A spotlight on Iretidayo Zaccheaus
Dubbed 'Industry Lion,' Iretidee is the founder of Street Souk - an annual convention that focuses on celebrating the vibrant and growing streetwear culture in Nigeria. Masterfully synthesising Nigeria's vibrant streetwear culture to create a space where creatives can express, enhance and showcase their creativity.
Built upon a core philosophy of community & collaboration, Street Souk opts to disrupt the shallow obsession for foreign streetwear brands in favour of nurturing local Nigerian streetwear brands and fostering close relationships with their target audience.
To mark Episode 1 of QRATED, we sat down with the company's founder Iretidayo Zaccheaus to talk about her hobbies, inspirations and get her take on the current streetwear market in Nigeria...
QRATE: What's inspires you to keep Street Souk going?
IZ: The brands make Street Souk what it is. Seeing the growth of brands from the 1st year to the 3rd year. Their success stories and how they completely reach a new target audience, and they say, "yeah, it's because of Street Souk." Opening doors for them, helping them achieve their objectives, Street Souk put them in a position where they can collaborate with another brand, which then elevated them etc. Just coming to Street Souk and seeing what other creative people are doing also. I feel like, that's the main motivation for me. Seeing the brands and the community grow together.
QRATE: What are your thoughts on the integration of streetwear and high fashion in Nigeria?
IZ: In Nigeria, I wouldn't really say it's gotten to the level it is everywhere else but then you've got brands like Ashluxe that are really redefining streetwear. There's a lot of potential and room for growth. It's definitely growing but we're not quite there yet.
QRATE: Why do you think this is?
IZ: There's really only 1 brand that has got the facilities and resources to produce luxury streetwear. Cause luxury streetwear is about the thread, the materials and where you source it from etc. So yeah, it's different.
QRATE: How far away do you think brands in Nigeria and Africa are from achieving this?
IZ: It depends a lot on the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] of the country. What's the point of selling $500 t-shirts that only 2 people can afford, when you can sell $50 t-shirts that 500 people can afford.
QRATE: Do you think it's a matter of price-setting and strategy that's limiting the Nigerian streetwear industry?
IZ: First and foremost, it'll depend on the vision and idea of the brand. Do you want a streetwear brand, or do you want a luxury streetwear brand? I'll give you an example. Off-white and Supreme are not the same. Off-white is a luxury streetwear brand, high-fashion brand, it is owned by New Guard, based out of Italy. Whereas you have Supreme, it's real skate culture. Real skateboarders. Real skaters. So they are not going to have the same price point. Supreme t-shirts and an Off-white t-shirt are not going to be the same quality either. These are important things to remember.
Personally, I feel like I'm still in the streetwear-streetwear scene. It's just more of what I like. It feels more original, authentic, unforced.
QRATE: What would you prefer for a Nigerian brand?
IZ: It's up to everyone's preference really - it's not about what I prefer. But personally, I feel like I'm still in the streetwear-streetwear scene. It's just more of what I like. It feels more original, authentic, unforced. Do you know what I mean? With a lot of luxury streetwear brands, it's getting to a point where you're creating something for a certain consumer base but they're not really about this culture like that, so what's really going on here? But hey, that's a conversation for another day.
QRATE: What's the end goal for Street Souk?
IZ: I just want Street Souk to be the driving force of African streetwear. Not Nigeria, but Africa as a whole. Broadening the African streetwear community. For example, you've got the Japanese streetwear community, which is crazy. Everybody wants a taste. Everyone's wearing BAPE [Bathing Ape] now. Why? Because it's fire, it's cool. Pharrell and those guys were wearing it back then, brought it back to America and it went crazy. So why can't that happen with African streetwear? Because there's also stuff that brands like Supreme have created that we can see where they get their patterns from. Making Ankara t-shirts, that's Nigeria, that's Africa. So we've got the authenticity, we've got the resources - to an extent. Everything I think we need to be on that level, we've got it. So why not. They steal everything from us, it's crazy!