“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.” — Bill Cunningham
Olutola Afolayan is a truly a superwoman; CEO, curator, designer and stylist of her own brand, IMVCOUTURE. Olutola aims to provide her clients with the opportunity to explore color, versatility, and practicality through traditional African Prints. Restoring an appreciation for African culture. I had the chance to pick her brain about her creative process, what inspires her, and her love for the Bay Area of course!
Where are you from?
Nigeria, West Africa.
What inspires you to create?
Everything. Conversations, nature etc. What inspires me the most is God, and Family.
How does being from Africa influence your art?
I grew up around color and such a creative environment. I feel like I grew up in an artists village. Especially growing up with a mother who designed most of what she wore played a big role. I remember going with her to her favorite Taylor “Tony”. Tony was pretty amazing.
How long have you been creating?
I have always created. Creativity is my release, it is a gift I was given to by God. It is my gift to the world. I love all things art.
Tell us a little bit about your design process?
All ideas begin as a concept in my mind. Ideas get triggered by diverse things. It could start from seeing a button at the fabric store, visiting a museum abroad, seeing the sunset, communicating with God, having a conversation, or even listening to music. Life itself inspires and triggers my design process. Overall, I give my creative process the opportunity to be organically triggered.
Who taught you how to sew and what age?
I actually started teaching myself. Even when I didn’t have a sewing machine, I would hand sew. Then I spent a month or two with Mrs. Fay Blackmon a local seamstress. So, I owe the majority of my current skills to Mrs. Yinka Aladokun.
Give me five things you love about the Bay Area?
– 1st Fridays in Oakland
What is a big misconception about the Bay Area that erks you?
I am erked by the negative connotation of Oakland being “Dangerous ” or “Ghetto”. I have met some of the kindest and considerate individuals in Oakland. It is such loving city. People genuinely care about each other. The “ghetto” reminds me of parts of Nigeria, where people check on each other and genuinely care about each other. Oakland has a rich culture and history that I have been honored to benefit from and contribute to. In regards to the Bay Area, I love that it is one of the most diversified parts of the country.
Any future plans for the IMVCOUTURE?
The goal is to open a boutique in Oakland in the next year or so, and expand our designs beyond babies, women and accessories.
I look forward to whatever Olutola is going to hit us with us next. Shout out to the black women out there going hard for their dreams. Support her movement follow her on INSTAGRAM
and take a look at her ETSY
Peace and love,