Men’s Fashion Accessories: The Squared Up Clip by Olaolu Opebiyi

Updated: Jan 10

Olaolu Opebiyi was born curious about how things worked – he remembers taking apart his parents’ cassette player to see how it worked and trying to make robots out of tin cans and motors he had pulled out of his toys. When he was older, it came as no surprise that his first degree was in electrical & electronics engineering.

Following on from this, he then worked in a telecoms firm in Nigeria before moving to the UK for a Masters’ in Telecoms and Computer Networks. That led to a career in IT then after further studies, business analysis. He now runs his own consultancy and design company that has seen him collaborate with major companies in the UK such as Network Rail as well as Nike in the Netherlands.

Olaolu was motivated to come up with a design for a pocket square holder when over three years ago he had to put a pocket square in the morning suit he was wearing to a wedding. All day, he kept fiddling with it trying to keep it in place - pulling it out of the pocket when it had fallen in or pushing it back in when it was falling out. He noticed that other men were doing the same. That was when his ‘aha’ moment happened - here was a problem and he had the solution. Soon after, Olaolu came up with a prototype to fix this pesky pocket square issue which he then refined in a collaboration with a product design company. After a few months, the Squared Up Clip™ was born.

He then approached the Virgin Start Up Group (UK) and secured funding and mentorship to take the Squared Up Clip™ prototype to manufacture. Olaolu wanted to keep it simple but stylish, sleek, high quality and functional. It had to appeal to a clientele of fashionistas who loved the smart and smart-casual look. Stylish and sleek it certainly is.

We chatted with Olaolu to find out more about the journey to becoming a designer, the creative process and what’s next for him.

Your motivation to become a designer was…

… Discovering needs that I could meet in a way no one else had.

What or who inspires your creations?

I like to think that all inspiration comes from God, from the spiritual realm. I’m also very fascinated and inspired by the innovation and style that is packaged as James Bond 007.

What materials do you like working with the most?

Metals – precious metals and stainless steel. Next step is integrating electronics into products.

What’s been one main challenge for you as a designer and how did you tackle it?

That’s definitely been getting my ideas and creations out there. I find that collaborating with others helps to solve problems more easily than doing it alone.

What has been a major triumph for you?

Bringing the Squared Up Clip™ from an idea to the market.

Describe a day in your life.

I wake up very early before the children get up, to have some quiet time, and plan my day. Then I exercise and have breakfast before jumping into my day. Most days I combine my consulting work with building the brand.

Apart from speaking to clients and collaborators, I prepare content for social media and marketing campaigns. I’m also an avid blogger and content creator. Work still goes on for me after I’ve put the children to bed. It’s usually a 16-18 hour working day for me.

Apart from your current clientele, who would you like to see wearing your creations?

I would love to see those who are trying out that smart look for the first time add in the Squared Up Clip. And I’d like to see it become a staple for a groom and his groomsmen!

What's one thing that surprised you along your journey not only as a designer but as someone trying to live out their purpose?

People are more willing to help, when you ask, than one would sometimes imagine.

What’s one thing you have learnt now that you are in the fashion and design industry?

Creativity is not enough. Hard work and collaboration is just as important.

When the days are long and the nights are even longer, what keeps you going?

The picture of the future I dream of. I remind myself that it takes time for a seed to become a harvest.

What is the one piece of advice you wish someone had given you when you were first starting off on your journey?

To be more confident about what you hope to achieve.

Your thoughts on the rise of different forms of African print in fashion in international arenas are…

… Well, it’s about time! (laughs) African design and culture are too rich to be ignored and are overflowing with so much beauty and character.

What would you like the world to know about the African design community and specifically about your creations?

African design and designers are full of creativity, excellence and pay great attention to intricate details. We are proud of what we do and more of what we can create is yet to be seen.

One piece that everyone should have in their closet is…

… Hmm… probably socks! (laughs) But I would definitely recommend the Squared Up Clip™ to any man who ever intends to or has put on a suit.

For more on the Squared Up Clip™:

Home | Squared Up (

Instagram: @squaredupclip


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