Exclusive Interview With Dr Sophia Omoro Founder, Designer and CEO Of odAOMO
A truly unique brand, odAOMO produces garments and accessories from eco-friendly materials in Kenya. The leather, hide, shell, snake and fish skin goods are constructed of food byproducts and found materials so no lives are harmed for fashion. The fine silks, cashmere blends and cottons used are sourced from an independent Kenyan textile distribution, run by two young Kenyan women. The African textiles are collected throughout the Continent. Each piece is handcrafted and produced in limited batches creating an exclusive and organically nuanced line.
Where some philanthropic entities choose to focus on charity, odAOMO and Dr. Omoro empower through opportunity. odAOMO employs a small team in Kenya with fair wages– Douglas, the label’s leather craftsman, and Valentine, the primary jeweler—that have a profound economic impact on their respective villages.
Here are some of OdAOMO Hewa 2018 Collections
When did you first realize you wanted to pursue a career as a fashion and Jewel designer?
Dr Sophia Omoro :This has always been part of my life’s purpose, even as I pursed medicine and philanthropy. As most people in Kenya, we designed our own clothing (as opposed to purchasing off the rack), and our seamstress mother made all the dresses of the 6 girls in the family. When I got the opportunity to study abroad, I realized that custom clothing was not the norm. I longed for my own style and found myself altering many of the clothes I bought. When friends and work colleagues noticed these custom designs, I knew I had a market, and I therefore had to pursue fashion.
How would you describe your personal style?
Dr Sophia Omoro : Edgy, bold, classic and global. I love many designers, but I am partial to classic non-trendy pieces. I am not afraid to stand out in a positive way.
Where can we find your designs?
Dr Sophia Omoro : Our flagship store is locate in the heart of the French quarter, New Orleans Louisiana. I am so proud to come home with our second shop at the Village market. New wing,. We also pop up frequently in different locations, so follow us on instagram @odaomo and @odaomo_kenya, and of course you can always find us online at odaomo.com
What’s your target market?
Dr Sophia Omoro : The range of ladies who wear odAOMO has humbly surprised me. My youngest customer has been a 14 year old who returns over and over. My oldest is a 65-year-old fashionista. We have blurred ethnic and cultural boundaries, and have many non-African clients proudly wearing our beaded pieces. We are truly global, and thus I find it hard to put a bracket around a targeted group.
Where do you see Odaomo in next 5 years?
Dr Sophia Omoro : My plan has always been and still remains to have a physical representation on each continent. Two continents down thus far !
Your fashion shows often take place in unusual locations and they always revolve around a certain topic. Why is this different approach so important for you?
Dr Sophia Omoro : At the end of the day, we are all here on earth for a purpose. That purpose should be furthered on each and every platform or opportunity. We want to inspire, uplift and give hope to each person who graces us with their time and presence. Each time.
A women’s collection can usually speak for itself, but a straightforward runway show of a men’s collection often fails to have an effect on people.
Do you have any plans in future to start men’s designs?
Dr Sophia Omoro : I have repeatedly received this request…I am working on it ! I promise
What is the weirdest collaboration somebody has approached you with so far?
Dr Sophia Omoro : “Weird” to me is just another word for “different”, and therefore an opportunity and challenge for growth. We had a request to collaborate with a runway for cute little doggies (I have a weakness). Although ultimately it did not happen for many reasons, I was totally up for it !
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