“Emerging Designers in Nigeria series” is an initiative of Uk/Nigeria based fashion promoting company; BlackNBold Fashion House organisers of Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week, Botswana Culture And Design Week, Ife Runway Fashion Show, The Black Gold Entrepreneurship Talk Show and Project Cloth The Orphans . The emerging designers series was developed to create a platform to encourage, promote and celebrate young fashion designers in Nigeria. This year’s edition will focus on the Top 12 industry newcomers, these are young designers who are new in the Nigerian fashion industry but have been able to distinguish themselves from their peers in terms of their achievements, marketing approach, packaging and delivery. This selection was made by a panel of fashion judges who looked into the hundreds of entries sent in by various designers. Below are the top 12 fashion industry newcomers in Nigeria for the year 2014.
1) Temitayo Ilesanmi Nathan
Temitayo is a student of the University of Lagos and the creative director behind the label T.I. NATHAN. He was the head designer of the team that won the Fayrouz L’original competition 2014; “Team Elan”, walking home with the cash prize of $20,000. His first collection” The Modern Man” was released in 2013 and it enjoyed massive online promotion. Temitayo has three collections to his credit, but the first part of his 2014 collective, themed “SOLACE” was his defining moment as a designer, the reviews were so humbling it encouraged him to want to do more. His approach to life is “minimalist with a sporty twist, a mix of subtleness and fun”. He discovered his love for fashion at a young age like most designers but made it different by pursuing a career in it. He launched himself fully into fashion when he interned at Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012 which later propelled him to starting his own brand. His creative designs has been featured on Bellanaija.com, Blanc, Guardian Newspaper, Punch Newspaper, Ynaija, One Nigerian Boy, 360nobs.com, Jaguda.com , Cassiedavies.com, just to mention a few. His stronghold as that designer in pursuit of passion has been never to divorce himself from reality.
2) Vovwe Omoko
Fashion should trend with comfort, style, class and not via religious or societal judgment”. Words from the designer of Ovems Fashion. Vovwe graduated from the Department of Textile art at Delta State University after which she pursued training at OSC College of Fashion. Her brand originated from her passion to make clothes that interpret aesthetics and speak class. Ovems collection brings out the uninhibited innocence, alluring enchantment and exquisite self-esteem in our African women; showing that beyond the physical, every lady’s beauty isn’t lost in the color of our eyes. Vovwe Omoko emerged as the most creative designer at the Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week 2014 which featured over 40 young designers from various states in Nigeria. Her designs has been featured on Spice Tv, Television Continental (TVC), Galaxy Tv, Wow magazine, Punch Newspaper, Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, Acada Magazine, City People Magazine, Dynamix Magazine, Sun newspaper, 360nobs.com, Jaguda.com, Olorisupergal.com, Onobello.com, Ladunlaidi’s blog, Simplyglamorousfashion uk, ob9ja.com, ebonyworth, amongst others.
3) Francis Sule
Francis is another student of the University of Lagos where he is presently studying Urban and Regional Planning. He is the creative director behind the ‘Francis Sule’ brand. He was the Head Designer of Team Loud Tribe, the team that came second at the Fayrouz L’original competition 2014, walking home with the cash prize of $4,000 . His designs cater for the young and old who are fashion forward and stylishly unapologetic with well-tailored, edgy but wearable pieces. Fashion designing was an inevitable path for him because of his undying love for fashion, art, beauty, and style. Fashion designing allows for the merging of these elements. He said his inspiration comes from “any and everything depending on what I’m most in tune with at the time”. His illustrations and designs has been featured in WOW magazine and This Day Style.
4) Ogochukwu Akabogu
Ogochukwu is the creative director of the fast growing fashion brand ‘Linesbychaab’. She graduated from the University of Nigeria Nsukka in 2007 where she studied foreign languages and literature. She was born and raised by her father; a lawyer and her mother; a language instructor in the eastern part of Nigeria, Enugu. Ogochukwu was amongst the designers that showcased at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week and also one of the successful designers that made it into the Nigeria’s Next Top Designers camp. She has always had the passion for designing since her childhood days but she took it up professionally in 2013. Her creative designs has been featured on Mnet Africa, ONTV, Onobello.com, Pulse.ng, Allure, to mention a few. Her major challenge in the industry is power supply and funds.
5) Mojisola Bankole
Mojisola Abiodun Bankole was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. She studied Electrical and Electronics Engineering at Covenant University. Her label ‘ OOZ bymojibanks’ is all about designing and producing stylish, unique, nicely fitted and well tailored pieces for women. “The OOZ woman is sure to stand tall and confident anywhere she is”. This brand was born out of her passion for fashion and the love for well made clothes. She has participated at Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week, and was also amongst the designers that made it to the Nigeria’s Next Top Designers camp. Fashion started for Moji during her National Youth Service in 2010, when she was opportuned to train as an apprentice with a fashion designer for six months , there she learnt the basics of freehand garment production. In 2012, she worked as an on-site Engineer with Axial Nigeria Limited, an Architectural and Construction Company but resigned after six months of work inorder to pursue her life’s passion; Fashion Designing. In April 2013 she enrolled at Ginani Fashion School, Surulere, where she learnt professional garment production as well as pattern drafting. Her designs has been featured on Star Gist on Dstv, Vchannel on Startime and Spice TV and other notable fashion blogs in Nigeria.
