Reva Ochuba’s Ifeoma brand captures national attention
By Madeline Tondi
Camera flashes illuminated the dark Brooklyn home, where young men and women modeled a fashion line crafted by a new designer: Cal State LA student Reva Ochuba. Her models ate, drank and smoked while guests admired the collection.
The dinner party, attended by a select group of fashion industry professionals and artists, launched Ochuba into the national spotlight. She was recently featured in The New York Times and Vogue magazine as an up-and-coming artist. Ochuba says that she was shocked to receive this attention.
“To be frank, I went through this really intense moment of feeling like I didn’t deserve it,” says Ochuba, an undergraduate in the Fashion, Fiber and Materials Program. “I wasn’t expecting any recognition. At the very least it’s validating, and I feel like it’s made me a little more confident in what I’m doing.”
The national media recognition is well deserved, says Cal State LA Professor Mika M. Cho, chair of the Art Department in the College of Arts and Letters.
“It is very significant,” Cho says. “Reva knows how to put herself out there, and her stuff is good, otherwise you don’t get that kind of attention.”
In October, Ochuba officially launched her brand Ifeoma with a line of clothing called “Renaisseancé,” inspired by her research of sumptuary laws from the 14th to 17th centuries. Traditionally, sumptuary laws enforced strict social hierarchies by restricting the use of luxury items.
Sumptuary laws were “obviously meant to separate the haves and the have-nots," Ochuba says. "It was something I felt I could discuss and bring discourse to via creating clothing around it.”
She developed her detail-oriented design process during an internship with New York clothing label Eckhaus Latta and while writing for Berlin-based culture magazine 032c. These experiences inspired and encouraged her to pursue her passion for design. Ochuba returned home to Los Angeles and enrolled in Cal State LA’s fashion program.
“Reva is one of the most hardworking students I’ve ever known,” Cho says.
Rebecca Davis, a professor in the Fashion, Fiber and Materials Program, notes that Ochuba has “always dreamed big.”
“She's very forward looking and ambitious,” says Davis, one of Ochuba’s mentors at Cal State LA. “She has a finger on the pulse of the industry.”
Ochuba has an exhibition in January in Beverly Hills. After graduating in spring 2017, she looks forward to continuing her fashion education in graduate school.
“I am constantly changing, growing, evolving and accepting new trends,” Ochuba says. “That’s the cost of being innovative. You just have to be constantly thinking. Not just how you can innovate an industry, but how you can be innovative within your industry.”
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Photos: Top, Cal State LA student Reva Ochuba was recently featured in The New York Times and Vogue magazine. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA) Bottom right, one of Ochuba’s designs from her Ifeoma brand. (Courtesy of Reva Ochuba)