A popular saying by writer, Oscar Auliq-Ice, goes: "You can either choose to wait around and hope life gives you what you want - or you can choose to jump up and put in the work to make your dream come true.”
Putting in the work is something Vera Ofure is doing all too well.
The 21-year-old Edo-born fashion enthusiast is gradually creating a name for herself doing what she loves the most - promoting African values, foods, and fashion in creative styles.
Vera who is a model, stylist, and storyteller, officially began modelling in 2016 and in 2020, became an Afrocentric creative and continues to grow her brand, Ordinary not Common (ONC) which boasts of over 3,000 followers on Instagram.
Although her passion to create beautiful art through fashion is not without its challenges, Ofure who is a student of Microbiology describes herself as a 'daring and passionate' lady. She is determined to one day make a name for herself in the fashion industry.
Legit.ng recently had an interview with the beautiful ebony young talent in which she talked about her passion and the story behind the beautiful and unique brand.
Below are excerpts from the interview:
What inspired you to create the Vera Ofure brand?
"The inspiration to create this brand comes from being able to appreciate and own my African DNA. I am an empath and when I read stories on the basis of colonization, slavery and how our Afrocentric values have been twisted ,thorn down ,stolen ,burnt, and the circumstances that play out in my society ranging from injustice to domestic values to patriarchal and matriarchal roles in the society , I carry this pain and turn it into determination to tell stories through what I research and inspirations I get."
My ancestors, mother inspire my style
Ofure who is passionate about all things African revealed that her style is collectively influenced by the struggle of her mother, the sacrifice of her ancestors, among other things.
In her words:
"My style inspiration comes from the victory from my ancestor's struggle, my mother's struggle, the victory from the struggles of people in the society, and the victory from my struggle. I get inspired from the sacrifices my ancestors had to make in their lives (whatever may have transpired) to see that I was born into the world where I can have the freedom to question who I was told that I am, to define who I want to be, and pass that legacy to my unborn generation."
I am paying the price
As insanely creative and unique as Vera Ofure's work is, the young stylist revealed she is yet to get any paid job for her creativity but, however, remains hopeful about the future.
"I believe this life and everything you do in it has a price. I am currently paying the price. I haven't gotten any paid job for my creativity, I get worried sometimes about whether I am doing the right thing but I choose to make the decision - some days painfully, some days, joyfully, to be in alignment with my destiny first and believe I will be taken care of. I try my best to take it one day at a time and focus on building my niche. I am young, daring, and passionate and in due time the cheques will start rolling in."
I was left alone to style myself from scratch
Speaking on her challenges, Ofure revealed that she didn't get the support of her mum to chase her dreams as she feared Ofure would forget her values. She, however, has encouraged the young model to complete her education.
Also, at 5'3ft, Ofure revealed her height posed as a constraint in getting signed by modelling agencies.
However, all of these things pushed Ofure towards promoting her African heritage.
In her words:
"Of course, I have faced challenges. First, as a model, I couldn't get signed into any agency because of my height. I had a problem with representation and building a network as I couldn't get good clothes and the basic things I needed to put myself out there. Nothing was handed to me as a platter and not gaining the support of my mum when she noticed my interest in modeling because she feared what would become of my values.
"I was left alone to style myself from scratch. I started with my regular clothes until 2020 I had to stop and question myself "who are you?" "What is making you different?" There and there I went African. As an Afrocentric stylist, I do all my designs from scratch, I source materials to style, I pick locations for the shoot and I pay for makeup. Prior to concluding my degree programme in microbiology which makes me a student it hasn't been easy funding my dream, my works come in slow due to insufficient funds so I do menial jobs."
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About the most exciting part of her work, she said:
"The exciting part of creating Afrocentric art is right from the inspiration to the end product. I get inspiration from articles, novels anything at all I read which resonates ,scenarios that play out in the community, history, and imagination. To tell the stories, wear the fashion and see the end product is exciting and fufiling to me."
What would you say is the Vera Ofure dream?
"The Vera Ofure dream is for everyone from all spheres of life to reckon with the story I tell of royalty, justice hope and love. My dream is to encourage everyone to stand for what is right and show this in your day-to-day life, your career, and your social life . Be yourself and no one else. My dream is to tell these stories not just alone but with people I style, tell these stories in movies, tell these stories in magazines , tell it to children in schools ,tell it to the young ,old ,rich ,poor, influential. Tell it to everyone ."
Thrift fashion in Nigeria
With the advent of technology, thrift items which are also known as Okrika, pre-loved, pre-owned, or bend-down-select have become easier to shop for with less stress.
It also helps that fashionistas are rocking these pre-owned items in style. Although most fashion bloggers tend to associate with the big brands, there are those steady preaching the gospel of thrifting.
One of such people is an Abuja-based fashion blogger identified as Obianuju Rosemary Obi. Known as the Duchess of Art on Instagram, the fashionista and artist is steadily building her brand as a thrift fashion blogger.
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