The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
Being a college student during a pandemic is challenging on its own, but launching a clothing brand on top of that can add a whole new level of intensity. Hampton University’s Very Own Baiyinah Ings has been able to do this successfully and still manages to be ranking high scholastically. Her passion for fashion is the true motivating force behind her company.
Baiyinah first got her start after being introduced to fashion from the women in her life such as her mother and grandmother in the heart of Philly as a young girl. Once in high school, she was able to discover that fashion was her newfound love and was able to hone in on her other creative skills such as painting and sewing. Not only did she grow up being inspired by tv shows and museums but she held onto this even when she was a part of the Young Artists Workshop program from 2013 to 2017 through the Moore College of Art & Design in Philly.
Her brand OPHRN Studios (pronounced oh-fear-ee-in) is much more than what meets the eye. The sustainable clothing brand represents making a statement and gives a platform to those who are sometimes overlooked by giving them a boost of confidence with each piece the brand offers. From humble beginnings in 2015 as “Ophirian Apparel”, Baiyinah knew she had to keep fighting to ensure her creative vision came to life. The COVID-19 pandemic is what helped to make things clearer for her as her desire grew even stronger than before to showcase her work which later resulted in her relaunch in July of 2021.
The name itself originates from the Greek titan, Ophion. More specifically, his story that was about him letting arrogance get in the way of showcasing his true skillset and left him being overlooked by many. This message is the catalyst of the OPHRN brand because it pushes people to express themselves and not focus on the potential of being overlooked. As well as, showing that underestimated growth is never for the benefit of the individual or parties involved.
The junior at Hampton prides herself on ensuring that every piece is made efficiently and consciously in comparison to other fast-fashion brands.
“I feel like with my own brand, by having small batches, and having pre-orders and things like that, it for me to practice sustainability and help the environment, even though it’s more of a small thing, I feel still like it sort of contributes to the overall improvement of the environment,” Baiyinah went on to talk about the impact of bigger fashion companies and how their practices of not properly doing away with unused clothing are damaging the earth.
The art-lover also is working to improve the way fashion is classified at Hampton University. “I’m really trying to bring back a culture that used to be there because I know that Hampton did have a fashion program in the past,” she expressed passionately after proceeding to talk more about the various students who she had personally met seeking education in fashion, but do not have it available to them. One organization that she is vice-president of is BRAG at Hampton which is the collegiate chapter extension of the nonprofit organization with its mission being to allow students of color to express themselves creatively and educate them on the fashion industry. Baiyinah’s hope is that through her work within the organization she will be able to enhance the culture at Hampton University and spotlight the importance of fashion at the school.
Even while being at Hampton, the pressures of life still come and one of the biggest things that one should be able to take away from her story is that you should still pursue your passions despite the odds that may be stacked against you.
“I allowed myself to give myself grace,” she says when speaking about her experience so far as being a student and entrepreneur. Baiyinah expressed the challenges she’s faced while handling both roles when it comes to paying for materials, time management, and ensuring that things are being taken care of. While it is not always an easy task, it’s a rewarding one to see people in her designs and supporting her brand as it takes off.
You can find Baiyinah continuously working on the expansion of OPHRN along with her Summer collection and is working to expand the fashion culture at Hampton University one stitch at a time. To keep up with her on social media, click here.