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Cover Post: The Confessions Of A Rising Designer By Omuah Onyon

It started with a dream, having a fashion  label that promotes our culture in every piece. Using our cultural fabrics infusing contemporary designs to create fashion accessories that match  international standards. The chaste brand started in Lagos in the early 2000s, at a time when the government started to encourage patronage of home made products. It was a product that caught the attention of people, the beauty of the Lagos community is their embrace of new fashion,  and the ability to rise up to the challenge of anything presented to them. It wasn’t so difficult to gain their acceptance of the Chaste products,  the moment they got the hang of it. The Chaste brand gave birth to other products that saw the acceptance of our cultural inspired fashion accessories.

Omuah Onyon CEO, Chaste

The glitz and glamour of the Lagos fashion and entertainment community was definitely good for our unique accessories used on red carpets, dinner parties, for night outings and more. The determination to look different and stand out is their major bane. As our brand grew, the need to expand our frontiers to other cities came and Abuja was considered first.
 Abuja the capital of the nation was assumed to be pace setting, and a city that welcomes more culturally inclined fashion. Most of its people are adorned in one Nigerian outfit or the other. Our pieces were expected to be embraced without a thought. First off, after much study, the realisation that Abuja was conservative hit home, and the need to go to the drawing board was essential. It was noted that there was a difference in taste, night life is minimal and an everyday piece is more acceptable than pieces used at night or for red carpets.
Gradually,  the acceptance of the Chaste brand began and we found a mix multitude which has grown,those who are conservative and those who are out for all the glitz and glamour Abuja has to offer.
What is most encouraging is the fact that the chaste brand has been defined as a quality brand and its pieces are gaining acceptance by the day. Daily there is a different outlook to things, and challenges abound awaiting to be conquered.
Challenges in the business so far is staffing,  accessibility to raw materials,  and the spending power of the people. We have had to  in recent times come up with ways to push the brand by making it easier to afford still maintaining quality and uniqueness. The idea basically is to own this, always having our cultural edge to every piece, so even in 20 years or more to come, when the Chaste brand is called it will be noted that it maintains the African edge. The idea from the start is a brand that is made in Nigeria, by Nigerians, for the world!
Photos: Courtesy Chaste Collections