In the early 90s, finding a young indigenous designer in Nigeria to make fashionable pieces and at reasonable prices was almost unfathomable. Fast forward to 2010 and the years after and the situation has completely changed for the better. At the alarming rate at which the fashion industry is growing, one wouldn’t be surprised if this industry eventually becomes one of the big earners of our Gross Domestic Product.
The Emerging Designers In Nigeria Series is an initiative of Uk/Nigerian based fashion promoting company; BlackNBold Fashion House. The series is aimed at promoting, celebrating and recognizing outstanding young and creative designers in Nigeria. The series started in 2013 and in this edition the fashion house will be revealing its Top 15 Emerging Designers of The Year. The designers were selected by a council of fashion elders who submit nominations and the most repeated fifteen names were reviewed and screened.
Find below the full list:
YINKA FASHOLA (MOOFA)
Coming in at #1 is Yinka Fashola, the creative director of MOOFA, a Nigerian based label. Yinka is a graduate of Sociology from the Olabisi Onabanjo University. She signaled a roaring entry into the Nigerian fashion scene in 2012 with her Spring/Summer 2012/2013 collection “Swan Addiction”. The MOOFA designs according to the creative designer caters for “the modern woman who enjoys bold, contemporary and edgy pieces that provides directional styling and structure to her wardrobe”
The MOOFA brand has featured in successful fashion weeks notably are the Africa Fashion Week London 2013 where they showcased the “Classy Collection” , Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2013, Accra Ghana which bore striking similarities to their 2012 collection with a twist of maturity and growth in design and fabric patterns. She showcased her SS16 collection “Labalaba by MOOFA” at the Heineken Lagos Fashion And Design Week 2015 which enjoyed massive review.
The year 2015 was a remarkable and a highly fulfilling one for Yinka Fashola has she went on to become a fashion designer of the year nominee at the 2015 Eloy awards. She was ranked 8th in the City People Magazine’s 50 Hot Ladies In Fashion & Beauty Business of the year 2015. Some of her outfits have been spotted on Mo’cheddah, Kemi Akindoju, Rita Dominic, Michelle dede amongst others.
SILVER & OLIVIA ENEKWE (GOZEL GREEN)
Twin designers’ Silver Enekwe and Olivia Enekwe are the creative hands behind the GOZEL GREEN label. As a brand, we have seen them at the FAYROUZ L’ORIGINALE tv series for designers, coupled with their 2014 collection at the GTB Lagos Fashion And Design Week as a fashion focus finalist. It wasn’t surprising when we saw how far and fast they have grown since their humble beginnings at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and design week 2015 where they wowed a number of audiences with their “marching to kilmanjaro” collection which has been reviewed on notable fashion programmes on Tv, magazines and blogs. This collection was listed on Vogue.com as one of the 6 standout collections from the Heineken Lagos Fashion And Design Week 2015. The collection features shift dresses, tunics, subtle color blocking and a creative use of shapes.
A number of celebrities and fashion icons have been spotted in Gozel Green pieces from Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Michelle Dede, Fade Ogunro, Eku Edewor, Toke Makinwa, Yemi Alade to mention a few.
They will definitely grow in their creative space and we cannot wait to see where they take us in 2016.
MOTUNRAYO JIMOH (MAJU)
MAJU is a female fashion label founded in 2008 by Motunrayo Jimoh a graduate of the University of Lagos who got married to Abdul-Rasheed Umaru in 2012. Maju’s creations are always upbeat with today’s fashion and some of her designs also carry a vintage look. Her creations include accessories, purses, bags and clothes. In May 2015, Maju launched an online shop for its fashion and accessories brands in a move to reach more buyers and fashion loyalists in Nigeria. Shopmaju.com has since its launch been helping ladies to discover themselves.
Earlier this year, we saw their Ready-to-Wear collection tagged “Rinnovo” which featured Tania Omotayo and Banke Su. The collection featured bright tones and neutrals brought to life on laces and sheer fabrics to potray the new and evolved MAJU Woman.
In December 2015, famous DJ, Cuppy Otedola was named as the face of the “Maju Holiday Collection” as Dj Cuppy was seen in various pieces from both the Maju basic and Maju luxe items. From nudes and pastels to stronger hues the collection revealed the fabulosity to expect from the holiday season.
Motunrayo recently hosted the Happy Shoppers Fashion Party at the Miliki Lounge in lagos welcoming fashion savvy shoppers eager to get their hands on the latest pieces from the brand and it was highly attended by notable Nigerians and fashionistas. We look forward to her Lagos Shopping Party this December.
