By Eromosele Patrick Eidusi
No one will deny that Fashion is a tough business. The hours can be long and grueling, competition is fierce, and there are no guarantees as to how far you will go-and that’s if you can even get your foot in the door. There’s no need to get discouraged though, especially if you have what it takes in today’s multi trillion-dollar global fashion industry. If you are innovative, have loads of talent, drive, and stamina, and have the right education and training, you can bet your bottom dollar that you’ll get noticed. And it could happen sooner than you think. This was the case with the promising group of today’s young designers.
Not only have some of these designers passed through some of the top fashion design schools with flying colors, they’ve started their own burgeoning brands with a built-in cause. We found 25+ designers that pretty much blew us away on all levels, but alas-we have room for just ten. We think you will agree that our best of the best budding designers under 30 are destined for Fashion greatness.
Kanyinsola Onalaja is the Creative Director of ONALAJA. She was born in Nigeria and Educated in London, where she studied BA Fashion Design at Istituto Marangoni. Upon Graduation, she was awarded best fashion collection of the academic year 2013-2014. The collection was shown at Graduate Fashion week and Africa Fashion week in London. She briefly attended Academic di Costume E Moda, Rome to develop her 3D Pattern cutting. During her studies she worked for brands such as Christopher Kane. Growing up in Nigeria she discovered traditional art and became fascinated with the different media used to express it. Her love for colours and textiles grew, leading her to experiment with different mediums and ways to create works of art that used fashion as a means to showcase it. She was made a Fashion Focus Finalist in 2015 at Lagos Fashion and design week and since then she has showcased her pieces on the Runway.
She worn the awards in 2014 for Vogue Talents x Muuse Finalist, Best Fashion Collection for the Academic year 2013-14 at Istituto Marangoni, Best student of the year at Istituto Marangoni in 2014 and 2009 FDA Young Designer of the year award.
- STYLE TEMPLE
From a young age Og Okonkwo had an eye for design and elegance. The Abuja based women’s wear designer loves to travel and continually find inspiration for her designs in the different cultures and people she comes in contact with. She grew up surrounded by extremely creative and stylish women in her family who inspired her from an early age to pursue her dream to be a designer.
According to the brand’s website, the brand aesthetics is a combination of classic yet modern fashion and a play on balance between the feminine and edgy. The brand also operates a diffusion ready-to-wear line and it’s a mixture of structured wearable pieces with a couture edge, clean geometric cuts and shapes with a standout detail. Easy fitted garments that falter the woman’s body is her signature style.
Style Temple had her SS16 Collections on the Runway for The Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week, October 2016. The showcase started with a short film that had black historical figures such as Viola Davis and Martin Luther King with a sound track that had quotes about freedom, identity and emancipation: accents of these could be traced across the collection in the sense of fringes, tassels, construction and deconstruction. Since then her pieces has been seen on different celebrities like Toke Makinwa, Stephanie Coker, Juliet Ibrahim, Eku Edewor and Award winning writer of Novels, short stories and nonfiction, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Who says menswear can’t be exciting as womenswear? It can be and Emmanuel Okoro who is the creative Director of Emmykasbit can prove it. Emmanuel manages to pull in the opposite direction of everyday slacks and suits to bring us stylish cuts with Jackets tied closed, layering via trompe l’oeil tailoring. Emmykasbit clothes the unconventional man/woman who believes his or her outfit is deliberate and non-accidental.
The 26 year old designer had his 2017 Autum/Winter collection show- cased at the South African menswear week in Cape Town early this year.
The fast rising designer is currently one of the 2016/2017 Fashion Focus Finalist for the Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week, and he’s definitely one to watch out for as he’s not slacking trying to put out African Fashion on the world map. Looking forward to his runway show at the 2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week.
The Samuel Noon brand is Autobiographical to its Very root. Existing under the Creative Direction of 29 year old Obinna Samuel Ntukokwu, a Theatre Arts Graduate of the University of Lagos and a diploma degree from the Instituto di’Moda Burgo, Nigeria.
