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Repurposing With an Eye for Bold Colours

The Repurposed Gele: GeleObiBelt

I have always loved being surrounded by vibrant colours. This became heightened when I relocated to the Netherlands, especially on long dark winter days.

Growing up in Nigeria, and later on in South Africa, I was surrounded by lots of bright and colourful fabrics. In Europe, on the other hand, fabrics either tend to be darker-toned or employ fewer colour combinations.

I created UnikBlends, amongst other reasons, to bring some of the vibrant colours to my new home and share them with others. Colours make us feel alive, and their beauty could be likened to our need of clean air to survive.

Colouful Blends with unique patterned fabric with a matching Upcycle Gelebag

My love for colours was such that for my wedding, I desired a Bold, Beautiful and Bright gown, with vibrant earthy colours. I still wish I stuck out the 'war' I had with my sister and parents over what ended up as a 'white' wedding gown.

Perhaps, I could have won, had I found a designer daring enough to create an Aso-Oke blended wedding gown. Or perhaps, it was better to have succumbed to the 'give them their wedding and enjoy my marriage' peace!

Despite all of this, I still ensured that my special day was a display of my favourite colours, for the hall and guests were adorned in lilac and gold coloured outfits. My aunt baked the most unconventional wedding cake I could conceive---one that blended the traditional and modern.

Reflecting back on that day, which was over 10 years ago, my entire wedding was actually a fusion, a true unique blend of a number of cultures and style - for I have always been one who loves blending and creating combinations with lasting memories.

My Aunt helping to set up my Wedding Cake

Gele Refashioned: Tradition Meets Modernity

I regard the typical Nigerian wedding as some sort of fashion fiasco, defined by large gatherings of people, all decked out in colourful attires and women adorned with incredible head gears, called 'geles'.

For those yet to witness a Nigerian wedding, Nollywood has done a great job to capture a flavour of what happens at a typical 'Naija' wedding party and with Netflix, global viewing is made possible.

A Wedding Guest decked up with her Gele Head gear

I am most intrigued at the vast amount of styles which gele could be fashioned into. They are literally pieces of art. A pity thought that once the wedding party is over, the very next weekend, when another wedding is on, a different piece of gele fabric will be required given that each bride wants her special day to be unique with her own gele of choice!

I have decided to do something about the unfortunate fate of numerous gorgeous geles that are stored away in several closets, not receiving day light once they have served their original purpose--- as fashionable head accessories at weddings.

Geles and Aso-Okes rescued from closets of family and friends

UnikBlends, is BIG on promoting fashion that is colourful, inspiring and innovative and as such, we collect and ReFashion honourable geles by transforming them into functional, yet stylish bags and clothing accessories for everyday use.

The Upcycled GeleObiBelt is our newest creation. It can readily be used to transform any plain dress into an exciting, modern outfit that says, 'I am confident and cool'. These belts are double-sided, offering ladies the opportunity to blend with several outfits.

Me in my Upcycle GeleObiBelt

Repurposing fabrics this way extends their life, in contrast to being discarded as waste. This is sustainable fashion that is Bold, Bright and Beautiful. Sustainable fashion that saves on energy and water required to produce fabrics.

UnikBlends offers several other GeleRefashioned items. Check them out and be inspired to get something repurposed in your wardrobe. Be part of the solution by getting!

RePurposing for Love because #Shitholes Matter

What better reason is there to do something to save the planet from the mounting waste of fast fashion and pollution than Love? It is said that action speaks lounder than words, and this is precisely why in retaliation to the recent unfortunate remark about #Shitholes, I decided it's time for action grounded on love.

I've been so compelled to turn things around and find positivity through such a cruel remark. UnikBlends LOVE T-shirts are therefore officially launched this month, February. This, coincidentally, happens to be the month of my birthday as well as Valentine - Love is in the air!

UnikBlends Love T-shirt: Make a difference

So here's the deal - every one of these shirts contributes towards the beautiful keepdignityalive initiative aimed at empowering and educating young Nigerian women and girls to make the right choices, rather than falling prey to false promises of people smugglers and embarking on dangerous journeys across the Sahara.

40% of sale from each our UnikBlends LOVE T-shirt goes towards funding #keepdignityalive. Our target is to raise an initial sum of 350 Eur, which will be enough to support 7 women towards making a difference in their young lives.

Keeping with UnikBlends' sustainability ethics, the heart shapes are delicately and lovingly handmade from recycled scraps of brightly coloured fabrics instead of discarding them off as waste. The symbol is a reminder of the power of LOVE, which we all need to make this world a better, safer and happier one. So, join in making a difference with shirts that speak louder than mere words!

Celebrate Love with Intentional Gifts

January has gone by in a flash! If the start of the year was all that you dreamed and hoped for, that's great but if it was not, it's time to re-direct your energies and focus on some self-care and love. Without love, everything is meaningless and devoid of energy.

My love for colour and nature, is what keeps me going in order to make my unique contribution and long term impact, in the hope that sustainability becomes the norm.

Despite having to a full time job of directing engineering projects related to new technologies and renewables, I am propelled, to promote sustainable fashion by giving talks, writing blogs (like this one) and building a social enterprise aimed at empowering women. The love and appreciation in return makes this journey such joy, that I do not consider it work...most times.

I was presented a lovely bulb plant after giving a talk beginning of the year to a group of young ladies in Utrecht, Netherlands

Love should be celebrated - everyday!

But special days, like Valentine's and anniversaries, should definitely be set aside to allow others to share in a couple's LOVE.

For Him & Her

This matching bowtie and earrings set, when worn by a couple, displays their togetherness, in good and bad, in sickness and in health, in happiness as well as in sadness.....if anything, it serves as a form of aspiration unto others.

Celebrate these special days in colour and style, with gifts made from repurposed fabrics, by loving hands and with a big heart for our planet. We have a limited number available, so hurry to get yours and make more than a statement on your special day!

Celebrate Love in Style

Follow us on Facebook and Instagram to get more inspiration on how to make a difference for our planet with gifts that offer so much Love!

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