As mentioned yesterday, all this week leading up to their awesome “Sample Sale” next Wednesday, PW Style will be featuring interviews with the five Designers-In-Residence at the Philadelphia Fashion Incubator at Macy’s Center City.
First up, Latifat Obajinmi and Moriamo Johnson, two Nigerian sisters who are infusing a little bit of culture and couture to the local fashion scene with their line Aso Damisi (which translates as “cloth prosperity” in the Yoruba language).
Born in Nigeria, West Africa and raised in New Jersey, the two have been designing their own clothing together since they were children and have the unique distinction of being the only PFI designers without any formal design training.
In fact, both attended Rutgers with an entirely different career path in mind—Latifat majored in Human Resource Management while Moriamo studied Chemistry.
Sporting their own designs around town, the ladies constantly received positive feedback from people and so, in 2010, they finally decided it was time to launch their own brand.
Using bold, African-inspired textiles to create sophisticated, feminine silhouettes, Aso Damisi celebrates their love of both the American and African cultures equally and is meant for modern women who dare to stand out. As for their necklaces, well, they’re just flat-out badass.
Anyway, we decided we wanted to get to know Latifat (“Tifa”) and Moriamo (“Mo”) on a more personal level. Here’s what they had to say about all things style-related…
So how would each of you describe your own personal style?
Tifa: I love to pair different things together. I like to take risks with what I wear. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t.
Mo: My style is more simple and chic. I’m not as daring as Tifa.
What are some of your fashion goals?
Mo: We aspire to be among the major fashion companies in the world. We want to be forefront in introducing modern African inspired fashion to the masses.
First thought when you were accepted for the Philly Fashion Incubator?
Mo: We were ecstatic to find out that we were chosen. We knew it was time to put in more work and that this opportunity would be extremely beneficial to our business.
Where do you get your inspiration?
Tifa: We take inspiration from our daily lives and try to think of styles of clothing that would fit into any woman’s closet.
What celebrity would you love to see sporting one of your outfits?
Mo: Beyonce, Gwen Stefani and Rihanna.
If you had to stuff a duffle bag and suddenly skip town, what would you bring?
Tifa: Blazer, Pants, sunglasses, my iPod, and some cash!
Mo: Sundresses, hats, wedges, and my one-way ticket to Fiji!
What would you say has been your proudest moment in your career as a designer?
Tifa: Our proudest moment so far has been the very first time we saw our names on the wall of the Incubator studio provided by Macy’s.
What’s one item you think every girl absolutely must have in her wardrobe?
Tifa: One of Aso Damisi’s garments, of course.
Who would you say are your favorite designers?
Tifa: I love Zac Posen.
Mo: I love Michael Kors.
What’s on your iPod playlist right now?
Tifa: I have a little bit of everything on my playlist, from indie to hip-hop.
Mo: I have D’Banj (a popular African artist), Rihanna, Beyonce, and Maroon 5 on constant replay.
What advice do you have for fashion-obsessed women in this crappy economy?
Tifa: She should only buy something she is in love with.
Mo: She should invest in high quality garments that will last longer.