With top fashion designers like Deola Sagoe, Yomi Casuals, Kola Kuddus, and other exotic fashion brands in Nigeria, one would need a lot of money to patronize their products. However, you can still look good without breaking the bank. The fashion industry is one of the most lucrative businesses to venture into, as people constantly have a need to cover themselves and look attractive.
As a way to encourage young and upcoming fashionistas, this article is focused on 10 emerging fashion designers in Nigeria. Not every tailor is a designer, vice versa, but these outstanding and uprising personalities are exceptionally good at the art of foreseeing a style and bringing it to life through high-quality fabrics.
This list was compiled after a thorough examination considering many relevant factors in no particular order.
1. Oluwatobi Akintoye – T16 World of Fashion
Oluwatobi is the creative director and founder of T16 World of Fashion. She is a graduate of the University of Lagos, Akoka where she studied Guidance and Counselling. She began her career as a tailor but has grown over the years into a designer. She had received mentorship from the likes of Mai Atafo and Lanre Da Silva in her journey to becoming what she is today.
Her brand is an effortless, timeless, and wearable line that reflects the kind of woman she is – strong, bold, fun, unique, and fearless. Oluwatobi was part of fashion focus finalists at GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week, 2014, and was also amongst the top 4 finalists at the DSTV Fashion Protégé Contest. She has showcased at Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Lagos Fashion, and Design Week. She debuted her collection SS15 early in 2015 and is obviously one brand to look out for.
2. Akabogu Ogochukwu – Lines by Chaab
Ogochukwu is the creative director of Lines by Chaab, a fashion design outfit dedicated to presenting its customers with different clothing options ranging from hand embellished clothing to stunning texture play, colour play as well as pattern play in the unique art of mix and match as never seen before. Ogochukwu translates her love for languages and art into a universal language of fashion.
She emerged winner of Nigeria’s’ Next Top Designer Competition and later won the Music Meets Runway ‘Rising Icon Competition’ in 2014. She has also showcased at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria and Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week. In 2014, Ogochukwu was rated as one of the top 12 newcomers in the industry by BlackNBold Fashion House. So far, Ogo’s works have been featured on E! Online, Africa Magic, Studio 53, Pulse Nigeria, Onobello, Bella Naija and a host of other reputable platforms.
3. Omowunmi Owonifari – Mo’fari Couture Designer
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Owonifari is the founder and creative mind behind Mo’fari Couture. The 30-year-old designer studied Accounting at Olabisi Onabanjo University and is also a graduate of Lagos Business School. In 2011, Owonifari enrolled at fashion design from the prestigious Nobel Afrik, training, and dressmaking school in Nigeria. After graduation, she was inspired to fulfill her lifelong dream to launch her brand in June 2011 while still in training.
Her participation in several competitions has made her brand grow fast. She was one of the four finalists at the 2015 Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. Her work has been featured in several fashion blogs and TV programmes. In June 2014 she got an editorial feature in the Guardian Newspaper as the ‘Designer of the Week’.
4. Samuel Udeji – AmDiddy Clothing
Samuel Udeji, the CEO of AmDiddy Clothing is an Economist from Obafemi Awolowo University, a Fashion Design and Tailoring Company that specializes in Men’s Wear. His business meets the need of having a fashion brand in Nigeria that makes ready to wear outfits with the focus on style, quality, and affordability that can be worn every day of the week.
The confident and industrious businessman likes to be very professional about his handwork. He believes that AmDiddy Clothing will contribute not just to the economy of the country but also to create employment opportunities for individuals across Nigeria and Africa. AmDiddy’s website will go live on the 1st of September , 2020 which would allow new and existing customers to shop from their various collections. Samuel is no doubt one designer to look out for.
5. Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi – Reni Smiths Designers
Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi is the creative director of Reni Smiths. She grew up in Lagos with her grandmother who was a seamstress, and from there she first built her love for the world of fashion and designing.
She had formal training at Instituto di Moda Burgo where she got a diploma in fashion styling, then she entered the world of fashion by establishing the Reni Smith brand which she launched at the 2013 edition of GTB Lagos Fashion & Design Week as one of the top 10 young designers showcasing the Bella Donna collection.
6. Vovwe Omoko – Ovems Fashion
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Omoko graduated from the Department of Textile art at Delta State University in 2014 after which she pursued training at OSC College of Fashion. Her brand originated from her passion for making clothes that interprets aesthetics and speaks class. Her breakthrough was when she 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.
This prize brought her to the limelight as she was featured in various media platforms in Nigeria. A few months later, she went ahead to win the David Wej Half a Million Naira Fashion Competition. She also won the BlackNBold Fashion Awards for Young Designer of the Year. She is presently an in-house stylist and wardrobe designer for Cool TV and Wazobia TV and has styled various celebrities in Nigeria.
7. Soares Anthony – SoaresAnthony
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Soares’s penchant for fashion was evident while growing as a kid. He spent his time sketching and drawing fashion designs. SoaresAnthony is a fast-growing fashion brand owned by Soares Anthony. The young man has always loved fashion with an insistent quest to fill the gap and make a better image and personal brand. He used to be a model before eventually venturing into designing clothes. The fashion outlet not only makes ready to wear clothes but also wedding dresses. His works have been featured in notable magazines in Africa and Nigeria.
8. Adebayo Oke-Lawal – Orange Culture
Adebayo has been quite crafty with the needles since his young age, he sees his fashion line not just as a brand but also a cause which he is passionate about. He is the founder of Orange Culture an androgynous fashion brand that aims to break gender stereotypes in Nigeria while also celebrating its culture. He made his first official runway debut at Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2011 offering a one on one service, and working closely with clients to create their ultimate dream outfits, ensuring the perfect fit to suit individual tastes. He is the only African once nominated for the Woolmark Prize. Orange Culture is a regular participant of Lagos Fashion & Design Week (LFDW).
9. Hafsah Mohammed – Elora Collection
Hafsah Mohammed is the creative director and founder of Elora Collections. She is a fashion entrepreneur and influencer. Hafsah is well known to have carved a niche for herself among the Islamic fashion audience with her EID Collection line. Her sense of fashion is a modest way of clothing which appeals to all class in society. Elora collections are committed to creative modest fashion designs with contemporary style and luxury. Hafsah’s goal is to provide today’s modern and progressive women with a means of representing their identity with style, originality, and finesse for all occasions.
10. Olakunbi Oyelese – AprilbyKunbi Lifestyle
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Olakunbi Oyelese is the CEO of April by Kunbi is a graduate of the renowned New York fashion institute of Technology. She was ready to take on the world of fashion and in April 2010, she launched her fashion brand; April By Kunbi considering the month of the launch. April by Kunbi is a household name in the events and wedding industry as they specialize in bespoke bridal gowns and evening wears.
The intelligent and resourceful fashion icon launched her collection of ready to wear clothing; AprilbyKunbi Lifestyle to focus on the company’s lifestyle collections. Kunbi’s goal is to be the one-stop source and a lifestyle brand for everything from wedding gowns, bridesmaid dresses, evening and cocktail dresses to casual/activewear, sleepwear, footwear, accessories, and lingerie. Her collections have been showcased at the various runway and fashion shows within and outside Nigeria.