As we get ready for the 6th edition of Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week, our designers remain an epitome of fashion week. Meet the talented and emerging designers showcasing on the NSFDW runway this year.
Ogounchi Adebola started her fashion career as a tribute to her aunt whose love for crochet was inspiring, ‘I wanted to give a tribute to my late aunt Francine who was fascinated by crochet. That’s even the meaning of my brand name (L’uF stand in French for L’Univers de Francine which means Francine’s Universe). Before passing away she bought a lot of yarn threads and crochet books. Unfortunately, she couldn’t use them. So one day I took the threads and the books she left; I learned from the books and start making stuffs which I was given free to my friends. So people were calling me and were asking for the tops or headbands I have made for this or that person. (I couldn’t even price them). So this is when I decided to turn it as a business.
One of my closest friend advice to me showcase at a fashion show, SOB fashion week Benin. And I really like the pressure before the event; the stress behind the scenes; and I also develop Love for work well done. This is what led me to embrace fashion as a career”.
On choosing NSFDW, “I saw the potential; the professionalism and the scope of the event, but especially the opportunities that arise for young designers and new people embracing fashion industry. I was on BellaNaija website when i saw an article from Sharon Ojong’s Vlog: “The biggest Fashion weeks in Africa. So I took a look and I was captivated by NSFDW because that’s what I was looking for”.
For her designs, Adebola gets her materials from different parts of the world like France, Ghana, America and a lot of shops in Africa selling quality yarns. The business of fashion is a big drive for her especially since her family is yet to understand her career choice.
She will be showcasing her “Boldness” collection, a mixed of chic, classy and unique pieces on the NSFDW runway.
Aderayo Aminat Animashaun started her brand “De’rayo” because she got tired of seeing imported fashion products such as shoes, bags, cloths and accessories in the Nigerian market, so she set up a manufacturing company that design and produce creative pieces that celebrate our culture and tell our African stories. African’s rich culture and fabrics inspire her designs. She highlighted her biggest fear when starting out as reaching her target audience and the best way to sell to them.
She describes her collection as “Afrocentric and Impulse” and believes superior finishing, more fashion training and quality of production will go further to place made in Nigerian products a better placing in the international market. Expect to see a De’rayo collection on NSFDW runway that showcases Afrocentric products that tell the African stories.
Nniu Concept Designs was conceptualized by Nneoma Nwosu whose love for fashion and telling amazing fashion stories through her exquisite designs began a journey of a talented fashion brand. She also cites designers such as Dior as her top fashion inspiration in her career. Her creativity and designs are generally inspired by her everyday lifestyle from African fabrics, to groups of people, trends and even love.
For her brand to stand out, “I believe using actual Nigerian/African textile, Nigerian/African art, telling real Nigerian/African stories would definitely leave a mark. Also working with skilled trainable artisans. Collaborative projects with outstanding designers with whom I have a common goal with, staying true to my designs, paying close attention to detail, and also considering the wearer’s needs”.
On NSFDW/AFWH Partnership, “If given the opportunity to showcase at AFW in Houston, America. I will take advantage and make the right impression to Africans and the international fashion market by showing what Africa/Nigeria is really made of. From our indigenous textiles, to our crafts, to our stories and as much as I’m inspired to incorporate, and infuse all that in such a raw but refined way into my creation. For me, it’s about showing our Gold (the African Gold) to the world”.
For Helen Osung the Creative Director of Daniella’s Fashion World, her love for fashion came naturally and quite early from her childhood days. As she got older, it became clearer what her career choice would be although her biggest fear when starting was the capital and electricity to meet up with client demands but she sailed through.
She describes the distinctiveness that makes her brand stand out as “my creativity, diligence, quality and durability, because those are the major factors that guide our day to day dealings in the fashion industry”.
For Aliyah Abdulazeez & Soliat Abdulazeez of Twinfingers Fashion, being in the fashion industry came naturally as it has been in the family for years. Their biggest fear when starting out was getting a viable location that will meet their aspirations for the brand they are building. They have chosen NSFDW platform to showcase their designs because of its years of building, nurturing and showcasing emerging designers in Nigeria. Their creativity is inspired by Nigerians’ growing consciousness to fashion and seeing other designers creating innovative pieces that inspire a huge market of fashion lovers.
On Preparations for NSFDW2018, “Firstly, our collection has been gathered from some designers’ inspirations all combined to form a distinct and different concept, also through teamwork, sharing ideas, time management and delegation and dedication”.
Nellygrace Chika’s love for Ankara inspired a fashion line, she was able to change the “traditional Ankara” look to a modern vibe for young ladies. Her biggest fear was being able to satisfy women of all shapes and sizes. Chika’s designs are inspired by her clients and social media trends. Her collection will consist of Ankara casual outfits, asoebi lace styles and evening gowns.
On Preparations for NSFDW2018, “I have so far worked with my role models online and offline, and have sought advice from those who have been there before. I have also gotten support from professional tailors who are well experienced in drafting and fashion illustration in other to come out with the best I can”.
Udoh Inimfon Success’s journey into the footwear business started as a solution to ever changing fashion trends, so he decided to make shoes that “complement eclectic fashion style”. He also had an advantage by going into a market that is very operational and not seasonal. Then FWP Collection (Foot with Pearl Collection) was conceived.
On choosing NSFDW, “It provided a platform most fashion shows won’t do for footwear designers like myself”.
Accessing materials for his business isn’t as hard as it might sound, local markets in Lagos already have a lot of materials; although he expresses concern with sometimes working with limited materials due to importation issues.
On his FWPcollection for NSFDW2018, “My collections are staples that creates “fashion statements” such that complements, eclectic fashion style. The following features, thus describes my collections: Simplicity, Aesthetics, Detailed, Variety, Class, and Quality. We thus categorize our collections into the following categories for both male and female folks: Groom collection – weddings, party look, corporate footwear, casual collection, urban/retro(vintage)/rugged”.
Success believes there is need to change the Nigerian perception of products as “knock offs” narrative internationally. This will bring credibility and confidence to Nigerian brands, which is why the NSFDW/AFWH is beneficial to tell the real African fashion stories. It will also offer opportunities for artisans based in America to invest more in the growth of Nigerian fashion industry.