Proudly Nigerian, it’s Ibadan to the world
Nigeria’s Araoluwa Olamilekan Popoola has signed a manufacturing and partnership deal with HD Fashion Inc. for a ready-to-wear line, including sportswear.
Araoluwa is the CEO of Aramanda, a bespoke fashion brand founded in 2013, with a sense of style that can be described as an infusion of the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Nigeria, projecting enviable designs and tailoring standards to the world. The unique styles are peculiar to the brand and its development.
The Aramanda brand started in the city of Ibadan in his dad’s garage, from the base in Ibadan. The brand is virtually capturing the imagination of both young and old clients, especially the upwardly mobile and high-end clients in Lagos, Abuja, London, Dubai, United States of America, Guadeloupe and so on.
With cutting edge fashion prowess, and professionalism, the Aramanda brand under Araoluwa has tailored Kings from varying corners of Nigeria, dignitaries and public figures from the shores of Lagos to the United States of America.
Araoluwa got the brand more than a copious display on the annual Runway Dubai Fashion show since 2017.
On a journey of 7 years, he has been able to put his brand, Aramanda on the world map and he’s striving to compete more with international brands like LV, Gucci, Polo by Ralph and so on, especially after just signing a manufacturing and partnership deal with HD Fashion Inc. New York, as the Aramanda brand is starting its ready-to-wear-brand.
Aramanda didn’t just become the brand it has become today; Popoola went through a tough process of birthing this brand. Starting off for him was challenging as no one was willing to be a ‘guinea pig’ for a designer with no shop or clients. “Nigeria’s market embraces only popular designers; it’s very difficult for newbies to break in unless you have enough funds to expend to achieve visibility. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that” he stated.
His biggest challenge was how he would be accepted as a rookie. Sourcing for tailors was also tough and as he narrated, starting off in Ibadan also did not help matters. “The market is slow, and tailors are not confident about its growth and possibilities, but I had a dream, stuck with it, and pursued it! Today, the world wants Aràmàndà.” Popoola explained.
The manufacturing deal with HD Fashion Inc. is indeed a big deal, as it has projected not only Ibadan to the world, but Nigeria too. With several negative perceptions on Nigeria, this is indeed a positive one that is worthy of mention.
Araoluwa had always wanted to get into the American market but every time he tried, he met a wall, beginning from being denied visa to attend a fashion show in the US. He however did not give up, but opted to get into the US market remotely from outside her shores by getting American celebrities to wear his brand.
“How did this happen?” You ask. Well, his business partner Stan Mukoro made the connection and the rest as they say is history.
“Araoluwa is indeed living out his name, which means the wonders of God. He is such a humble and focused young man, and going into partnership with him was without hassles. Partnership means you bring something to the table and I do vice-versa. It is exactly what ours has been. I can’t wait for the world to see what the synergy between HD Fashion Inc and Aramanda births” Stan remarked.
Poopola certainly knew what he wanted to achieve and his partnership helped him to reach out to influential people to experience their designs. People like NAS, Jeezy, Jidenna, Boris Kodjoe, Jay Morrison, President George Weah, Kagwe Mungai, Former President John Mahama, Spotify’s Chaka Zulu, the Ooni of Ife Kabiyesi Enitan Ogunwusi, the Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila, the Governor of Oyo State H.E. Seyi Makinde, and a host of others.
Proud of his origin, Araoluwa will tell you any day that he is proudly Nigerian. “Have you not met a Nigerian? We’re special, resilient people. Yes, I’m proud to be a Nigerian! Nigeria made me. Nigeria taught me to be who I am today. Honestly, if you can survive here in all ways, the world is yours to conquer.” He said.
And if you think he is only focused on male outfits, you got it wrong because, plans are already ongoing as the women’s line will begin before summer of 2022, because they are already in talks with a women’s clothing line that shares the Aramanda vision.
Popoola is grateful to the families of those in this vision with him, for standing by them while they were on the road all the time to build a global brand. He is grateful to the customers who started and are still standing with the brand.
“I am also grateful to our legal team, because after we worked assiduously to make it happen, we consulted with a couple of law firms with experience in this space, and we went with Uche Nwokedi & Co, who then came up with a framework that would lend support and credibility to our creativity. The journey has just started, and we look forward to serving new clients.” Araoluwa stated.