Duro Olowu sits down with 3oud.com

  • Publish date: Sunday، 19 March 2023
Duro Olowu sits down with 3oud.com

Interview by: Asma AlMulla 

Strolling through the streets at the center of Milan, as fashion-week kick starts, on our way to the Max & Co. showroom thrilled to see “People, places, color” the name of the new collaborative collection by designer Duro Olowu for Max & Co.

As we head up the red staircase at the Max & Co.’s Corso Vittorio Emanuele II flagship, we were welcomed into a garden of prints and colors, the showroom was energetically alive with waves, dots and flowers as we entered the world of “People, places, color”.

After roaming around and viewing the collection, we got to sit down with the creative mind behind it all, fashion designer Duro Olowu

“Thank you for having us today.”


Duro Olowu

1. “How was your tour in Milan?”

“I love Milan, it’s a city I have very strong affections for, it’s not only about fashion but also about life, great food, and great connection. Every part of the world has life in it!”

2. “What inspired you to create this specific collection which is called “people, places, color”?”

“As you know I was working with Max & Co. and Max Mara, which was interesting because they have such a strong international following. And I really wanted to do something for younger clients of them.

I think that younger clients still want to dress well and to wear beautifully made things but making it their own as well.

So, I was inspired by Luigi Ghirri... a great Italian artist, who took incredible pictures with very dreamy colors of Italy during the 70’s and the 80’s.

And inspired by that I wanted to create an urban stylish collection that was still dreamy, something will make you think of other places you might want to be in, something that you can really make it your own.”

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3. “I feel like you have answered some of the following question, but who’s the woman in your mind when you design?”

“Well, obviously she’s younger, but a bit rebellious and a bit stubborn so, she would take a sort of boyfriend jacket shape and make it her own. She’ll wear it as something quite feminine.

And she will mix and match… you know she doesn’t want pieces that are just love, she wants pieces that would really say something about her.

She’s also smart, open and she likes different bands of music… she is just more in tune with the world.

She’s a woman that you can’t fool, she is not going to conform with gender rules etc.…

So, when she walks in a room… she wants to look like her clothes represent her.”

4. “What is your favorite part of being a fashion designer?”

“The possibility of giving women from different parts of the world of all races, all shapes: options. To go and feel good about themselves.”

5. “This collection as we see is full of prints, why do you relate to prints so much?”

“Well, I think it’s my heritage as a Nigerian. My mother is Jamaican, but I lived in London, and I lived in different parts in the world, and for me I even remember the first thing that captivate you as a child: The fabrics you see when you open your eyes when your mother holds you, and of course, there was some monotone but a lot of the prints really. It Gave me an idea as a child of color… you know.

it’s like a walking pageant, And I always try to make it… when you look at it at first it might seem like a lot, but, when you put it down, on, or upon as a harmony.

It’s also about your mood, and even when it’s a single strong color, the most important thing I try and I think I succeed, the prints never overcome the person, the woman still comes through.

You know a lot of people when they wear prints, they don’t know like how to align them together, it’s fun but, I think that’s up to the designer. That’s what I’m known for with my label. And it is very distinctive.

and for women to wear prints, sometimes they wear them singularly but, even monotone colors are like prints, you know if you wear orange hair, black hair, and white shoes… it’s a print.”

“You are creating your own color.”

“Exactly! And you are creating your own Aura… that’s it.”

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6. “Which season for yourself, do you like to design, or it is more fun for you to design? Do you like to create more of a fall collection or a spring collection?”

“I think I like spring collection because the way the world is now. You put on a biker jacket on a knit under, you put on boots. You in Kuwait, I live in London, I go to Lagos the collection also goes to parts of Europe and warmer climates; I think your clothes need to travel with you, and nowadays, that strict it’s pretty summer thing is not there anymore. and even in the winter you want to feel something quite light against your skin.”

7. “What are your favorite fashion trends in the past or the present?”

“I grew up were the shoes and the bags matched. I love the idea of having the shoes and bag that match.

I also love white shoes and white bags.

you know what I like mostly as a trend? The trend of being confidant… in what you are wearing.

