The Dynamic Duo of Nouveauriche8485: Kolapo Alex-Oni and Tolani Aremu

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The intent behind the brand is to overcome style barriers, continually challenge convention, and push the extraordinary. Empowered and inspired to create these distinctive conversational pieces, Nouveau Riche 8485 sets out to present a brand of undeniable dimension, depth and aesthetic.”- NoveauRiche8485


AG: Can we meet you?
Kolapo: I was born and raised in Lagos; came to the States to further my education and graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Toxicology from St. John’s University. My progression into the fashion world has been a gradual one as I have been involved with styling and art direction in the past.

Tolani: I was born in Lagos, Nigeria. I moved to New York in the late 90’s to further my education. I moved to Atlanta GA in 2005 where I graduated with my Bachelor of Business degree in Managerial Sciences from Georgia State University. I am currently working on my MBA and the clothing line. While in school I stayed active in fashion by styling and writing. I’ve been able to balance both worlds of fashion and education, however; it’s been a work in progress.

AG: How did you find yourself in the Fashion business, have you always had a flair for fashion?
K&T: We were both involved in various aspects of the industry including styling, public relations and brand management; however due to our sometimes hectic schedules, these projects had to take a backseat to more pressing issues such as school. Nevertheless, our love for the fashion and style has always remained a pervading force.

AG: How did you arrive at the name “Nouveauriche8485”?


K&T: The name was derived from the idea that we are attempting to introduce something new to the market, in a sense we are fresh meat, “new money”. We understand that nouveau riche tends to have a negative connotation alluding to the fact that those who may have acquired “new money” are often believed to be classless and vulgar, yet in using this name we are engaging in a play of words, a contradiction of sorts as our designs are anything but classless and vulgar- it’s a name that makes one take notice. 8485 is simply our birth years combined.

AG: When was the brand launched?
K&T: We have been working on the brand for almost a year and recently decided to do a soft launch in order to gain a feel of the market and its reception of us.

AG: How did you begin reaching out to the fashion world?
K&T: It is impossible to underestimate the power of the blogs, as avid readers of numerous blogs, we knew this was a sure fire way to garner some attention for the brand

AG: Would you describe yourselves as creative persons or businesswomen?
Kolapo: I would describe myself as a creative person, I am in love with anything remotely associated with arts and aesthetics; whether it is interior design, architecture or literature, I am intrigued by the ability of people to develop a concept and create.

Tolani: I am a combination of both. I have always been business savvy which is the reason why I pursued a business degree. In terms of fashion, I have always had an appreciation for anything creative, abstract and artistic. Thus, this line has been the best way to coalesce both worlds.

AG: Is fashion a full time career for you?
K&T: Not at the moment, but it’s steadily becoming one of our first priorities.

AG: When designing a collection, what more important to you?
K&T: The wearability factor; is the garment believable? Is it too try-hard? Is it something we would wear? Are all common questions.


AG: What has been the response from the market?
K&T: We have been beyond humbled by the reception from the public. It is quite encouraging and ensures us that we are moving in the right direction.

AG: What differentiates the “Nouveauriche8485 Brand from every other African brand?
K&T: Some may argue that they have seen this idea before- giving traditional fabrics a contemporary spin; however, our intention has always been to infuse an edge to our pieces. Quality is also something we strive to achieve, we would rather produce key quality pieces that ring true to our aesthetics than flood the market with a plethora of products.

AG: A fellow designer who has the most influence on your life?
K&T: We admire the edgy sophistication of designers such as Alexander Wang, Ashish, and Cushnie et Ochs as well as the innovation of Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf.


AG:Biggest challenge so far?
K&T: As with any other fledgling company, raising capital is perhaps the biggest challenge; however, we have been blessed to be able to attain so much with what we do have.

AG: What are your designing aspirations?
K&T: To continue to provide our consumer base with innovative designs made with quality fabrics and with skillful precision and aesthetic .

AG: What is the best fashion advice you can give to you customers and fans?
K&T: It is important to stay true to oneself-great style is evident when it isn’t forced and the individual is comfortable in their skin.

AG: What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Kolapo: As redundant as this may sound, I live by the mantra that anything is possible with God. Anything.

Tolani: Anything worth having is worth working hard for and nothing great comes easy. You have to be firm and faithful in what you believe in and know that through the noise you will hear the music.

Follow Nouveauriche8485 on
Twitter: @NR8485

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