When and how did you launch your company?
The concept of the Marté Egele brand started in 2012 during my Professional Designation course at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles while I was studying Womenswear Fashion. I continued working on it while at True Religion Brand Jeans as a Technical Design Assistant. A few years passed, and I moved back to Lagos, Nigeria to work with a Nigerian Womenswear brand, GREY, for about a year. That’s how I was able to save some money and put it into the official beginning of the Marté Egele brand (obviously, with the support of my family). In retrospect, the creative journey began when, under the watchful eyes of my loving and artistic mum, who actively engaged in sewing clothes for us, her kids inspired me to sew for my dolls at the age of 3. Fast forward several years down the road, this same drive was the propelling factor that led me to conceive of these fun, bold and unique pieces for the Marté Egele line of leather accessories and silk twill scarves. It was such an exciting time for me, and with the right people around me, I was confident that something would at least start, and whatever the world would give me, I’d be able to take it on. However, I love taking risks, so this was that one chance to get on that path to my dream coming true.
Image: Making a product
How would you describe your design/product concept?
I'll call it "Individual". They're fresh, bold, graphic, modern and fun! My design is built on geometric shapes, all inspired by the Art Deco era, which was my favourite era while I was in school. This also speaks to the brand's logo. Then, add a whole lot of fun and culture with the hand weaving using our various coloured threads, and voila! You get a piece you want to rock every day.
Image: Marté Egele product
Do you have a signature or star product? Tell us about it!
My signature product would have to be the Ese handbag coming in 5 sizes: the Micro (the smallest and cutest), the Toy (the black sheep of the family and the fearless one), the Mini (the first born and most versatile), the Midi (the largest) and the Hobo (the newest yet to be fully showcased). The Ese was created a few years after I returned from LA, I had been trying to create the right bag for the Nigerian market, I had smaller accessories that were doing well but my handbags in the public’s opinion was very relaxed and slouchy.
Image: Marté Egele event
Tell us one secret that not many people know about your brand, product, or service.
Every piece sold has actually been handwoven and partly hand-sewn by the designer, me, Uche. From the cardholders, pouches, and laptop sleeves which I make entirely myself to all the top handles and front panels you see handwoven with the colourful threads, I hand weave each handbag. Every brand logo you see on the interior open pockets, I get to hand-sew that special touch in there.
How do you feel about participating in London Accessory Week?
I’m stoked! It’s my first overseas pop up and I can’t wait for a whole new market to see, touch and experience Marté Egele.
Image: Marté Egele product