands I envied then, but it’s 2017 and those brands are nowhere to be found. I could have connects to style celebrities in my clothes but I choose not to. I don’t want my brand to be accessible or commercial. Not everyone can wear my pieces, you have to be connected to my brand on a certain level before you can understand the message behind it. My pieces are very rare, I never really make more than 20 pieces per design, except with hats which I restock regularly.
What is your present frustration or challenge in building your brand(Black Enigma)?
The only frustration or challenge I have is with my tailors most of the time. They never really keep to time. I give them deadlines and they still end up disappointing me. I’m grateful to them anyways, if they didn’t disappoint me on a regular basis I probably wouldn’t have decided to learn how to sew. So now all my pieces I legit sew them myself.
Is there something you wish exists in the fashion design industry that is non – existent?
More creativity and less imitation, imitation isn’t flattery. I Don’t sleep, I’m always on the internet researching. I know many underground street wear brands worldwide and when I see another brand here trying to imitate it’s really sad.
I wish we could have more collaborations too, like the saying “two heads are better than one.” If two brands come together for a common goal the outcome is definitely going to be bonkers!
How do you stay motivated and inspired to keep working even when you are discouraged?
Virgil Aboh, the creative director of off-white is my number one motivation. Seeing how he is so dedicated to his brand gives me hope and joy. I get my inspiration from the earth and everyone around me. I am a depressed and socially awkward youth, I find solace in my brand. People want to be themselves but they don’t know how to, they’re scared. They’re scared of how society would react to them, they’re scared to try new things. So, I kind of speak out for the youths through my brand Black Enigma.
Thank you for allowing us take a walk with you on this journey, we can’t wait to see how far you go!
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