A nurtured love for fashion and creativity and a love for a  fashion loving father brought about the birth of the new, hottest fashion brand, William Okpo.

William Okpo is a collection designed by New York based sisters, Darlene and Lizzy Okpo, daughters of Nigerian immigrants, who grew up fascinated by the interplay of their parent’s personal style with the American culture.

They inherited their sense of style from their father, a devout fashionisto after whom the label is named. “My dad would buy and style my mother’s wardrobe,” says Lizzy. “He is our biggest inspiration and supporter.”

For the Okpo girls, fashion design was a childhood necessity that turned into a career. “There were lots of things we wanted and couldn’t afford, so we just made them,” recounts Lizzy.

“We grew up just knowing if we don’t do certain things, no-one would do it for us. Why not create our own success and guide it down the path we want it to follow?”

The sisters are also lucky enough to find support in one another. ” We shared a room all of our lives, we know our weaknesses and our strengths,” says Lizzy. This intimate knowledge helps this duo navigate the trickiest areas. Lizzy says they don’t even need to nudge each other under the table during meetings. “We know when a meeting is going really well and we know when it is not going so well. The girls have great communication and create a formidable duo that will help them navigate the fashion industry.

The resulting William Okpo brand is a unique aesthetic that results from the juxtaposition of the immigrant’s sense of style against American cultural sensibilities, offering the modern feminine designs with touches of masculine elements. William Okpo is for women who celebrate their cultivated sense of style.

Still in school full time, while designing our fifth collection, and juggling part-time jobs, this duo’s philosophy and work ethic that is mind blowing. In a world where so many “creatives” float in to an abyss of “pretending to create,” Lizzy and sister Darlene, 24, seem exceptionally grounded for a pair of international designers, whose creations were quickly picked up by New York’s Opening Ceremony, the international creative forum, gallery and showroom.

At some point Lizzy would like to branch into menswear, and both sisters share the ambition to produce in Africa. For now Lizzy and Darlene Okpo are focused on growing and re-branding their label. Most young women their age have a vibrant social life, but the Okpo’s say they have no time for being social. Focused on their vision, the sisters have bigger fish to fry and are making every single endeavour count towards running a global fashion brand.

The word on the street is “keep close tabs on these girls”; I believe there’s more coming from this very promising label.

Darlene and Lizzy Okpo

http://williamokpo.com

 

About The Author

Afritorial

Neva is a storyteller and media strategist with a background in PR, film, advertising and digital marketing who is passionate about technology, new media and the endless possibilities of the social and mobile sphere. Read more about her on our 'About Us' page.

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