Founded some few years back Samuel is already showing signs of becoming a superstar. He’s had his clothes already on most Nigerian celebrities like Adesua Etomi, Beverly Naya, Chika Ike, Linda Ejiofor, Bolanle Olukanni and Fashion blogger Olorisupergal.
The Samuel noon brand is a womens wear brand with minimal and Architectural designs. The label has a strong femininity with a bit of edge. The brand had it first runway debut in June at the Lagos leathers Fair. The Samuelnoon brand is currently one of the Five Fashion focus finalist who would be showing in October 2017 amongst other Established Top designers at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week.
His Fashion Focus experience has helped his big dreams about his Brand and has also helped him figure out how to achieve them. It has been all about lessons upon lessons on being a better designer and the unlimited innovative career paths in the industry – Says Obinna Samuel Ntukokwu.
- WANGER AYU
Wanger Ayu is an Abuja based ready to wear Fashion label for women. The brand is known for its reputation as one of Nigeria’s fashion’s brightest stars. The brand produces pieces that maintains a lot of Wanger’s signature play with structure and femininity while going bolder with statement pieces that pushes the edge.
With a philosophy of embracing fashion and creating style, Wanger Ayu was one of the selected few to showcase under the British Council Fashion Focus series, at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week 2015. In 2016 Wanger Ayu was a finalist in the Future prize for Fashion. And since her onstep to Fashion limelight she hasn’t disappointed.
Her designs have been worn by celebrities such as Toke Makinwa, Waje, Kate Henshaw, Bolanle Olukanni, Dakore Akande and Somekele Idhalama. The brand is also a Style blogger Favourite, as Wanger Ayu is often celebrated for her edgy cuts and complex structure.
- IMAD EDUSO
A lot can definitely be said for a brand that does well to portray the classy multifunctional woman through its apparels and clean cut pieces. Dami Osude is a computer and information system graduate from Babcock University Nigeria and currently the Creative head behind the women’s Fashion label Imad Eduso.
Established in September 2015, and based in Nigeria with a passion for making woman feel sexy and elegant through her collections. Dami Osude is definitely one to watch out for through her dedication in women fashion. She took short courses at the London College of Fashion and had a one year internship at Lisa Folawiyo shortly after whilst taking online pattern making courses, before starting her Brand Imad Eduso.
Imad Eduso is currently one of the five finalist selected by British Fashion council to showcase at this year’s Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week. Her designs has been seen on Nigerian celebrities like Waje, Bolane Olukanni, Linda Ejiofor, Stephanie Coker, Toke Makinwa, Zainab Balogun.
It takes some serious cojones to go into fashion in Nigeria. Considering the entire system of doing business is stacked against the niche producer seeking a tiny but dedicated market. It takes even bigger ambition to start a bespoke men’s knitwear brand, considering our climate and our predisposition for light airy clothing. But Faith Oluwajimi has done just that with Bloke.
Faith Oluwajimi, is the creative Director and Head designer behind BLOKE. Bloke is a Nigerian Crochet Knitwear brand. The brand was inspired by Nigerian city people and attitudes, landscape and architecture, has been able to carve out a niche for itself.
The Young brand had its SS17 titled Masked Holes which was inspired by concealment focusing on the idea that human beings, especially Nigerians, tends to cover up their flaws rather than letting them bloom. And it was a huge hit in both African and International press. Bloke was featured by Vogue Talents on Vogue Italia as No 34 out of 200 Emerging brands changing Fashion Globally. The brand also got featured in Pansy magazine, an online menswear magazine aimed at redefining the modern man, blurring the rigid categories of masculine and feminine and creating a space for free and unaffected creative expression.
