I spotted Melissa Obika’s designs the moment I walked into Free Masons hall in London to view Fashion Scouts emerging designers collections during the Autumn/Winter 2016 fashion week. Her beautiful athleisure collection was a fusion of neon brights, repetitive patterns and a variation of textures. With 2 major awards, the British Council’s International Residency Scholarship and the Elevon World best designer Award in under two years of starting her label, Melissa Obika is definitely a major brand to watch. Completely enamoured by her designs, I had to find out more about the brilliant designer. Read up on my interview with her below 🙂
– Tell Bonguise about your background
I am London based womenswear designer who specialises in structured fashion, print and embroidery. I studied an art and design foundation degree at London College of Fashion and then moved to Manchester where I studied BA Fashion at Manchester School of Art.
– What encouraged you to get into fashion designing (The moment you decided to become a fashion designer)
I come from a long line of designers/seamstresses but my mother and my grandmother use to make African clothing, so my childhood was surrounded by colourful fabric and print, and the sewing machine buzzing in the background. This is when I started using the scraps of my mum’s leftover fabrics to make clothing for myself and my friends, and this is when I knew I wanted to be a designer.
– Who is the Melissa Obika woman
The Melissa Obika woman is the fun young women who loves bright colours and intricate, structural, one of a kind stand out garments.
– How would you describe your aesthetic
My design aesthetic is bright sculptural sports luxe, my garments are a mix of every day sports wear pieces with a twist of extravagant layered garments.
– What has been the highlight of your career in fashion so far
Winning the GFW British Council Residency Award for my last collection Wanderlust. It enabled me work in Morocco and make this new collection; Cascade and helped me with the steps to become the designer I want to be.
– What are some of the challenges you face as an emerging fashion designer
As an emerging designer there are challenges of sorting out the business aspects of having your own brand. This is why I always find time to mingle with other designers with establish brands to gain knowledge, tips and ideas.
– Where do you see your brand in 5 years
In 5 years I would love to see the brand still thriving, at least 2 fashion shows a year and my garments still being used for editorials. I would love to collaborate with other emerging designers too so I look to do that in the future.
– What advice would you give people aspiring to be fashion designers
Dear aspiring designers
I advice you to look out the window and look at life around you in detail, there is inspiration everywhere. You do not need to study fashion to be a designer all you need is a pen, paper, sewing machine and creativity… and a few internships.
You can check out the rest of her beautiful designs at www.melissaobika.com