ALARA means “wondrous performer”.
Located at 12 a Akin Olugbade Street Victoria Island Lagos, the store presents the best in luxury lifestyle dedicated to contempopary art, design, fashion, cuisine and culture featuring inspirational objects of African origin alongside international design.
The company holds a wide range of fashion brands like Maki Oh, Peter Pillitto, Marni, Alexander McQueen, Valentino and so on and Interior designers like Hamed Ouatarra, Mabeo Furniture, Cameroonian artist Bathelemy Toguo, Check Diallo from Mali and more.
It’s stock reflects its importance and prices are tagged in dollars, aimed at customers that travel far and wide shopping.
For many customers, they enjoy the convinience of shopping international products locally instead of flying thousands of miles to Europe or America to stock up on Western fashion, customers are now able to browse a selection of brands previously unavailable in West Africa including Stella McCartney, Dries Van Noten, Marni, Valentino at.
According to Reni, Alara is geared towards the flamboyance of the African from retro multi coloured dresses by Italian Haitian designer Stella Jean, Futuristic glasses by Kenya’s Cyrus Kabiru to the Python bags made by Nigeria’s Zashadu. “We like colour we are dramatic , adornment in our way of expression” says Reni.
Apart from fashion, art and Interior Designs, a restaurant is also expected to open soon on the ground floor with a exquisite menu drawn up by Senegalese chef, Pierre Thiam who owns several restaurants in New York. Folawiyo’s ambitions for Alara go far beyond fueling Lagos’s luxury retail landscape. She hopes to address a deeper issue which is the fact that so little of what’s made in Africa is considered luxurious in the first place.
Next to a Valentino’s dress you might find a carved and embroidered Tuareg trunk from Mali, a Nadia Dafri clutch sitting on a Mabeo furniture, or a Chaise Longue discovered at Milan’s salone Internazionale del mobile could be viewed next to a gothic arched back chair designed by Arthlantique, a company that recycles the brightly painted West African fishing boats in Senegal.
All these and lots more can be found at Alara- which feels like a whole fashion art experience. The store is also where young people can walk in and also be Inspired and has created job opportunities for the youths. Reni concludes: ”I wanted this place to be a cultural re-awakening bringing what we have known as Africans into the new world.”