On establishing a womenswear label… It was borne out of a selfish need. I lived in a city where I felt it was getting harder and harder to find clothes that spoke to my design aesthetic. My love for texture manipulation has always been at the forefront. So by merging both frustration and passion, it pushed me to want to have an impact on an industry I feel has so much potential.
Bello Edu is guided by five pillars: Passion. We are passionate about what we do and hence the care taken to produce each piece. The Bello Edu woman is also passionate about whatever she does. Functionality. Each piece in each collection serves a purpose in our woman’s wardrobe and whatever purpose she intends the clothes to serve in any instance she wears them. Timelessness. Our pieces stand the test of time and can be worn across all trends. Conservatism. One of our best qualities is to grasp and hold attention without necessarily drawing attention to ourselves. Our pieces could almost be described as conservative and modest, allowing our woman to express herself and shine without showing too much skin. Joie de Vivre. This is our playful side; letting our guard down. This is interpreted in bright colours and playful silhouettes you will see in our collection.
The Bello Edu Customer is… Our customers are very decisive women. They've come to know and accept who they are. They are confident, sometimes understated, have strong characters and also with a playful side which only a few people close to them get to witness.
Putting together a new collection requires… I continuously question myself in the choice of colour, fabrics, silhouettes and it goes on and on. The processes are pretty straightforward. We're always testing an idea or concept, always trying patterns and once we are set on our patterns and know how the final piece will look, feel and drape on our woman, then we pull together our collection based on what is inspiring us at that particular moment. Once that is done we go into sample production.
We do only two collections a year and make sure they cut across all seasons. This way, the economies of scale in producing collections are fairly reduced which also helps us not to push the additional costs to our customers
The new customer versus a brand loyalist… Our brand loyalists are with us because they relate to our principles and I guess the same principles are what the new customer recognises which leads her to us. This means, we don't necessarily design different pieces for the new customer and different pieces for our brand loyalists.
Attracting customers outside of the African market… We are working closely with fashion buyers and marketing agencies to get our pieces across the continent in the next year.
What sustainability is for Bella Edu’s design process… We use a lot of natural fibres in our manufacturing process and also by our guiding principles; we design and manufacture pieces our customers can continuously wear and incorporate with other pieces from their wardrobe.
ALIMA BELLO RECOMMENDS…
What is your favourite item of clothing in your closet? A Bello Edu white shirt. Nothing beats the style of versatility of a quality shirt
Who is your favorite designer and what do you like about their aesthetic? Bello Edu of course! As a designer, it’s so important for our brand to be innovative in our timeless approach. We strive for this on a daily basis. The Bello brand shuns trends and fads and that within itself is so hard in this day and age of quick consumption. Our aesthetic is about compartmentalisation and focus. And that comes through in every single piece.
Three beauty products you swear by?
-Black Up Matte Foundation – Great for coverage
-Body Tonic Oil by Clarins - leaves my skin supple
-Elemis Balancing Lavender Toner - gentle and refreshing
What is your favourite fragrance? Black Saffron by Byredo
What are you currently reading? Scary Close by Donald Miller
Where is your favourite city and why? I am not tied to one specific place. The beauty about being a designer is that you are inspired and attracted to a variety of places at any time. Currently, Cape Town is in the forefront. A lot of out 2018 drops are inspired by this beautiful city. The streets and the landscape give me a sense of calm I’ve never experienced elsewhere.
If money were not an issue, what work of art would you buy? A Faberge Egg