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My brand touches everyone…….Maryam Elisha, CEO Rikaoto.

 Rikaoto by ME is one of the leading couture brands in the Nigeria today. Since its debut into the fashion world, Rikaoto has proved it’sexceptional and uniqueness in their client’s minds and personalities. Beautiful and radiant Maryam Elisha is the Creative Director of the brand. In this recent interview the former model who designs for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan talks about her brand, clientele and plans for her company. Excerpts:

What’s the latest?

Is that we are working on a collection and we are going to launch our fashion show very soon and it’s going to be really fun having different collections of ours for different clients.

Your brand recently delved into making bridals?

Because it’s like a wedding season and lot of people have recognized the Rikaoto Brand as one of their first choice to work with and we are grateful about that. Also we have been doing reception dresses and now people like to change to attire after their normal white outfit from church or mosque. We are approaching the season of pageantry and so, we have been doing a lot of those wears and we are lucky to have different pageant winners emerge wearing Rikaoto just like the last Miss Charismatic and so many of them. It’s been great and fun working with different class and personalities.

Which of the fabrics are you comfortable working with?

What I try to do as a fashion designer is to convert what I have available into something different and unique. We could have a normal fabric but the way I would deliver would be quite different than the way any other person would interpret the fabric. I like to use less of the main fabric and more of different combinations to figure out a dress. Most of the time that’s what I do and people keep asking what kind of fabrics is this and I tell them it’s about four different fabrics here put together and that’s what I do. It’s more of creating the type of fabrics we use than using one particular fabric.

What’s makes you Unique?

In Rikaoto, we focus on the wow look kind of fabrics. Making it looks different and so what makes this exceptional is that we use a mixture of English and African while most people focus on one. We are in the modern days whereby most clients that we get say they want to be African and a little bit of English. So we do classic as we marry the two together to fit the personalities of clients.

How affordable are your outfits?

Affordable; maybe expensive for Mr. A or C; or maybe cool or affordable for another person. So we are just affordable and that’s what I can say as we are not so expensive like so others that I may know. My idea of fashion is to build a brand people can afford and it’s very fantastic. Such that people can afford with detailing and good finishing.

Lately, youhave been judges at different pageantry, what prompted that move?

It’s been great having been invited as a judge on different pageant lately. I love pageantry as I started as a model and won a beauty pageant. It’s just completely fantastic seeing young girls wearing different gowns of different designers and of course is a fashion designer and I love to see creative works on stage. And I love to see upcoming girls answering questions just like I did in the past and remind me of them but I have been doing that lately though.

Who are the notable people you have made pieces for?

But we have been lucky to have great personalities as our clients. And I don’t love to mention the names of clients but just like the Ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan we were assigned to be one of the fashion houses to make wears for him throughout his tenure. We are lucky to have that and have such great personality believe in made in Nigeria and African brand doing this and I was believed called upon to do this it’s really honoring and am grateful. Of course we have been making lots of clothes for actors and actresses, beauty queens, models, brides such as Ibinabo Fiberisima and lots more but I can’t remember all.

Do you have your dream client you are looking forward to make piece for?

I don’t have a particular person I have ever dreamed to dress. .

But I know I love to dress people generally but it’s about me having a particular person with a particular personality am given an opportunity to dress and I will deliver my job and so it’s not restricted to one particular person. If anybody wears and gets satisfied with the delivery am good.

On fusion of entertainment and fashion?

Entertainment industry is in a circle form in the sense that we have an artiste that needs to look like one we see in videos and stuff like that so the business goes in circle in the sense that it complements each other. So the fashion and entertainment industries all come together to form that a celebrity. So fashion is really getting there as we have top actors and musicians celebrating major brands.

What defines the creativity of your brand?

We are not necessarily focused on one particular segment of fashion. We are that brand that if you want this particular thing and want it achieved, we would get it done. So it doesn’t have to be restricted but we put it the way our clients want. We are an African brand that delivers the need our clients want. Our brand is focusing on giving our community that kind of look they deserve and personally as a desire, I like to dress people who are going to get married, contesting for a pageant and that kind of wow red carpet looks. But generally we are creative.


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