Odile Jacobs delivers an eclectic approach to women’s apparel with a fusion of African tradition and European Style. The ready-to-wear brand based in Bruges, Belgium uses colourful and stylish, waxed fabrics sourced in Africa, with sculptural silhouettes to create a fresh look which prides itself on individuality. Odile’s mission is to give an international dimension to the African wax patterns and value the true traditional connection, while creating a sober yet dynamic cut to empower women to discover their own true essence.
Odile and her twin brother were born in Uccle, Belgium to a Congolese couple that had moved to Belgium soon after their marriage. They divorced when Odile was ten, and her mother started a trade in wax fabrics between Brussels and Kinshasa, Congo, with much success. When she grew up, she began her early adult life as a midwife, and enjoyed a successful 24 years in this field even though her passions lay in the creative. Odile met her future husband in 2000 in Brussels. They got married in 2007 and had their daughter May, followed by Simon their son in 2009.
The spark for her creative passion was re-ignited in March 2016 by some designers who had included ethnic fabrics in their creations. With the memory of her mother’s experience with the wax fabrics driving her ambition, she decided to design some dresses that she might like to wear. A close friend in Ghana suggested that she go scope out some fabrics and she returned with a dozen dresses in February 2017. She was invited to present her growing collection in a shop in Brussels, which was the start of success for Odile in her dream to produce a constant, creative world of colours and transformation without losing her authentic character.
Odile’s inspiration comes from the fabric itself, with hints of mother earth and ethnicity, it finds it’s true value and is celebrated in the elegant simplicity of the creations. The wax is a dying technique used on a pressed cotton fabric, inspired by the Batik and brought to Ghana 150 years ago by the Dutch on their journey back from the West Indies. They modified that technique using the traditional coloured cloths worn by the local African communities. The big variety of patterns are the result of constant and scrupulous scouting through various African tribes. Odile’s passion lies in making the selection of these fabrics.
Most of Odile’s pieces take on a billowing contour creating volume and movement, a nod to the fabric’s DNA, offering a timeless yet contemporary statement seldom seen in seasonal fashion. Each garment is handmade, offering limited-edition collections, and the meticulous craftsmanship creates unique silhouettes, perfected by flawless attention to detail. These are items that will never go out of style and can accommodate any occasion, from beach days to chic nights.