Anybody who knows Isioma Onochie-Aihie will say that she’s a shrewd, passionate and hilarious woman! It was this shrewdness that led to the birth of the fashion concept store, Grey Velvet, named in part due to her love for the fabric velvet. Whilst publishing Juice magazine, having left the corporate world, Isioma realised that there was a plethora of untapped talent in Nigeria. Believing that the Nigerian fashion industry had the basis to grow to a point where it could be an international force to be reckoned with, Grey Velvet, was born.
One of the biggest factors in creating the concept store was to try to dispel the common assumption many people have in Nigeria, namely that all good quality products and services must be foreign. As a result, Grey Velvet, which from inception was a long-term project, was rolled out in international standard-type malls. So, while we at The B&F Collective think we coined the term #NaijaBrandsRock, in actual fact Isioma was years ahead of us!!!
Along the way, whilst focusing on providing showrooms across Nigeria for brands unable to have their own, Isioma decided that she too would provide products for customers. And so brands, Frankie & Co & Isi Brown were created, each with a different customer in mind who had different tastes. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you would’ve seen the Zina x Frankie & Co Christmas campaign (of which I like every single piece!) that launched 12th December and features Fashion Entrepreneur and Fashionista, Zina Anumudu. Like seriously though, how many of these pieces would you rock yourself!?
So, what does the future hold for one of the biggest, if not the biggest Nigerian Fashion concept store? Well 4 and a half years after its launch, local fashion is now cool and with the change in mindset, demand has exploded both locally and internationally. There are more designers and more factories enabling homegrown talent to realise their dreams and create lines. Grey Velvet are ensuring they are a huge part of the new trend by involving themselves in all aspects of the fashion retail industry. From creating more lines in store, manufacturing for brands, training, revamping their website and rolling out more stores across the continent and abroad; it seems like Grey Velvet is single-handedly helping to put Nigerian Fashion well and truly on the international fashion map.
Frankie & Co, Isi Brown and other brands can be purchased online at www.greyvelvetstores.com, or at the following Grey Velvet Locations;
- Centro Mall, Lekki, Lagos
Ikeja City Mall, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos
Jabi Lake Mall, Jabi, Abuja
We’re giving somebody a chance to win a Frankie & Co Dress worth 15k, to win simply;
- Make sure you’re following @greyvelvetstores, @frankieandco_lagos and @thebfcollective & like the giveaway picture
- Answer this easy question in the comments section below. “When did the Zina x Frankie & Co Collectiion Launch?”