Ep 131 – Stitching Yourself Back Together
Ep 131 - Stitching Yourself Back Together
Ethical fashion has become a trend, a buzz word – something with flare but no substance. Then, along came Sophia Danner-Okotie, a Nigerian born entrepreneur who wanted to create something familiar as well as fashionable. The result is Besida, a black-owned boutique and online store based in Atlanta that offers women’s fashion that’s both sustainably and ethically made in Nigeria. With charm and allure, Sophia shares how entrepreneurship softened her, why she felt the need to wear a defensive armour in order to do her job and the purpose driving her to disrupt fast-fashion.
Most of us are used to wearing confidence like clothing. We decorate ourselves in knowledge we don’t yet hold to hide the uncertainty we feel. This ‘fake it to you make it’ attitude has become some kind of secret ethos for millennial workers. We don’t know it well, but we want it enough to pretend we do.
Does it work? Does it make us feel better? For fashion entrepreneur Sophia Dannger-Okotie, pretending wasn’t worth anything, so rather than live in a cloud of ignorance, she got serious. She became as serious as she could be about journalism, about the news, about telling somebody else’s stories until she couldn’t tell who she was. The act of acting tough made her feel out of touch with who she was. So, she left journalism to pursue a passion project: Besida.
In the years since, Besida has come to be a leading black-owned boutique and online store offering sustainable sourced and ethically made fashion for women. Made by women in Nigeria, Danner-Okotie’s birthplace, Besida has not only softened Sophia but cemented the importance of life: to live with intent, not defense.
In this charming interview, Sophia explains why she felt the need to wear defensive armour in order to do her job, growing up in Nigeria and creating an ethical fashion label in a fast-fashion world.
Sophia Danner-Okotie is the founder of Besida, a black-owned boutique and online store based in Atlanta that offers sustainable fashion for women. Besida’s pieces are sustainably and ethically made in Nigeria, where Danner-Okotie was born. The brand’s most popular design is “The FourMidable,” a design that can be worn in four ways–as three tops and a skirt. Recently, Besida was featured on the 2021 Forbes 30 Under 30 list. In December 2019, Sophia won the New Voices Competition, a collaboration with Target and Essence Magazine for Black, female entrepreneurs.