6) Kofoworola Agboola
Kofoworola is the creative director and owner of the fast growing fashion label ‘Koffykombs’. She studied Economics at Ajayi Crowther University. She came to limelight at the 2014 edition of Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week, where she showcased her first collection “The Beautifully covered collection”. This showcase got her another interview on Event Splash on Mitv. Prior to her showcase at Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week, Spice Tv was impressed with the collection she was making for the event as such invited her for an interview. On what inspires her designs, she said; “What inspires me the most is the desire to clothe the modern woman in the right way. A lot of women think that we ought to expose our bodies in order to look good. I want to prove this theory wrong with my line while saying a woman can still look classy and beautiful while covered up”. Her illustrations and creative works has been featured on The Nations Newspaper, Nigerian Tribune Newspaper, Ynaija,com, Bellanaija.com, onobello.com, city people magazine, fashionghana.com, 360nobs.com, pulse.ng to mention a few. Her major challenge is power supply.
7) Anja Andrea Hembadoon
Anja Andrea Hembadoon is the creative director of Hembadoon Clothing. She graduated from Lagos State University in 2014 where she studied Business Administration but she started fashion professionally in 2012. Andrea has showcased her designs at some of the finest fashion events in Nigeria, some of which are; Nigerian Television Fashion Show, Fashion Fusion, Nigerian Fashion Awards, Glitz on the runway, The Make-up Show and Costume Night, Beat of Style, Swim Suits Concept, and Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week. She has also worked with celebrities like; ZaakiAzzay, Esther EneAudu, Marvin Udohah of Big Brother Africa, UcheOkabah of Galaxy TV, Alero Adedira of Galaxy TV amongst others. Her inspiration comes from fabrics, colors, her environment and the nod of approval from her family and friends especially that of her grandmother.
8) Omolara Cole
Amarelis Design is owned by Omolara Cole. She studied at the University of Lagos where she bagged a b.sc in Biology Education. She moved to the United States to pursue her passion in fashion and attended one of the prestigious New York fashion schools and later came back to Nigeria to establish her brand. Omolara has a fashion studio located in the heart of lagos where she makes and sells her designs and also trains prospective fashion designers to develop their skills. She has worked with the likes of Monalisa, Eva, Toolz, Kayla Solidstar, Yemi Alade, Ini Edo to mention a few and her designs has been featured on various notable fashion magazines and blogs within and outside Nigeria.
9) Modupe Adeoti
Modupe Adeoti is a graduate of English and Literary Studies from the University of Ado-Ekiti. She is the creative director of ‘17.09 Couture’. On how she started to design, she said; “My love for fashion increased as I grew older but then I had a problem. I was hardly satisfied with the designs being made for me. So I went into fashion designing in 2009. But I had my hands full with school so I had to make it pending till I finished school. I learnt the basis of designing from my friend when I finished schooling”. Her designs are inspired by Nature, street, things, and people. She loves colors and speaks through them especially bright colors. She has showcased three collections since she started designing. She showcased her Summer collection which was her third at the Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week, this collection however got the attention of the reporter from Galaxy Television during the event, this paved way for her first tv interview. Modupe’s designs and illustrations have been featured on Onobello.com, Ynaijateen, 360nobs.com, Jaguda.com, amongst others.
10) Alice Lolo Awobite
Alice is the creative director of Alacouture Fashion House, a Nigerian fashion label that offers the best and most stylish Bags, Shoes and jewelry made from African/continental fabrics and crystals. This designer said “I discovered my love for designing in December 2011 when I started designing ready-made shoes and bags. Her outfit is expanding really fast with her new outlet at Surulere in Lagos. Alice has successfully trained over 100 students and now has 6 staffs and 5 interns. Her designs has been featured in BlackNBold Magazine.
11) Oluwadunsin Kehinde
She is one designer that will dominate the Nigerian Fashion Industry in the coming years. She is the daughter of the publisher of City People Magazine; Mr Seye Kehinde. Still in her teens and doing great things, MISTRESS is owned and created by Oluwadunsin Kehinde, an 18 years old young designer currently in her second year studying Mass communication at Babcock University. She has featured at a number of fashion shows including; Nigerian Student fashion and Design Week, X&O’s, Rise, Youth Rave and to mention a few. Some major challenges she faces is combining fashion with academics, financing the brand, providing the necessary materials needed and also producing the clothes, as the brand involves a lot of grand high fashion and couture themed pieces. On how she has overcome them, she had this to say; “Saving up for the financing of the brand, balancing academics and designing by making time for both of them. Also I have tried to convert my pieces to ready to wear in order to cater for the needs of customers and not just having pieces people admire”.
12) Aderonke Jaiyeola
Aderonke is a textile print designer with a passion for color and illustration; who combines her fine art talents with her love for fashion to transform her illustrations into beautiful fashion pieces. Each piece is designed, hand printed and finished in Nigeria. She is a graduate of Fine Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with a Masters in Visual Arts from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. She was also a Goldman Sachs 10,000 women scholar at Enterprise Development Centre of the Pan Atlantic University where she sharpened her business skills in Entrepreneurial Management. Mimiremi Creations was started as an hobby in 2010. Her label is all about textile print designs to artistic easy to wear clothing’s with a touch of African flavour, handcrafted specially for women of all ages. The brand has faced major challenges of getting excellent workmanship to execute designs flawlessly as well as erratic power supply, but she has been able to overcome them by training the workers and also settling for alternative sources of power supply. Aderonke has worked on textile prints for top designers in Nigeria, one of which is Tiffany Amber Nigeria, a leading fashion design brand for the Mercedes Benz fashion week in New York. She is presently working on a new collection of Afro centric prints for her range of easy to wear clothing line.