The Nigerian fashion scene has witnessed great transformation in recent years. With the likes of Deola Sagoe, Mai Atafo, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Duro Olowu, April by Kunbi, Ade Bakare and many other veteran Nigerian fashion designers doing their thing and unveiling different designs for Nigerians, the industry has experienced great expansion. This has in turn given aspiring fashion designers a reason to take up their passion and join the league of those speaking the language of fashion.
Here’s a list of emerging Nigerian fashion designers you should look out for:
Onwuka Onyeka Paschal (Royal Couture)
Paschal is the creative director of Royal Couture, which was officially launched in 2015. The fashion-forward undergraduate student of Babcock University makes strictly male outfits.
He debuted the ‘Urban Soldiers’ at the just concluded Babcock University Uninfluenced Fashion Show, a western university fashion clique which also featured prominent and talented fashion designers from withing and outside the country.
Adepeju Okunuga (Oza Couture)
Oza Couture was launched in 2012 by Adepeju Okunuga. The young designer has always had passion for fashion since she was little, and this came to limelight when she was in 300level.
Oza Couture is all about designing unique, stylish, classy, decent and well-tailored dresses for women. Adepeju showcased her first collection, “The Nightingale Collection” in the early parts of 2014 in different fashion shows organised in her school, Babcock University.
Her second collection “The Versatile Collection” was showcased at the uninfluenced 2015 Fashion Show organized in Babcock University. She also participated in the Fayrouz fashion competition in the year 2014. Her notable awards and accomplishments earned her the Accounting Students League of Babcock’s Departmental Award for Entrepreneur of the year in 2013, The Babcock University Students Association’s Award for Entrepreneur of the year in 2014, Most Enterprising Female Award in her hall of residence and the African Diamonds Award for Fashion Designer of the year in 2015.
Adepeju looks to furthering her skills in fashion designing by pursuing a master’s degree in fashion designing.
Gbenga Luke-Adetule (NVO)
Gbenga Luke- Adetule is the Creative Director of NVO APPAREL, which was launched in March 2013.
NVO – (Naija’s Very Own), offers premium bespoke outfits. The fashion brand is fuelled by Gbenga’s zeal to make quality, outstanding outfits that would rival established designers in the fashion industry both home and abroad.
In June 2014, Gbenga showcased his first collection at the second edition of Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week (NSFDW), the biggest student fashion week in Africa. This further gave him exposure, as he was invited to audition for a fashion project called “The Making”, where he learnt from veteran fashion designers.
In August 2014, he showcased his second collection at the Nubian Runway and Fashion Show (N.R.F.S) where he emerged as one of the most creative designers of the night. Gbenga has styled quite a number of celebrities, OAP’s, Music acts and TV personalities for red carpet events, photo shoots and music video shoots. He has also signed a partnership deal with Goge Africa, where he gets to dress their TV presenters for a period of time.
The young designer looks forward to the Lagos Fashion And Design Week, where he will showcase his 2015 collection.
Modupe Adeoti (17.09 Couture)
Modupe Adeoti is a 2011 English Language graduate from the University of Ado-Ekiti. Launched in 2013, the fashion brand, 17.09 Couture has had three collections released so far, the last been a runway collection showcased at the Winasbet Nigerian Student Design and Fashion Week in 2014 which was referred to as the brands major debut.
She was listed under the Top 12 fashion industry newcomers in the year 2014 with her brand in the Top 10. She was also one of the finalists that made it to the Game On house for team fashion, the reality TV show sponsored by Malta Guinness.
Adebola Adebowale (Derb’s Signature)
Derb’s Signature is a fast growing fashion brand founded by Adebola Adebowale. She is a Nigeria-UK trained engineer who has always loved fashion, with a quest to fill the fashion gap and create a better image and personality brand.
Adebola showcased her collections at the 2011, 2012 and 2013 edition of the Bristol Fashion Week in England. She was also one of the four finalists of the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. Her works have been featured in notable magazines in the UK and Nigeria.
Vovwe Omoko (Ovems Fashion)
Omoko’s love for fashion began from childhood, leading her to the Department of Textile art at Delta State University, where she graduated in 2014. She went for further training at OSC College of Fashion. The fashion brand, Ovems Fashion stems from Omoko’s passion to make clothes that interpret aesthetics and speak class.
Omoko emerged as the most creative designer at the Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week in 2014, which featured over 40 young designers from various states in Nigeria. Following this, she won the David Wej Half a Million Naira Fashion Competition. She also won the BlackNBold Fashion Awards for Young Designer of the Year.
Omoko has styled various Nigeria celebrities, and is currently an in house stylist and wardrobe designer for Cool TV and Wazobia TV. She showcased the “Edgy and Classy” collection at the 2015 edition of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria. According the young designer, “Ovemsfashion is simply a taste of class; our designs are edgy yet soft.”
Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi (Reni Smiths)
Having spent her early years growing up in Lagos with her grandmother who was a seamstress, Bimbo got an early taste of the world of design and fashion. She began her formal training at Instituto di Moda Burgo, where she got a diploma in fashion styling. Reni Smiths was launched at the 2013 edition of GTB Lagos Fashion & Design Week as one of the top 10 young designers showcasing the Bella Donna collection.
Bimbo has had honour of designing pieces for top female celebrities in Nigeria, and has been featured in notable fashion blogs, magazines and television programmes within and outside the Nigeria.
Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
Folu is a recent graduate of Law from the University of Ibadan. Her fashion brand, House of Dabira was created in 2011, and has become a household name at the University of Ibadan.
She was a nominee of the Students Union Government Awards, Best Student-Owned Organisation, September 2013 and the Oyo 30under30 Awards, Fashion Category, in December 2013.
She has showcased her collections at the Nigerian Television Fashion Show,The Dreams Come True Show With Jazzyb, Miss Heritage Competition and Ife Runway Fashion Show. In April 2013, an official launch for the brand was held at the University of Ibadan; after which she participated at the Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week at the University of Lagos.
In 2011, Fola established the House of Dabira Campaign against Domestic Violence towards Women and Children. She also recently won the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge, for which she got to dress Dakore Egbuson-Akande for the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards.