You’ve likely heard the advice to “live like a local” when you’re about to embark on a trip to en exciting destination. The idea is to embrace your temporary surroundings like a resident so as to get the best experience possible. To avoid the tourist traps and make the best of your limited time, it makes sense to seek out the expertise of someone in the know who will lead you in the right direction. This is the idea we had in mind with our new series “The City Guide”, where we ask some of The Folklore’s designers to take us on a tour of their hometowns.
Lagos is a bustling city with an infamous reputation for the “work hard, play hard” lifestyle. Residents of Africa’s most populous city are know for hustling and constantly grinding to make their dreams come true. It is this same attitude and entrepreneurial spirit that inspired Pinghwa Okorie to start her own swimwear brand Salt and Sunscreen in 2019. “Growing up in Lagos, it was hard to find swimwear that I loved and felt comfortable in. I wanted to create something that was soft on the skin, that was high quality and sophisticated, and that’s how Salt and Sunscreen was born,” she says.
Designing with the curves and femininity of the Nigerian women she sees every day in mind, especially on frequent trips to the beach, Okorie crafts swimwear to suit and flatter all body types, with an emphasis on comfort and style. So, who better to guide us through the city that inspires her on a daily basis?
A keen traveler with Nigerian and Taiwanese heritage, Okorie has ventured to various destinations, experiencing different places and cultures that have helped shape Salt and Sunscreen’s signature aesthetic. Read on to discover Okorie’s daily routine, her favorite restaurants in Lagos and what she always carries in her bag.
Pinghwa Okorie in the Niké Mesh Dress by Salt and Sunscreen
How would you describe yourself and what you do?
Multi-hyphenate is probably the best word! I’m a digital marketing specialist and entrepreneur. I’m passionate about brand building and product development, creating strategies for traditional businesses on ways they can enter and maximize the digital market. I’m also the founder and creative director of Salt and Sunscreen, a swimwear brand based on the beauty of an African woman: the feminine physique and accentuated curves.
What have you missed doing over the past year of the pandemic that you’re looking forward to doing again?
Going out to eat and catching up with friends. I’ve started getting back into the swing of things but it’s just not the same as it used to be! I look forward to things getting back to normal soon.
You’re an avid traveller. Where is the most memorable place you’ve been to, and why?
I love traveling! My last trip was to Zanzibar, Tanzania. I’m trying to travel more within Africa and learn more about other African countries. Tanzanians are very warm and friendly people. I really enjoyed exploring the spice farm, learning how to cook their local dishes and, of course, the beaches.
How do you start your day? What’s your morning routine?
I wake up at 5.50am and head to the gym for a couple of hours. I bake (when I have orders for my other side hustle bakery business Bao Bao Bakery), and then head to work around 9.00 or 10.00am.
What are your favourite restaurants in Lagos, and why?
Craft Gourmet has been one of my favorite places to go to because of the consistency in food quality and the service. Plus, I always leave with enough leftovers for the next day!
Slow Lagos is a new restaurant that’s one of my recent faves, too. I’m obsessed with their gin cocktails and beef brisket tacos. The menu is quite pricey so if you want to get a full experience I recommend going with friends so you can order several items from the menu to try.
Where would you recommend for the best breakfast, lunch or dinner?
For breakfast or brunch: Craft Gourmet, Sugarcane, Flowershop Café, Eric Kayser, HSE Gourmet. For lunch or dinner: La Taverna, RSVP, Slow, Shiro, Cilantro, 343 Degrees North, Ile Eros, Nok by Alara, Thai Thai, Izanagi.
Where, or what, would you say is the best-kept secret in the city?
Ghana High is a hole-in-the-wall restaurant located deep in the markets of Lagos Island. Order the slow-cooked beans with a side of plantains and stewed meat.
Where is the best view in Lagos?
Eko Atlantic has some nice 360-degree views of the city. I also hear that the view from EbonyLife Place is spectacular.
Nike Art Gallery, Lekki, Lagos
Where do you go to unwind?
Definitely the beach!
Lagos is a very cultural city. Are there any museums, galleries, shows, clubs or markets that you enjoy visiting?
I love Nike Art Gallery, Terra Kulture Cultural Centre, Lekki Arts and Crafts Market, Lekki Conservation Centre and Art Twenty One Gallery at Eko Hotel.
Where do you get the most inspiration from in the city and how does it influence your design process?
I get a lot of my inspiration from nature and vibrant aspects of the city. When I’m out I think of a multi-purpose piece that can be worn out at different occasions.
Where is your favourite place to stay, or where would you recommend someone stay on a trip to Lagos?
I live in Lagos, but for a staycation or for someone visiting, some places I’d recommend staying at are The George, Wheatbaker Hotel, or Lagos Marriott Hotel in Ikeja. There are also a bunch of really cute places on Airbnb.
Pinghwa Okorie in the Zanzibari one-piece swimsuit by Salt and Sunscreen
What are the items you don’t leave home without and always have in your bag?
Hand sanitizer, Laneige lip balm, wallet and phone.
What is the best part of living in Lagos?
There’s always an Owambe (large grandiose party) to go to. You can always count on someone to be celebrating something.
If you could only wear one Salt and Sunscreen swimsuit this summer, which one would you choose and why?
This is a hard one because I love all the pieces in the new collections! But if I had to choose one I’d pick the Paje Top and Diani Bottom 2.0 because they can be styled in so many ways.