By Christy Anyanwu

She is a certified accountant and international management expert who ought to be in the banking hall or any other corporate organization. But rather, Asha Folaranmi ekes out a living in the creative world as the brain behind iconic fashion brand, Asha Design Palace.

Asha’s romance with fashion began about a decade ago as an undergraduate, but she birthed Asha Design Palace at Ibadan, Oyo State eight years ago in 2016.

“I was drawn to fashion design by my love for blending creativity with cultural expression. For 10 years, I’ve been immersed in the world of design, continually inspired by the vibrant tapestry of African culture,” she says.

Asha Design Palace is renowned for its unique celebration of African heritage through casual wear. The brand seamlessly blends traditional motifs with contemporary trends, ensuring that each piece reflects the rich diversity and beauty of Africa while maintaining modern aesthetics.

For Asha, fashion is the ever-evolving expression of trends, aesthetics and cultural influences, while style is the individual’s personal interpretation and presentation of fashion.

She adds: “Fashion encompasses the broader industry and its trends, while style is the unique way in which individuals curate and express their personality through clothing, accessories and overall appearances.”

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On what drives her creative muse, the multi-talented fashionista reveals: “My creative designs are inspired by a multitude of sources, including nature, art, architecture, culture and everyday life. I find inspiration in the vibrant colours and textures of the world around me, as well as in the rich tapestry of cultures and traditions.”

Each garment in the Asha Design Palace’s collection is a reflection of these influences, translated into unique designs that celebrate beauty, innovation and individuality.

Like most businesses, there are usually encounters with difficult clients. But Asha says she handles them with patience, empathy and effective communication. “By actively listening to their concerns and offering respectful solutions, I aim to strengthen our relationship and find common ground,” the designer asserts. 

One of Asha’s most memorable moments as a fashionpreneur was when her designs were featured in a magazine some years ago. However, her most unpleasant experience was managing a client with unrealistic expectations, which taught her valuable lessons in communication and boundary setting.

For mentorship, Asha admires Nigerian designers, Dumebi Iyamah and Mai Atafo for their innovative designs and commitment to sustainability. And she Iooks up to foreign brands like Vera Wang and Gaurav Gupta for their timeless elegance and groundbreaking creativity.

So far, Asha’s journey in the fashion world has been a blend of creativity and growth. “The journey so far has been a blend of creativity and growth. Looking ahead, we plan to expand Asha Design Palace’s reach while staying true to our roots. Also, we aim to continue creating collections that celebrate African heritage and inspire confidence and elegance.”

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