Harper's Bazaar (USA)
WHAT TO BUY AND HOW TO WEAR IT
RELE GALLERY founder ADENRELE SONARIWO on her WELL-TRAVELED tote
I opened my gallery in Lagos, Nigeria, about seven years ago to amplify the voices of young contemporary African artists like Marcellina Akpojotor, Tonia Nneji, and Ameh Egwuh, all of whom I represent. That’s part of why I opened a Los Angeles location in 2021: to provide a gateway to the international market. Prior to working in the arts, I worked in a corporate environment. My wardrobe is so much more laid-back now. If I want to feel sexy or be more casual, I can. The only prints I wear are on a fabric called adire. It’s an indigo-dyed textile made in Nigeria by Yoruba women. Those prints are all the rage here now, but I’ve been wearing them since before people thought they were cool. About 70 percent of my clothes are by Nigerian designers, including Yeside Laguda, Versatile Bay, and Bridget Awosika. When it comes to bags, I travel a lot, so I’m drawn to bigger styles that can fit my laptop. I bought my Ferragamo tote more than a decade ago and absolutely fell in love with it. The leather is great, and it has that boxy shape I like. It’s a little less sturdy now because I’ve carried it so much. Over the years, I’ve worn it with everything: with bubus, which are free-flowing dresses, to church and with more dresseddown pieces like pants and jackets. In 2017, I brought it on my trip to China. I visited Shanghai, Beijing, and the remote village of Moganshan. We journeyed a lot by train, and I carried it the entire time. I have so many pictures of me with this bag. I don’t like to have a lot of things on me when I travel, and I never had to switch.