Blending Cultures Through Design | Rimeks Bags and Brands

In 2017, Rita Umoren visited Calgary with the intention of moving to Canada, though she felt something was missing from the city. Not long after, Rita found herself in Cape Breton and instantly knew this was where she wanted to be. Rita says Cape Breton’s close-knit community and welcoming people drew her to the island. Rita, originally from Nigeria, fell in love with the bright beautiful patterns and fabrics found in Ankara fashion styles, a style consisting of wax-printed cotton textiles with colourful, perseverative patterns of mostly symbolic contents. With her inspiration from these designs, and by Africa’s rich cultural heritage, Rita, alongside her sister, Elsie Ifon, founded Rimeks Bags and Brands.

Rimeks specializes in high-quality bags and accessories with an emphasis on the Ankara style, blending modern fashion and African culture. All of Rimeks’ products are handmade using the highest quality materials, with many products including cotton sourced from Nigeria. Rita noted that while she experimented with her business in Nigeria, it truly blossomed here in Cape Breton. With her hopes of blending Nigeria’s culture with her new home, Rita says, “The people of Cape Breton showed nothing but support throughout Rimeks’ early stages, and have continued to do so whenever they can.” Not only that, but Rita has credited the support systems in Cape Breton as a major contributor to helping Rimeks throughout their time here on the island. Not long after Rita arrived in Cape Breton, she met with the Centre for Women in Business, who she credits with helping her develop a blueprint for what Rimeks would eventually become. Chen Lu, Rimek’s Production Manager, added how supportive the Cape Breton Partnership was in getting the company accustomed to the island; helping with connections to other businesses, and supporting their operations and staff any way they could.

Rimeks’ product selection is not like anywhere else in Cape Breton, the blend of modern fashion with African craftsmanship creates vibrant designs and eye-catching bags. Rimeks offers something for everyone, from various bags like their laptop bags, tote bags, or handbags, to their future fashion products; you’re bound to find something to love in their catalogue. Rimeks doesn’t just offer products, they also offer on-site training to anyone interested in learning more about fashion and design, or anyone wanting to learn more about the African culture through the Ankara designs, as well as offering the fabrics to get you started. The love that Rita and her team have for their work is felt in every bag they make, and with the support from everyone on the island, Rimeks, and the cultural mix of Nigeria and Cape Breton will only continue to blossom.


To learn more about Rimeks, and to pick up your bag today, visit