- BELOIS COUTURE
2014 Emerging fashion star – the first winner of the Multichoice Nigeria presents the Fashion protege and British council finalist 2015, Heineken Lagos and Fashion design week, Oisetohanmen isinugben popularly known as Ishan Princess is the Creative Director and Head Designer for Abuja women’s wear label Belois Couture.
Belois Couture was launched in 2012. The brand celebrates the modern woman who embraces the excellence in every aspect of her life including fashion choices. Since its inception, the brand has gone on to position itself as a burgeoning contemporary womenswear brand that continues to shift the paradigm of how contemporary African women dress.
Last year the Brand was bestowed with the Honor of opening the spring/summer 2016 Lagos Fashion and design week to a critical press success.
Belois has its pieces stocked at Zazaii-Lagos, 41 Luxe Abuja, and shopzuvaa in the United States of America. However her clothes has been seen on different Nigerian celebrities, the likes of Yemi Alade, Bolanle OLukanni, Dolapo Oni, keturah King and Sharon Ojong.
- ABIOLA A. OLUSOLA
Abiola A. Olusola is a contemporary women’s wear brand founded in 2017 on the philosophy that dressing should be effortless and chic. Abiola Adeniran-Olusola is the creative director and owner of the eponymous brand, Abiola Adeniran-Olusola.
She knew she wanted to be a Fashion designer since she was 13 and took bold steps towards achieving that dream. She graduated from the University of Lagos. Worked for an online retail company here in Lagos. While there she went for a summer fashion design and draping course in Dubai by London College of Fashion. Afterwards she decided to go to paris to study fashion design at Istituto Marangoni for 3years. While at instituo Marangoni, she interned at Givenchy, Lanvin and a few other notable brands.
Her graduate collection was selected to be shown at Pitti Uomo in Florence, at Istituto Marangoni’s graduate show in Paris, at the Dominican Republic Fashion week and at who is Next Paris. Her collection was also featured on Vogue italia.
On returning to Nigeria, she released her first official collection Emi, a Yoruba words which means me. Emi is an AUTUMN WINTER collection inspired by contemporary African women like herself. It is an introspective collection that came together by putting her culture, experience, travels, and feelings, moods into forms shapes, colours and eventually garments. It’s a statement about how individuals are a collective of various experiences and ultimately a part of something. The collection was made in Nigeria. She printed fabrics with adire makers in Abeokuta, used aso-oke found in Lagos and worked with local Knitwear brand, Bloke Ng.
Founded in 2015, and based in Lagos Nigeria, RICKDUSI is a Contemporary Fashion Brand, with a knack for well-tailored Exquisite Material and Expert Craftsmanship for well-tailored bespoke suits.
Known for its continuous efforts of being a rich source of impeccable designs, aesthetic, beautifully executed fashion, a refreshing and authentic approach to menswear as well as endless opportunities in exploring interesting shapes, cuts, colors and silhouettes for those who cannot reside further from this culturally minted part of the world.
Popular with a handful of celebrities, the burgeoning Fashion brand and British Council Fashion Focus semi-finalist, Heineken Lagos and Design week 2016/2017 released its first ever Fashion campaign and look book stitched to the most recent season, spring 2018. And the brand has been featured on various media such as BellaNaija, Complete Fashion, Accelerate Tv, Spice tv Africa and Quench South Africa.
For its spring 2018, RICKDUSI tells an inaudible-visual conversation about how menswear fashion has evolved through time; The Man and how he portrays his temperaments, using texture and color to achieve its vision. A deeper interpretation of this tailored campaign explores on the idea of how Man and Time have, through decades, communicated through an evolving process.
The Brand had its leading men for spring 2018 and they are rule breakers and the classics. We definitely love their direction from an aesthetic and commercial standpoint regardless of how keen attention needs to be directed at its tailoring.
There’s more from each of the designers in the gallery above.
Photo credit: Onolaja, styletemple, Belois couture, Emmykasbit, Rickdusi, WangerAyu, BlokeNg, Abiola A. OLusola , Samuel noon, Imad Eduso.