PTE EHÖK got the opportunity to look into the backstory of African print designer Boluwatife.  Since moving to Europe he has looked at merging European styles and fabrics with bold African prints. Boluwatife has also expanded his range of attires offred by incorporating winter wear into his collections through the addition of hoodies and turtle necks. Let’s dive into why Hungary and what’s next for him and his fashion aspirations.

Why Hungary and how does nursing fit into the fashion dream?

My dreams as a younger person were to explore the world outside of my immediate environment and by this I meant my country.  As I had spent more than two decades of my life in Nigeria I had the urge to know what was out there. I was privileged to get a scholarship under SCYP and that made me decide to come to Hungary.

Before and during my scholarship application, I never heard of Pécs, I had to go online and search so many things about the country before making my decision.

But that’s how I found myself in this beautiful city. 

Why Nursing?

Part of the big dream always including wanting to make people happy and have amazing lives through my little gestures or inputs.

However sincerely speaking, I feel that neither nursing nor fashion can help me achieve that as happiness is something that comes from within.

I can however ensure that those around me feel good and are comfortable and that is where the combination of nursing with fashion come together.

What got you into fashion?

Well, it’s always been my dream. Talking of Hungary, I already had little idea about the whole thing from Nigeria and never really developed it. But when I got here, I noticed some similar problems with my course mates and which was that whenever we went clothes shopping items rarely fit. They were either too long, big or large for each person.

At this point, I asked myself, why can’t I make use of the sewing knowledge I have had in Nigeria?

So I bought a sewing machine and began amending clothes for myself and when I finished, my roommate was impressed. He asked me to do the same for him and word got around.

When did the brand start?

The whole brand started two years ago when I went back home to Nigeria, I was reminded of the beautiful, colourful and wonderful fabrics that are dear to my culture and decided it was time to spread it all over the world.

This also gave me the opportunity for people to see different perspectives of Africa and  the world around them and not only their immediate environment.

So I brought these fabrics with me while returning to Hungary and mixed it with different styles which make up Largo Collections today. 

What was the driving force behind starting the whole thing?

Apart from the challenges I faced upon my arrival, I just wanted to spread positive energy and also amalgamate people from other cultural backgrounds.

An example of this is with my hoodie, my designs have been worn by people of various countries, nationalities ethnicities, and backgrounds, meaning you don’t have to be from Africa to wear them, I design them for everyone.

It  passes a message to people from different parts of the world and that’s the positive energy I look to achieve.  

Only a few good things are being spread or said about Nigeria on the news daily and this is my little way to change the world around me.

I have come across so many people who are impressed by what I do especially Hungarians and I’m happy I could add to my culture.

Why only focus on African print?

Not that I’m only focused on African prints, I still mend clothes, work on casual wear because that’s the foundation.

I’m not only going to stick to one style of clothing, I want African print to be seamlessly incorporated in my designs.

Imagine when you dress formally and have a touch of African prints like the ties, collars of suits or your coat is made from the print.

It’s a growth in the process of showing it to be like any other print. An example of this can be seen by Nigeria’s popular singers and Grammy award winners Burna boy, Wizkid Kid and Davido who are known because of African songs and their efforts in globalising it. Surprisingly, I overheard Wizkid’s song being played here in Hungary, just a bit distance from my house which got me excited.

My point is that these are people pushing African culture in their own way and the same thing goes with me.

Do you’ve a preference of print or do you just go for what you want?

Well, there are many African prints and one of the most popular is the Ankara. I use this a lot in some of my designs.

There are other ones too like Ashoke, Adire or Campalla. These are particularly found in South West of Nigeria but Africa boasts of many prints.

Did you face any challenges as a self taught designer?

Yes! Because I had to learn so many things by myself as my initial knowledge wasn’t enough to carry my vision.

I had to educate myself a lot through online materials and practice them on my own. I kept improving day after day.

So yes, I was challenged because I tried many things, made mistakes and had to figure out what is what.

Do you’ve any challenges advertising your designs or bringing them to the attention of people?

I’m a student and focus more on my academics, so I do this as a hobby.  It’s what I love to do, I enjoy doing it and don’t focus on the monetary part for now. 

Doing this enhances my personality and I use it for relaxation purposes after a long day at school.

I calm myself with the sewing machine and it eases stress as balancing nursing and fashion brand could would be too hectic if I did not enjoy it.

Conducted by Patricia Godwin