High-End Fashion Brand
30-year-old Kunmi Otitoju is a Nigerian fashion designer who has two Computer Science degrees, a Bachelor of Science degree from Howard University and a Master of Science degree from Virginia Tech. But Fine Arts is her first love. She has won the Fine Arts prizes at school for three years in Lagos.
Otitoju moved to the United States when she was 17 and then to Europe at 25. She has been involved in western culture but at the same time, she tries to preserve her identity as a Nigerian and shows facets of her culture by utilizing Aso-oke fabric in making high-quality leather bags. The fabric is hand-loomed cloth made by the Yoruba people from Nigeria.
After working at Goldman Sachs and other international corporations, Otitoju created Minku, a high-end African brand that manufactures luxury bags and other fashion accessories for both males and females. She utilizes Aso-oke into leathers to create a transcontinental product.
Products offered by Minku are made at a workshop in Barcelona, Spain but are sold at high-end stores in Nigeria and online. She said that Aso-oke is luxury. It is hand-woven and the imperfection of the weaving shows evidence of human touch. It also comes in various patterns and colors.
She added that luxury for her is the finest aspects of a person’s culture that has been packaged and accepted by other people. She said that Italy is known for its coffee and leather and evident with the luxury companies that come from the said country. Switzerland is known for its watches. Africa, on the other hand, is late in the branded luxury market but they are catching up to the rest of the world. Aso-oke for her is one way to contribute to the African luxury market.
Purse and bags custom designed
Otitoju’s parents were entrepreneurs and that’s why she was exposed to their world. She said that she was accepted in the Stanford Mechanical Engineering Master’s program in 2010 but she just moved to Barcelona the previous year and she didn’t want to leave. She instead started Minku and the rest is history.