DERIN FABIKUN (FABLANE BY DERIN)
Derin Fabikun is a Nigerian-based women’s wear designer and the creative director of FABLANE BY DERIN. Derin started her label in 2009 when she was 19, she has always been passionate about personal style from an early age. As an undergraduate she was popularly called “Miss Fabulous” because of her style of dressing.
By 2015, the now 25 years old graduate of Covenant University is a successful designer making strong waves in Nigeria especially with her “5k shop” an online Nigerian store where customers can order their custom designs at very affordable prices.
We are proud at how far she’s successfully gone from a teenage designer in the Nigerian market to the very successful adult designer she is now.
NURA IKAHLEA (NURANIYA STUDIOS)
NURANIYA STUDIOS is owned by Nigerian female designer Nura Ikahlea. The brands debut collection was called “Philosophy”, according to the designer; “the collection was created so that each piece is a reflection of my unadulterated love for simplicity, a contemporary kind of minimalism, and sophisticated ease and that practical and easy to mix and match”
The brand later went on to launch its 2015 Resort Collection “Ambiguity”. She was amongst the Fashion focus 2015 finalist at the Heineken Lagos Fashion And Design Week. The well- tailored collection features a number of cut-outs, slits and mostly beloved for its ready-to-wear theme.
The Nuraniya brand has in a short while become a favourite for many Nigerian celebrities. Spotted in Nuraniya in 2015 were Bolanle Olukanni during the project fame, Toke Makinwa’s stylish custom made jumpsuit to Juliet Ibrahim’s ‘Shattered Romance’, Waje’s drop-dead gorgeous outfit to the future awards, while Omoyemi Akerele founder of Lagos Fashion And Design Week was found wearing Nuraniya for her famous cover for Style Mania Magazine in 2015. Nura was ranked 45th in the City People Magazine’s 50 Hot Ladies In Fashion & Beauty Business of the year 2015.
TOLUWANI OYEFUGA (WANNI FUGA)
The very popular celebrity go to designer in 2015 by our favourite celebrities is undoubtedly Toluwani Oyefuga, the creative director of WANNI FUGA. She is the brain behind the “WF designs”. Her most famous piece to date is the beryl blouse and the wide leg trouser set. The number of celebrities we have seen in this set is literally too long from everyone favourite actress Omotola Jolade Ekehinde to media girl Toke Makinwa, business girl Freda Francis and the self-proclaimed billionaire wife and successful entrepreneur herself Dabota Lawson.
The 2015 collection from Wanni Fuga “LIGNE” was mind blowing, in the words of the creator; “I’m trying to achieve modern elegance by pertaining to something from the past in a nostalgic way; vivid colours, bold prints. I look around today and I see a lot of old school fashion being brought back. It’s amazing how the past comes back and become refine…”
We love WF designs so much because it creates a window for individual wearer to OWN every piece as though they alone own the design.
EMMANUEL OKORO (EMMY KASBIT)
EMMY KASBIT is owned by Emmanuel Okoro. The brand began making waves in 2013 but it wasn’t until 2014 we got to really see their creative designs with their debut collection aptly titled “the definition”. The collection would go on to define the very essence of the Emmy Kasbit designs. By 2015, their collection “FORTIS” was unveiled and it was to be the beginning of their widely acclaimed recognition especially among Nigerian entertainers notably media personality Uti Nwachukwu, Joseph Benjamin, Alex Ekubo and many more.
We cannot but wonder what the brand has in store for us in 2016
PAPA OMISORE (P.O.C)
Papa Omisore is the creative director of the P.O.C fashion label (People of Colour); a fashion extraordinaire into so many things. If he isn’t designing, he is doing his PR guru thing or at other times just living it up as a stylist. The People of Color is a menswear label.
The brand came into the limelight in 2014 but has become a fan favorite amongst our favourite celebrities. Some may attribute this success to his previous presence in the entertainment industry, but we beg to differ, the P.O.C brand in its own rights deserves all its successes.
P.O.C as a brand has successfully showcased at the 2015 Aquafina Elite Model Look in Nigeria and most recently at the Heineken Fashion and Design Week 2015. Papa Omisore 2015 collection is called “P.A.I.N.T” which the creative designer says is inspired by Pablo Picasso. The P.O.C man is edgy, daring with colors and extremely trendy.
Hopefully in 2016, we would have a women line from the People of Colour.
RODNEY EMEKA (MCMEKA)
Coming in at #9 is Rodney Emeka, the creative director of MCMEKA. He is one of the most creative creators of well-tailored suits you will ever come across in Nigeria. His attention to detail is unparalleled lending him a seat with the big dogs in the Nigerian fashion industry.
