Aṣọ Dára: Expressing Culture through Fashion

By: Tosin Sonuyi

Aṣọ Dára” originates from the Yoruba language and translates roughly to “good clothes”

In Aṣọ Dára know that you are part of a collective consciousness to push the culture forward in spreading love and community.”

It’s hard to say exactly what it was that led me and my 4 older siblings to start Aṣọ Dára. I know that given what the 5 of us do professionally, if you would have asked me last year I would have guessed that we would have started some health technology company since we work in medicine, software, and engineering. Yet the venture that actually made the most sense for us happens to be in fashion. I think that one of the biggest things that drove us to towards this was the fact that our working lives were so far apart and separate that we thought it would be really fun and interesting to do something professionally together for the first time ever.

We didn’t know exactly what each person would do given our backgrounds but somehow, a couple months into it we have each been able to contribute our individual talents towards our collective success and it’s personally been inspiring to see. On a more personal note about myself individually; I’m the youngest of my siblings and it’s a really welcome change for me to be able to contribute equally in an endeavor with people that I’ve spent pretty much my whole life looking to for advice and guidance.

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Something that I love about being a business owner is that we get to make all of the decisions. It’s the difference between having a seat at the table and creating your own table. When the table is yours not only do you have input into decisions but you also choose what decisions there are to be made. I think one of the most telling examples of this in Aṣọ Dára to date, was our decision to sponsor african ancestry dna tests. To make a long story short, we had lots of discussions about how to present the new program, what type of wording to include, which company would provide the DNA tests, what extra information should we provide about DNA testing, etc. The discussions were lengthy and initially full of nuanced and layered back and forths. But, at the end of the day it felt good to be in a position to not only make the final decisions, but also to have something like an African ancestry test up for discussion in the first place. To me, it’s decisions like these that make having and supporting black-owned businesses important.

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“Aṣọ Dára bears responsibility in continuing to connect the dots to show the unmistakable parallels between the style and grace of their sisters in Atlanta to that of their sisters in Eko. To show the parallel between the hustle of entrepreneurs in Detroit and the meticulous daily grind of people in Johannesburg. In bridging the gap, they contribute to the movement of self-love and self-determination as all strive towards becoming the best version of themselves.

Follow Aṣọ Dára on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and check out their website.

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