What do you do when you’re a young entrepreneur trying to breakthrough a competitive fashion industry with renowned veterans like Zizi Cardow, JewelByLisa, Deola Sagoe, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Frank Oshodi? Well, you sharpen your craftsmanship and leverage technology tools!
Here’s a curated list of young fashion designers (in no particular order) and how they’re using generation Y technologies in a highly competitive fashion industry.
Ejiro Amos Tafiri:
Ejiro Amos Tafiri works her way to the top. She started as an undergraduate at YabaTech she interned at Zizi Ethnic Clothing. After graduating, she joined Out of Africa (Nouveau Collections) as a Production Assistant and a Junior Designer while waiting to be called up for the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC). During this time, she rose through the ranks to Chief designer. In pursuit of greater challenges, she moved to Tiffany Amber as the Creative Assistant to the Head Designer of the Tiffany Amber design team before starting self name Label; Ejiro Amos-Tafiri. She has stunning website and remarkably 30,000+ followers on Instagram
Launched in 2011 by sisters Teni, Tiwa & Aba Sagoe – daughters of Nigerian fashion designer & icon Deola Sagoe. Although they do not have an official website (don’t know if this is a strategic decision or they’re waiting for the right time), I love how the trio manage their label’s social media accounts teasing us with latest collections, pictures of stars and regular customers wearing their outfits. You can keep up with Clan on Facebook and Instagram
A luxury handmade leather goods label founded in 2011 by Kunmi Otitoju, a Nigerian fashion designer and entrepreneur, with two Computer Science degrees from Harvard and Virginia Tech. A lover of the arts, she’s a perfect combination of technology, creativity and entrepreneurial hustle. She designed and developed her online store and creates beautiful contents on her blog and social media accounts. I like how her blog posts tell you stories and make you feel like you’re part of her journey. For customers, there’s no better way to create loyalty and brand following. Shop for minku bags on her online store and keep up with their journey here
The brainchild of Adebayo Oke-lawal, a University of Lagos graduate who is fast becoming Nigeria’s go-to man when it comes to contemporary menswear, Since starting the label in 2011, he’s been hard at work trying to bring Orange Culture to the world. Adebayo Oke-Lawal describes Orange Culture as a “movement” more than a clothing line, for a creative class of men who he describes as “self aware , expressive, explorative, art-loving nomad[s].” The label previously produced womenswear options, but Oke-Lawal says he’s since decided to focus on the fellas. Check out Orange Culture’s website. Ade tweets at @TheOrangeNerd
Owned by Eseoghene Odite who started her own accessories business right out of university. She used Google Search and YouTube to learn how to create handbags, and via Search found contacts for blogs and magazines to feature her products. Her bags, which she now sells through her business website, have been featured in over 100 blogs. Helping others create a source of income, Eseoghene also conducts training classes for other women who want to learn her trade and build a similar business for themselves. Her dream is to build her business into an international brand that promotes African designs. You can shop for her bags on her online store and catch up with her on Facebook.
Mai Atafo Inspired:
Owned by Mai Atafo who quits his cushy corporate job to create his brand and enrolled in the Savile Row Academy to further train as a tailor. Mai designs well-tailored Bespoke suits for men and introduced Weddings by Mai to cater to the entire wedding train including the Bride, Groom, Bridesmaids, Groomsmen. little bride and ring bearer. You can check out Mai’s collections on http://www.maiatafo.com/ and catch up with him on Instagram and Twitter
Tolulope Akinpeloye, designer of Nack Apparel is a graduate of Covenant University and has always loved fashion from childhood. Tolu designs for both men and women and he describes his brand as one with a fusion of Nubian cultures and articulated in interplay of the fashion equilibrium. “It is an inspiration, an identity, an impetus that instills style, freedom & confidence into people all over the world“. Nack runs a full fledge online store for his design collections and his shoe brand, shoegar
Karen Ubani Apparel:
Owned by Karen, an alumni of London College of Fashion. Karen designs affordable contemporary corporate outfits for women. With support from “YouWin Programme”,the Karen Ubani Apparel brand expanded and continues to meet the need of everyday women and provide reasonable employment for Nigerian youths in the area of garment production. She actively blogs, manages her Facebook page and runs an online store that stocks her affordable collections.
House Of Nwocha:
House Of Nwocha Creative Director and Designer, Ugonna Omeruo loves bright colours and describes herself as someone that is not afraid to try new things. Her role model in the industry is Zizi Cardow and she credits the social media for getting her brand out there. In her words: “the importance of social media has become imperative for any business. It helps to get the word out fast and people immediately pay attention. It’s magical.” She keeps an active Instagram account and used to blog at http://hseofnwocha.blogspot.com/ You can also check out her online store.
Last but not least is the awesome Bridget Awosika. Born in Washington DC and having discovered her passion for fashion at the primitive age of ten; Bridget chose to consistently follow her passion through over the years by enrolling in Parsons School of Design and subsequently being an intern at Donna Karen and then Giorgio Armani. She worked full time for one year with Armani before deciding to start her own line. She’s got a beautiful website to display her collections and you can keep in touch with her on Twitter and on Instagram.
*** This is in no way an exhaustive list. If you know any young fashion designer we left out or you are one, please let us know in the comments section.
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