Whether it’s a white shirt or a printed dress. The trend of walking into a room and people remembering your personality when you leave even when the woman is just wearing a t-shirt.

and I think that Femininity is great but, femininity doesn’t necessarily mean vulnerable, it can still hold your presence and it’s also about women loving themselves.

I think in the fashion world a lot of what women are given doesn’t make them feel comfortable: The heels are too high, this cut is too short, and the seam is too tight, but when you go outside, and you don’t feel good in your clothes you don’t feel good about yourself.

Clothes are a form of self-expression, so they need to have the best options to express yourself.

Sometimes you want to show certain parts of body, and sometimes you just wake up like oh I don’t like my arms.

it’s not about making yourself feel bad, clothes should light you up.”

8. “So, the industry lately, especially in the final years trends were always toward minimalism and nude colors and basics, so what do you think about that?”

“I think that good design is a good design… I love monotone, colors…sometimes I do them.

But I love strong tailoring.

I think that minimalism is super important in relation to how you want to show your mood, but I think if it’s done well, super minimalism requires very good tailoring and very good silhouettes, and so does the prints.

I think super minimalism makes people feel that the focus is on them.

But you know, when you think of the great from early Comme des Garçons, --------

You know even Phoebe; she has the ability to do a woman suit in cream or black with no accessory, and then, the ability to completely overwhelm, but it never took away as I said the personality!”

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9. “So, in this field there is a lot of ups and downs. How do you handle criticism?”

“I feel very lucky because I’m independent, I own my own company or whatever.

I make my choices very carefully, it’s a tough way to do it but I’ve done enough for more than 15 years.

And, when you are designing, your motive still has to be a lot more artistic and creative, you have to be grateful for the opportunity to make these things.

I don’t take it too seriously; I mean there are some parts of the world where people know who I am, and some don’t. But you know, I never wake up and think about that.

I love meeting people and I love the interaction, but I think humility helps in fashion.

The fashion world takes itself way too seriously, you know what I say? I say it’s not a careful maneuver what we do… We’re very lucky to do it!

The doctors, even teachers who give people a bridge to start in life, that’s a big motto.”

10. “And how do you keep evolving?”

“Art helps me a lot so, I create things but I’m always looking at art. I know a lot of artists whom I like, I spend a lot of time in museums, I travel but not that much, I love culture.

last week I decided to go to Cairo which I love, and I went looking in the old records shop and people were like why you’re looking here find the original records.

you know… I’m always curious and even when I’m in Italy I’ll find some work.

And I like doing things also on my own, I don’t necessarily need to always be with people, I just need to share it with them.

The world is beautiful, and personality is great, and people are great, I think you really must fight for creativity but, it’s all around us!

I really think if people just took a bit more time to really look at these… it’s all there.

You should always try to keep who you are up to the age of four, because children are curious about everything and they are amazed by so many things: simple things and non-simple things, I love this.”

11. “I have come to my last question: as you know, there are a lot of stylists and celebrities around. Of all the celebrities, who are your favorite ones in terms of style? Like whom do you think have the most or the best personal style?”

“You know, I’m lucky I’ve known but not have worked once Michel Obama was wearing one of my clothes… I respect, but really what I love is when there is more to the woman than just the clothes then the clothes take on the left.

And then many more women like Sade the singer in the ages of 90’s, you could be wearing a denim shirt or a suit she always looks like herself. Because you are looking at her talent and not her and I love that!

I know this going to sound funny but, honestly sometimes wherever I’m in the world, if I see a woman who run across the road and she’s wearing something of mine, She’s the greatest… I mean your whole heart… this is high inspiring because also when you see the way she puts them together… that’s amazing.

And, it doesn’t even have to be my clothes, it could be anything. It’s just… women of the world are inspiring including the young women.

Because you know they really have to make choices that… as many you have to make, and those choices include what they wear.”

“I had an amazing time, and I love your answers, especially the way you view the world… you are so inspiring.”

“Thank you, I think the world is inspiring. I think it’s wonderful.”