Ondo, Nigeria-born designer Lola Faturoti’s LolaFaturotiLoves line began many years ago with an idea for eclectic, vibrantly printed denim. But printing ink on denim requires far too much water, so Faturoti had to explore her options. Recently, she learned of a new opportunity that would allow her to print garments on demand, using the colorful designs she’s always adored. Through a partnership with Resonance and their platform create.ONE, Faturoti employs digital printers that produce her patterns on organic and biodegradable denim using 40% less ink and 50% less water—only after a customer has placed their unique order.
“I was just very fortunate to be invited on the platform,” Faturoti tells CH of Resonance. “It’s an opportunity that I’ve always wanted. I didn’t know about them, and if I did, maybe I would have approached them a long time ago because designing a fun, colorful denim line has always been a dream of mine—one that I put on the shelf for the longest time. It’s not easy to find a colorful and bright printed denim collection that is made sustainably and, at the same time, affordable. I’m able to be creative and use as many colors as I want.”
create.ONE is “a proprietary cloud-based software platform that enables designers and brands—large and small—to design, sell and make (in that order) one piece of clothing on-demand.” With them, Faturoti can produce one sample of each of her designs, approve them for listing and manufacture them as they’re purchased. This eliminates minimums, drastically reduces waste and frees her from having to ditch designs that aren’t translating into sales.
“It’s very difficult to create a printed denim. I’ve been researching this since around 2006. Yes, you can find people who will do it, but you’d have to do it in China. Their minimum is 5,000 per unit. Then there’s material and water waste, and I don’t want to do that.”
This streamlined method of production also speeds up the stages of Faturoti’s design process. Now the award-winning designer (who previously made apparel under a similar label and before that, worked at various fashion houses) can focus on tinkering with colors, perfecting her patterns and seeing what works.
“This only began at the end of July,” she says. “But every three weeks, I come up with new colors. I love colors. Next week, I’m launching another one and a new shape.” Oftentimes, she tells us, she’s referencing visions she had many years ago and elements of her Nigerian culture.
For customers, Faturoti’s designs are a breath of fresh air. Patterned and polished, her denim- and silk-based pieces feature two patterns she’s dubbed, “bicycle chain” and “circle of life.” She uses them on face masks, bandanas, trucker jackets, T-shirts and scarves. Sometimes they’ll appear on the same garment, contrasting but intertwined.
“The bicycle chain is what propels the bicycle, it’s part of the mechanism that makes it move. I feel like we’re going through a movement right now, with everything that is going on,” she says. “The transformation that is going between each one of us, in each of one of us, with the Black Lives Matter movement pushing us forward whether we like it or not and maybe even if we know it or not. We’re moving forward one way or the other, and it’s exciting.”
While many brands still rely on seasons and trends, Faturoti’s pieces emphasize timelessness. While there are influences on her designs, they are born from her dreams, visions, upbringing, experience in the industry and her mission of a more sustainable process. “There’s the bigger circle of life and the movement,” Faturoti explains of her two patterns. “They are most impactful in combination. They drive us to make time to go into ourselves and to return to the Earth.”
Images courtesy of Lola Faturoti