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Swarovski: Stealing The Show

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Swarovski: Stealing The Show

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Da Viva collection at Africa Fashion Week London 2012Fashion designers are creating unique pieces of the African fabric with extravagant materials and intricate ornamentation like Swarovski says FUNKE OSAE-BROWN
Mamukuyo Olaoluwa loves to make her clients not only beautiful but stylish. As the CEO of Labima Keshet, she prides herself in her unique cut and creating pieces that sit well on her clients. She tells me she is taking this a step further with an intricate ornamentation of the Ankara fabric with Swarovski.
“I love to work with Swarovski because it makes the dress classy and elegant,” she says. “It doubles the value of the dresses I make.”
Fashion designers like Olaoluwa are taking the African fabric to a new level by accessorising the fabrics with Swarovski. Foluke Alatise, creative director, Marmick Designs, also loves to work with Swarovski. She loves to work with the stones because it turns her creations into statement pieces that make the wearer stands out of the crowd.
“It is a head turner. You can’t a dress accessorized with Swarovski and not make a statement with it. It dazzles more than other stones. It glitters in the sun and it attracts a great deal of attention.”
Swarovski is luxury cut lead glass called crystals manufactured by the eponymous company based in Wattens, Austria. It is the premium brand for finest crystals. Since Swarovski adds value to pieces it has become the darling for most fashion designers. “Swarovski beautifies the African fabric especially Ankara,” adds Alatise. “No matter how dull the fabric is, Swarovski brings out its beauty. It adds a lot of value to the fabric and the dress.”
Manufacturers like DV Fashion Limited, makers of Daviva Ankara fabric have also introduced Swarovski element into their line of product offerings. Aside the fact that Daviva prides itself in dressing its customers from head to toe; they are into fashion business to offer consumers alternatives.
“We do just want to restrict you to just the fabrics alone,” Maryam Williams-Ogbebor, marketing executive, Swarovski division of DV Fashion Limited. “We want to let our clients know about other things that we can offer for them. Swarovski is a luxury brand and a lot of people outside Nigeria are aware of it. We actually thought of how we can complement our fabrics with the brand.”
Williams-Ogbebor says Swarovski hot fix stones, which are commonly used, come in three sizes namely: 16, 10 and 6. The size six is the tiniest which is for those who are conservative and do not like their fabric to be too flashy.  According to her, Swarovski is also used by companies to design their company logos on fabrics. “There are some companies who love their brands to be seen as luxury brand. Hence when they want to design their company’s logos they use sixteen and ten. These are the perfect sizes for them to use because they can actually use this two to trace out and do the transfer of their logos on T-shirts and other materials.”
She adds further that for those who want to stand out, size sixteen is makes what they wear more visible especially dresses for red carpet.700da “It blinks and then the effects and visibility are there so everyone can see it. It is also used for bridal dresses. There are bridal dresses that are just there like the laces may not be embellished.  We can help the bride add effect to it. So if you want to add effect to whatever you have, that has to do with garments or fabrics just bring it we would do it for you, we have a machine that does that here.”
And so, a touch of Swarovski on the Ankara fabric changes the value of the fabric both in pricing and beauty. For instance, a six yard Daviva Ankara fabric embellished with Swarovski crystals goes for an average price of N30, 000 while dressmakers could charge more.
“My customers pay premium when they asked me to add Swarovski to their dresses,” says Mamukuyo. “The value that Swarovski stones or crystals give to the dress is different. The average price I charge for sewing is N30, 000 while the premium price doubles the average price.”
Williams-Ogbebor adds that Swarovski crystals are very durable and customers do not have to worry that the crystal will come off the fabric during laundry. “Once it is properly done it wouldn’t come out,” she explains. Even with hand washing or washing machine it doesn’t come off. The plastic stones sold in the market usually do but does not apply to Swarovski. For Swarovski a piece is actually a lot of money. We sell a piece for N31; if you buy bulk then we sell for N21. If you are buying just one piece for N21 naira, it is expensive we have a special machine for the fixing. We offer customers the free service of fixing when they purchase the crystals from us.”
 Williams-Ogbebor further explains that Swarovski crystal is a luxury brand which is not affordable for everyone. “It is also quite expensive. A tiny pack is N1, 500. If you now want to buy a lot and let’s say 20,000, or 10,000 pieces or more, they are available.”
Olajumoke who loves the African fabric says she like rare designs that are not all comers affair. Hence she likes to accessorise Aso-ebi with crystals that stand her out at social gatherings. “I love the effects Swarovski gives my dresses,” she says. “These ones I have on now are very tiny but they are staying well on the fabric. They are visible. No matter how small the size or quantity used on the fabric, it shows. They glitter under the light. I just love them.”
For Alatise, there are customers who request her services to embellish the chest area a dress or blouse. There are other customers who want embellishment that can be worn around a blouse like jewellery. “We use crystals to embellish traditional materials like Aso oke for weddings too. Brides love them.  We have worked with different colours,” she says.
Swarovski comes in different colours of red, yellow, sea green, army green amongst others. “Swarovski provides us with a colour chart,” adds Williams-Ogbebor. “These are all the colours that they have and then each year that they come up with something new they send you a sample that you can actually stick to your charts. So this one came after and this one came after, you can just stick it to it. So as you are looking at the colours and thinking this is new so you can just add it.”

0 Comment

  1. Tee- Y September 16, 2014

    Fantastic piece @ luxuryreporter, i love the sparkling effect of swaroski on my dresses

    Reply

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