Fashion has always been my favorite form of self expression. An art that I’ve grown to appreciate both academically as a visual time capsule and my livelihood. I have amassed quite a large and rotating wardrobe in my time and in an effort to edit and downsize, my shopping habits have trended towards investment pieces in the past few years. I’d like to think that I’m aiming for a perfect mix of the tried and true classics and pieces of art that tell a story. I love discovering brands and sharing them with you here on ’N A Perfect World, especially designers from around the world. When I came across the brand Okapi on luxury ethical fashion retailer Maison de Mode’s instagram, an electric scarlet springbok fur cross body stopped me in my tracks. This was the kind of piece I didn’t even know my wardrobe was missing.
What’s in a name?
Between instagram and my emails, I see new brands daily; the Okapi name stuck out to me. Okapi is named after the elusive antelope also known as the African Unicorn. The collections have beautiful names of African goddesses or mythological heroines. Mine, the small Yemaja is named after an African Goddess of the ocean — no wonder I was drawn to this style — that embodies an age old feminine wisdom! Every facet of the Okapi brand tells a story of African heritage and luxury.
Okapi designs consist of timeless shapes in luxurious materials. From a beautiful ostrich tote, perfect for work, to a mini evening bag, there really is something for all of your needs in this line. These bags are unique and definitely stand out. The perfect piece of art to add to your collection. Okapi believes in creating bags that will last a lifetime.
100% made and sourced in South Africa, Okapi considers itself the first authentic African luxury brand. Founder Hanneli Rupert’s efforts towards sustainability and transparency in the manufacturing process are admirable. Many of Okapi’s bags are created using their signature embossed blesbok skin. Blesboks are indigenous to South Africa and are as prevalent as deer here in the US. My Yemaja bag also features springbok fur and a springbok horn, another antelope indigenous to South Africa. Springboks are usually farmed for their meat and the horns disposed off — Okapi uses these bi-products of existing farming practices in the Karoo region of South Africa to make these beautiful bag accessories; some styles even studded with diamonds! Find out more about Okapi’s leather farming practices on their Vimeo channel.
There is something to be said about this appreciation of slow fashion and it’s exclusivity. Along with your care instructions, your Okapi bag comes with an authenticity card stating how many were manufactured in it’s year of production. My springbok fur embellished Yemaja is number 5 of 6 manufactured in 2015. I love that there are only a handful around the world. I imagine my fellow Yemaja carriers are thoughtful, global minded women with exquisite taste. It’s a happy relief from wearing that Zara top to the office and seeing every third person in it. Due to Okapi’s principals and inclination towards slow fashion, I can’t imagine an over saturation of the Okapi brand.
photos courtesy of Okapi
Casual enough for Cressida Bonas to wear to a Wimbledon, yet elegant and refined enough of an evening bag for me to wear to a gala with a simple switch of a strap. With it’s stunning hardware and my name embossed, my Okapi bag has already elicited looks of envy from passerbys and I’m more than eager to spread the word among my friends and all of you! From the elegant boxing that I received my Okapi piece in (I saved it!), to the card stock and the logo, I love this brand and can’t wait to see more from Okapi! My Yemaja is coming with my to South America and I can’t wait to share my Okapi travels!