By Manooshree Patel
Mixing her Nigerian upbringing with American living, Yetunde Olukoya founded Ray Darten. The California based clothing brand displays Olukoya’s and countless other women’s rich Nigerian heritage in stylish silhouettes of the western world. Using Ankara prints (bold African prints), Ray Darten strives “to be known for our relentless pursuit for creating beautiful handcrafted pieces.” Each piece of clothing reflects African history and empowerment while ensuring every woman feels beautiful and confident in the clothes.
The fashion brand started as Yetunde’s childhood hobby of dressing up her dolls in tape and paper outfits. As she grew older, her designs and styling graduated to the people around her; she upcycled clothing for friends and family. She then surpassed remaking clothes to designing and sewing her own for herself and her daughters using colorful African prints. Yetunde carried this passion with her through medical school and eventually, with a lot of planning, research, and support from her husband, transformed her hobby into a full-fledged career. A large influence in her designs comes from African folktales about glamorous strong women and African pride.
Ray Darten gives an interesting and refreshing twist to clothing, seamlessly melding Nigerian heritage with today’s fashion industry. Their most popular style, the Adunni dress, features a gorgeous bow at the top and a knee grazing high low skirt.
All styles can be found at raydarten.com. You can also search more about her works at RDarten on Facebook or on Instagram as @raydarten.
About the Author: Manooshree Patel
"Finding out about new foodies, musicians, painters and other artists has always been a passion of mine whether it be through social media or even right outside the nearest Target. KABIRA's blog allows me to connect more with revered artist and share his/her innovation with the world. At the end of it, nothing compares to the satisfaction of making someone feel valued. "