Don’t you just love to see women win? I know, right? Here at 21 we absolutely do, and so we are shinning the spotlight on sustainable clothing brand Thandi, owned by Ehinor, popularly known by her iconic Instagram handle @FlamePrincess7. We discussed all things fashion, the need for more ethical and sustainable practices in fashion, confidence, mental health, and the challenges of entrepreneurship as well as breaking into the Nigerian fashion industry. From her colourful style, vibrant nails and incredible sixth sense when it comes to fashion, Ehinor is a style icon we need to keep our eyes on as she redefines the world of fashion one clothing piece at a time. In this interview she spills all the tea on developing your own personal style, beauty secrets and building the confidence to experiment with fashion. This, I can tell you for free, is a must read!
Tell Us About Yourself And How You Got Into Fashion?
My name is Ehinor and I never focused on anything fashion related in school. I studied law at the university and it was while studying in Manchester and being around fun, creative, crazy looking people that I developed such a colorful style and thus my journey into fashion began.
I have always had my own personal style and have been through multiple phases in my fashion journey. Luckily, I found the beauty in colorful clothing and never looked back. As I got older, I got more interested in fashion and started gaining confidence to try new things. I also became aware of the effects of fast fashion on the world and the environment. This gradually pushed me in a different direction where I stopped buying fast fashion and stopped contributing to brands that were not benefitting the environment. This is how I got into making my own clothes and fell in love with designing clothes. There is a lot of limitation that come with shopping sustainably as there are a lot of things that were not necessarily in the market or in my price range till I realized I had a lot of ideas to share, and that is how I started my own brand, Thandi.
Amazing! How Would You Describe Yourself And Current Style In Three Words?
Colorful, dynamic, and distinctive.
Who or What Will You Say Are Some of Your Style Inspirations?
I do not have any direct inspirations. I draw inspiration from any and everything. However, there are some people whose style I admire like Harry Styles, Lil Nas x, Deto Black, Rihanna, Rico Nasty and my friend Ere Harvey.
Tell Us About The Moment When You Decided To Start Your Own Clothing Line?
When I was in the university, I knew I wanted to have my own brand, but I was not confident enough at the time to put anything out. I just knew it was something I eventually wanted to do. I had a friend who also wanted to have a brand, so we decided to do something together. There is a certain sense of security that comes with being in a partnership. We were both designing for the brand but the more I designed the more I realized I had a very distinct idea of what I wanted and did not want to compromise on my vision. I knew it was something I needed to do on my own. After what seemed like quite a journey, Thandi was born, and I am grateful for where I am right now.
What A Journey You’ve Had So Far. Why Do You Think Sustainability Needs To Be An Important Part Of Fashion And What Advice Can You Give To Anyone Looking To Shop Sustainably?
The fashion industry is one of the leading contributors to global warming in terms of water usage, water pollution, air pollution and even land fill spaces taken up by clothes. The culture of fashion has evolved to be extremely consumerist. The fashion cycles have become shorter and unsustainable.
From a consumer point of view, I think one of the first steps would be to let go of a lot of the rules that have been commonplace in today’s culture, like not repeating clothes. If you only wear your clothes a couple of times, you are going to feel compelled to shop more. When you discard that mindset, you will become more creative with your styling. Shopping intentionally is important.
Quality over quantity is important when looking to shop sustainably. It is best to get pieces that are not necessarily timeless but of good quality and can last for a long time. You can tell if something was made with sustainability in mind or if it was made to be part of the fashion cycle that will be in a landfill in three months.
Amen To That! What Are Some Unexpected Challenges You Have Had To Overcome Since Stepping Into The Fashion Industry?
My biggest challenge is self-motivation. I like to do things when I am in the mood but that is not how business works, especially with how quickly trends come and go in the fashion industry. The business side of things is another challenge. I did not think starting a business would be hard. I was so wrong! I have been able to manage it effectively so far because it is something I am passionate about.
I Am Sure We Can All Relate. What Other Interests Do You Have Outside Of Fashion?
I am interested in art. I love drawing, painting and nail art.
Your Nail Art Skills Are Amazing And We Are All Dying To Know Whether We Can Expect A Press On Nail Line Soon?
I want to do nails for shoots and more artistic content, but I do not intend to put out a personal nail collection anytime soon. I enjoy doing nails for fun but monetizing it is not something I want to do right now.
What Is One Fashion Trend Right Now You Wish Would End And What Is Something In Your Wardrobe You Cannot Live Without?
I do not have any trends I hate right now. Everything is kind of in, right now, from all over the different eras of fashion and they all look good if styled properly but one item I really despise are those Balenciaga croc heels. As far as a clothing piece I cannot live without, it must be statement trousers. They are comfortable, perfect for any occasion, plus; you can dress up or dress down in them.
We Know You For Your Fire Outfits And Glowing Skin On Instagram, But How Do You Take Care Of Your Mental Health While Being So Active On Social Media?
Taking regular social media breaks is important. Being active on social media all the time is very energy consuming and because I do not make money directly from posting, I do not have any outside influences forcing me to post when I do not feel like it. However, it is different now that I am starting a business because I need to be more active, but you cannot put a price tag on one’s peace of mind. Whenever I start to feel negative emotions from my Instagram feed, I just move to a different app.
What Is One Haircare And Skincare Product You Cannot Live Without?
I cannot live without anything in my skin care routine, but my Cerave moisturizing face wash is a game changer. The best thing about having my hair locked is that it is low maintenance so I can survive with just shampoo.
What Tips Do You Have For Anyone Looking To Develop Their Personal Style And Be More Comfortable In Their Skin When It Comes To Experimenting With Fashion?
Experiment! You never know till you try. Having a personal style is cool but it is also fun to embody different styles. Go with the flow and have fun with it. However you choose to style yourself, is your personal style. My tip for becoming more comfortable with yourself is to spend time alone. Get to know yourself without any external influence. Knowing yourself is the first step to loving yourself. With regards to experimenting with fashion, the beauty of style is that nothing is permanent. Do not be afraid to try out new things because if it does not look good, you can just take it off.
What Can People Expect From Your Soon Coming Clothing Line, ‘Thandi’?
I am dropping the first piece of my collection today. The collection is made to order. The first drop is a summer dress, and I am super excited to see the colors people choose.
We are so excited! Can’t Wait For The Drop. Lastly, Where Do You See Your Brand, ‘Thandi’ In The Next Five Years?
I want Thandi to be known for beautiful and unique clothes that promote fun and individualistic styling without compromising on our ethics.