This week’s featured article highlights Pirlo Okito’s brand Okito. This heritage brand is something Pirlo has dedicated his life to for the last several years and has found success through hard work and dedication.
Introduce yourself: What is your name? Where are you from? And what is your background?
My name is Pirlo Okito, and I am originally from Africa. I was born in Ivory Coast, but I am Congolese. I came to the US when I was about ten. My first passion was soccer, which I played throughout my upbringing and ended up on scholarship at UCSB.
What is the origin story of Okito? Where does the name come from? When and where did the brand start?
The origin of Okito actually began when I was really young in Africa. My mom was a seamstress and had her own sewing shop. At a very young age, I learned different cut and sew techniques as well as fabrics. I always wanted to start my own clothing company, but the opportunity didn’t really present itself until after I graduated from college. Instead of pursuing my soccer career professionally, I decided that my clothing brand is what I was most passionate about. The name Okito is actually my last name, and I decided to attach it to my brand, not only because it’s unique, but because it would represent me completely. I officially started Okito in about 2014, and honestly, it began in my bedroom where I would sketch my designs and learned how to go about getting samples and items produced.
What are three things, above all else, you want people to know about your brand?
I would say the most important things I would like for people to know about Okito are the following: We are a cut and sew clothing company. We do not buy T-shirts in bulk and slap a print screen on the front. From my very first collection up until now, everything has been designed, created, and produced organically. The second thing to know about Okito is we represent exclusivity and rarity not only in our products, but also with the origin behind the product. Our logo is the okapi, which is a very unique animal only found in DR Congo. We try to subtly incorporate my African roots into our pieces. I think the last and most important thing to know about the Okito brand is the quality of our products. I work really hard in my designs and my sampling to ensure that the product consists of quality fabric, quality printing, quality embroidery. I pay close attention to the details to make an item the most comfortable and stylish clothing for people to wear. We create clothing with class and longevity in mind.
What are the details about Okito’s most recent project/collection? What was the inspiration for this project/collection?
Our 2020 Fall/Winter collection is called Escape & Explore. The inspiration behind this collection is for people to move away from their comfort zones and into an escape and explore mindset, in order to find their true passion or their true selves. What this meant for me personally is when I push past my own self-inflicted boundaries, I discover that is where I find the most personal growth, which I can incorporate into my brand and allow my brand to grow.
Who/what are some influences for Okito?
Ralph Lauren is the goat. Ralph Lauren is the type of brand that I foresee Okito being in the future.
What are some things that make Okito Special?
Besides the three things that I had mentioned before, some fun things that are noteworthy about Okito are the following: Our logo is absolutely a conversation starter. When people wear our clothes and others see the Okapi logo, they always ask what it is because it’s so rare. Another fun thing about Okito is the way that we connect with what we call our Okito family. We are still a pretty small brand, and that allows us to create relationships with our customers.
What are five adjectives you would use to describe Okito?
Homegrown. Imaginative. Collaborative. Rare. Passionate.
What can we expect from Okito in the future?
In an ideal future scenario for us, of course, we want Okito to be a brand that is not only well-known internationally, but more importantly a well-respected brand.
Okito Website: https://okitobrand.com/
Okito Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/okitobrand