FabAfriq Magazine

L’Uzuri Brings African Prints To Another Level: Star* Fashion Designer

Holland based Cameroonian fashion designer,  Audrey Ngo Mbog is one of  the most creative NEW fashion designers to watch out for. We have seen many designers, rushing into the fashion industry to display colours, styles, trends and prices, but we are still to see someone who does not take her work as a game-field, but as an Office (where serious business is conducted). L'Uzuri means business, and this is why she does it with the extra class! The founder and owner of L'Uzuri Audrey, met with fabAfriq magazine, to discuss what makes her work different and where she sees her business in a few years. During the interview, we found out that her designs were not only attractive, but she was Fabulous  and absolutely knows what she is doing. She has an eye for details and is keen on what fabrics she stamps her name on, reasons why her work attracts many fashion lovers. One of the fabrics she uses is Holland Wax by Vlisco, and she does not go beyond this! It was not surprising, when l'Uzuri won the MAFB @ Modefabriek 2012 award in Holland and to be honest, there are many more awards on the way! Where are your eye? hope on her...

The use of colours in most of your designs caught our eyes. Tell us what colours mean to you?

L´Uzuri: Colours are really important to me. I love incorporating colours in my designs, it brings out the beauty of our colourful culture and gives a bright aspect and dimension to the designs. The colours add that “oomph” to the uniqueness of my designs.

FabAfriq: Is your company a joint venture or sole proprietor?

L’Uzuri: my company is a sole proprietor. I started it up by myself and it’s owned and run by me (for now).

FabAfriq: Do you collaborate with other African designers?

L’Uzuri: So far I haven’t had the opportunity yet to collaborate with other African designers. If the opportunity presents itself I would love to collaborate with them, exchange ideas, work on new projects. That is definitely something that’s on my wish list this year.

FabAfriq: How do you choose the models you use to brand your products?

L’Uzuri: when I make a collection I imagine a certain woman wearing it. I have an image, a theme or story in my mind and always search for the perfect fit what models concern, to make that story or image come to life.

FabAfriq: Why a career in fashion designing?

L’Uzuri: I love fashion! I didn’t study in it, but in the back of my head I always knew that I wanted to work in fashion.  Until a few years back I didn’t even have the slightest idea how I would get a career in it, but I knew I would!
Everything I did and do is self-taught. I didn’t go to a school to follow a course in designing, art or learned about fabrics. But through research, instinct , good and personal taste , my passion for it and  following my instinct, I found a way into working towards my dream.
I just love designing, creating. Seeing a design I started from scratch on paper, coming to life is like giving birth, having my babies.  

FabAfriq: Where do you get your inspiration from?

L’Uzuri : I get my inspiration mostly from the streets.  I  love high street fashion, that’s why most of my designs are easy to wear , but clean, elegant and chic with a pinch of sassy- and fierceness.Besides the streets I also get my inspiration from magazines, art, people and different cultures and its subtypes.
FabAfriq: Who are your consumers?

L’Uzuri: My consumers are women between 17-40(even beyond this age) who have affinity with Afrochic clothing, who dare to be different and stand out from the crowd without overdoing it. Who are confident in themselves, fashion forward and elegant with a little edge.

Have you done any national or international runway show? If yes which ones, if not, then please tell us the shows you’ll like to get on.

L’Uzuri: I have done a few shows, but not on a nationally covered format. The latest runway show I was really looking forward to and working hard for, is a runway show I did at the “Modefabriek” on the 22nd of January. It was a contest and I won as “best designer”. The price was 2.250EU given bij Premsela (an institute that gives a platform for Dutch design and fashion) and a day as styling assistant at a shoot.
A few runway shows I would like to do on the short term are African Fashion Week New York, African Fashion Week London,Arise Fashion Week, and one of the bigger shows in Africa. Of course we all dream and my dream is to eventually be part of shows like Amsterdam/New York/Paris/London Fashion week.

FabAfriq: What is most challenging about a fashion design career?

L’Uzuri:  working in this field you face so many trials and challenges. I can only speak for myself when I say that the most challenging is to get recognition for your work and get your career from the ground. Especially if you are just starting off and you are doing everything by yourself and you don’t have the  “required” background, don’t have the funding and don’t know the “right people”.

FabAfriq: How do you ensure your brand reaches its target market?
The medium I use to reach my target group is of course through social media and the internet. But I also participate in shows, do custom made designs - which leads to mouth-to-mouth publicity – and do interviews and I advertise. 

FabAfriq: What do people say about your clothes?

L’Uzuri: Till today I’m still utterly flattered when people say that they like my work and compliment me on my talent. People like my work, they wish me the best in all I do and support me. And only that is what keeps me going. If from the day I did my first “coming out” as a designer and nobody liked it or I didn’t get the response I hoped for, I don’t know if I would still do it with so much love and perseverance. I persevere to give my best and having people acknowledging my work and talent is a blessing on itself. 

FabAfriq: How do you market your brand?

L’Uzuri : The mediums I use to market myself are via social media. I use Facebook a lot and soon twitter and a website will be added to the mediums.I also blog and of course mouth –to – mouth publicity had worked well for me thus far.

FabAfriq: What should people bar in mind when buying your clothes?
That there is much more where this is coming from. The clothing is made with a lot of love and precision and every aspect and detail of the clothing is well thought about. It is made for the everyday strong and independent woman and caters to all tastes and styles.

FabAfriq: What should aspiring fashion designer have in mind?

L’Uzuri : I think every aspiring designer shouldn't start designing because he/she is thinking of how much he/she can make out of it. Do it because it’s your passion and it will show through. The moment you start doing it all for the money it will show. Moreover a career in designing is tough. You really need to have a thick skin, be persistent, passionate, motivated and inspired enough to see the end of the tunnel and make it through. 
FabAfriq: Any future projects you want to share?

L’Uzuri: Yes, one of them is that my clothing will soon be available on a London based online shop. It is an innovative, exciting and unique online fashion store that caters to those who have an interest in indigenous and African influenced designs and culture. They aim to profile both young and established names. The designs on their site will travail the history of African Style and Beauty. Shoppers will now get the opportunity to own items from the hottest Afropolitans within the Fashion and Arts industry.  

Thanks for talking to us, and congrats again on creating amazing pieces
It is good to capture everything that you want the world to know about you, Audrey has  shared her passion for fashion with us, and the meaning of colours for her. Are you a fashion designer with a unique style? She is!  

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