Eseoghene Odiete’s Hesey Designs has done more than most for accessories design in Nigeria, winning awards in and out of the country and growing a committed followership. Hesey Designs hasn’t been as consistent with releasing collections as proper design labels, but then again accessories labels are held to a different yardstick. Having put in several years in fashion, we have come to expect a level of quality and originality from Hesey Designs, a quality that is conspicuously missing in their new collection.
Granted, at first glance the collection is very pretty, but not longer after, you are assailed with the realisation that the pieces seem awfully familiar. That is because you have seen them before; you have seen the prints, worked as inserts into ‘denim’ collections sold on campuses by student designers, you have seen the handbags hastily cobbled together in skill making classes at NYSC camps, you have seen the Obi belts, cobbled for aso ebi by roadside tailors. The designs, the prints, all of it has been done too many times to truly incite any excitement.
We don’t even necessarily mind the ankara prints for the accessories, what we do mind is that the brand has stayed reductive over the last few years, recycling common ankara prints that can be bought in any of Nigeria’s fabric markets. It is even worse that every boutique and two-bit design label has bags and belts that are near identical to the ones Odiete is offering this season. If a walk into any stall in Balogun market is sure to produce a decent fascimile of Hesey’s new collection, why then would anyone bother to spend the big bucks for one of the designs.
What we would love to see from Hesey Designs at this point is some innovation. Innovation could come in the guise of collaborations with other brands, it could also come in the guise of Odiete taking the time to commission one of a kind ankara fabrics, either independently or in partnership with mega textile giants like Woodin, Vlisco or DaViva. All three have had one of a kind collaborative collections in the past and are always open to working with enterprising designers.
This current collection as is, does no favours to the brand Odiete has carefully crafted. Hesey Designs needs to innovate or fall to the curse of ‘ankara’ labels, where unchecked copying waters their brand into nothing.
Oh! and that vintage Singer sewing machine? Horrible idea. All it did was reinforce the feeling that a roadside tailor cobbled together the collection. They should have lost it.
Instagram: Hesey Designs | @heseydesigns
Model: Ronke Adefalujo | @therealrhonkefella
Photography: The Photocentric TPC | @thephotocentric
Styling & Makeup: Ronke Adefalujo