In Nigeria, summer is all year round and pool parties to beach trips are always in the works. This means that you always need a good swimsuit. Kamokini was born out of the need to find swimsuits that are fashionable, body conscious and affordable. LFDW spoke to the creative director of the brand, Kambili Ofili to learn about the growth of her mega brand.
LFDW: Why the name Kamokini?
Kambili: My name is Kam-bili Ofili and the brand is about bi-kinis & mono-kinis. It’s also a play on “pi-kin” as I’m the child of my parents.
LFDW: What’s the inspiration behind your brand and aesthetic?
Kambili: Everything I love art, Africa, music, engineering. The current collection is a tribute to the beauty of traditional African women dressing & hair styles.
LFDW: What do you enjoy most about designing within the swimwear space?
That I get to add real value to a woman by creating pieces that genuinely make her more confident. I do this with swimwear that is conscious of her vulnerability whilst “exposed publicly” to resort wear that is conscious of her need to look elegant. Even if she may fluctuate in size, as she goes about enjoying her life (hence the name “Freedom” for the Resort wear- it’s based on a one size fits all concept with no zips but elastics and wraps).
LFDW: How does Lagos or Nigeria as a whole inspire your designs, if at all it does?
Kambili: I am Lagos, Nigerian, African. I am “their” inspiration. I’ll give you examples. Our KUBA dress is an innovative spin on the Nigerian iro & buba combined in one. Our KOGA dress is an invention based off the Guinean, Egyptian & Ethiopian women’s wrapper tying coupled with the Grecian togas.
LFDW: Who is the Kamokini woman?
Kambili: Any woman who wants to be.
LFDW: Are there any particular retail challenges you’ve faced since the inception of your brand?
Kambili: There are many but I’ll name one. The depreciation of the naira is destabilizing our selling price (RSP). Our solution is to locally source and we are making plans to fulfill our supply chain in its entirety locally as soon as possible.
LFDW: What do you hope to gain out of X-Retail this year?
Kambili: We hope to re – inspire the KAMOKINI woman with our first ever Resort wear collection selling at X retail.
LFDW: Your price point is unique and positioned to attract a large customer base? Was this a deliberate decision?
Kambili: It certainly was! KAMOKINI is a brand of the people. Things are tough enough as they are. A woman should have the “freedom” to look as good as she deserves without having to break the bank.
LFDW: How has this benefitted your business if at all?
Kambili: Ask me again in a year. We are not done finding out!
LFDW: Where do you see your brand in the next 5 years?
Kambili: Being an export commodity.