By Katherine Ellis
Photography courtesy of Eredappa
Returning to her native Nigeria in the mid-90s after studying business in England, Eredappa Hart launched her line “EREDAPPA” in 2006 at a fashion show in Nigeria. Since then, she has appeared on runways in Paris, South Africa and New York, and was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Arise Magazine Fashion Week.
Some of her looks have also appeared in Tyler Perry’s film Good Deeds – a story of an affluent, engaged man, falling for another woman – starring Thandie Newton, Rebecca Romijn, Eddie Cibrian and Phylicia Rashad.
FAJO Magazine caught up with the designer to learn more about how she creates the unique looks inspired by her Nigerian roots.
1. You studied business in England but in 1994, upon your return to Nigeria, you rediscovered your love for fashion. Have you always had a strong interest in this industry?
Fashion has always been an expression of my inner self. All through my student years, as far back as boarding school days in England, combining colours, textures and fabrics to the realization of an outfit was my forte for both my friends and for myself.
2. What is the inspiration for your pieces? Do you have any idols you like to use for inspiration in your collections?
I’m inspired by my talent and my love of local African print fabrics that tell a folkloric story. They reflect nature with its vibrancy and energy.
3. What is the design process for each of your collections?
Most of our pieces are custom-made. The design process begins with sketches that are translated into free-hand cutting of fabrics. Once the samples are made, colours and design techniques of beadwork are then decided upon.
4. What happens next?
After the dress has been sewn, the next stage is the hand beading. This can take anywhere from one week to four months, depending on the intricacy of the beadwork technique and pattern. We use abstract African techniques to arrive at a beautifully handcrafted piece.
5. What was the inspiration for your latest collection “SUN-SATION!”?
SUN-SATION! is a tribute to the brilliance of the sun and its power to give life to everything it touches. Hence, the dominance of the colour yellow in the collection.
6. Some of your pieces were featured in the film Good Deeds.. How did this come about?
The pieces were from my fall/winter/ 2011 line, called COLLECTION, shown at Arise Magazine Fashion Week. The costume designer fell in love with it the first time she saw it, and said, ‘We gotta get this work out there, it’s awesome!‘
7. Which pieces were used?
Two items were included: the kingfisher long dress and short dress.
8. How do you feel your Nigerian heritage influences your pieces?
Although there is a strong ethnic influence, the overall attraction lends itself to a stylish modern rendition of strong individual pieces that transcend time.
9. What are the latest updates for your brand?
EREDAPPA has launched its first international accessories line of hand-beaded shoes and handbags in New York.
10. And what are the future goals for your line?
I’d like to carry the EREDAPPA brand globally and to be stocked in exclusive boutiques. I would also love to dress A-list celebrities.