His debut collection was in 2012, and his name became prominent in the fashion industry after winning the MTN Young Fashion Designer of the Year at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week in 2013 with his “MAN ABOUT TOWN” collection. He later showcased at the 2014 New York Fashion Week with his “THE CLASSISIST” collection. He recently showcased at the 2015 Heineken Fashion and Design Week and he blew our minds with his gorgeous designs.
McMeka also has quite the celebrity following with our favorite stars donning his pieces from IK Osakioduwa, Alex Ekubo, Burna Boy and many orders. Safe to say designers like McMeka has raised the bar for bespoke suit designers in Nigeria.
OWONIFARI OMOWUNMI (MO’FARI COUTURE)
Owonifari Omowunmi is the brain behind the fast growing “Regal” fashion brand MO’FARI . She is a graduate of the Olabisi Onabanjo University where she studied Accounting. The brand caters to a woman who is strong, sexy and fearless with cutting edge styles.
As a brand, MO’FARI COUTURE has been featured on different fashion and style platforms such as; The GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week Focus of 2014, an editorial feature as the designer of the week on the Guardian Newspaper in Nigeria, and very recently emerging as one of the finalists at the 2015 Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. She debuted their spring/summer 2016 collection at the Heineken Lagos Fashion And Design Week 2015. She was ranked 36th in the City People Magazine’s 50 Hot Ladies In Fashion & Beauty Business of the year 2015.
AYO ELIZABETH (AYO VAN ELMAR)
AYO VAN ELMAR is owned by Nigerian designer Ayo Elizabeth Olaogun. Ayo moved to Austria when she was 18 years old. She came into fashion designing in 2010 and her first collection was in 2012 titled “MAGIC SHIELDS” and this was subsequently followed by her 2013 collection “CHAKRA”. As a Nigerian living in the Diaspora, the theme of her designs always resonates with events unravelling in Nigeria which sometimes is missed in communication by some of the European media. But Ayo stays unfettered and wishes to showcase at New York Fashion Week which in her opinion is the biggest fashion week.
She is one of Nigeria’s most sought after designer with a lot of works under her belt. She has successfully showcased her designs at the 2013 GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week. She has also worked as the head designer and stylist on popular TV shows in Nigeria namely 2012 “Nigeria’s Got Talent” and at the 2013 “GLO X-Factor” West Africa. She has also run editorials for Nigeria’s TW magazine.
Her 2015 collection titled “gods and dolls” was a master piece. This designer has already taken over Nigeria, we await her global domination.
BIMBO OYE-AKINNIFESI (RENI SMITH)
RENI SMITH is a women-wear label owned by Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi. She became prominent in the fashion industry after participating at the 2013 GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week Fashion focus where she exhibited her “BELLA DONNA” collection. She went on to become a fan favourite dressing notable figures and improving on her craft. Her Bella Donna collection was worn by beautiful Nigerian songstress Seyi Shay at the 2013 Music meets Runway.
We were not surprised at her return as a grown woman showcasing at the 2015 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week with an array of incredible awe worthy designs. Her collection was filled with shapely crop tops, playsuits, fringed detailed skirts, cuts out, body con pieces and more. It was a very eccentric collection any fashion lover would like to try on. Bimbo was ranked 42nd in the City People magazine’s 50 Hot Ladies In Fashion & Beauty Business of 2015.
HAUWA LIMAN (AFRIK ABAYA)
Hauwa Liman is the creative director of the Abaya inspired brand AFRIK ABAYA, she is a native of Katsina State. She calls her brand of design “modesty fashion” that is one that caters to style while ensuring women are well covered up.
Her design is an infusion of traditional African fabrics like the Ankara with Abaya; the traditional Arabian outfit. According to the designer; “My selling point is largely the ‘African touch’ that comes with my modest outfits and the fact that I am setting a new trend in the Nigeria fashion industry with my Abaya, Kaftan, and Kaftan tops…”
Hauwa Liman’s first debut was at the 2015 edition of Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week where she showcased her “AFRIK INVASION” collection. This showcase won her the Most Creative Designer Award at the fashion week judged by a harem of successful personalities in the Nigerian fashion industry. This we can say was the breakthrough moment for this young designer. She was selected as one of the 1000 young entrepreneurs in Africa to benefit from the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme and has gone on to win the 2Million Naira Etisalat Easy Business Millionaire Hunt Season 2.
We look forward to her collection at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria in 2016.
VOVWE OMOKE (OVEMS FASHION)
Vovwe Omoko is the creative director of OVEMS FASHION, an alumnus of the popular fashion school OSC COLLEGE OF FASHION. She came into the limelight after participating at the 2014 Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week. She was announced the most creative designer by Ronke Ademiluyi; the founder of Africa Fashion Week London and Nigeria. This win gave her an automatic free participant at the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria 2015.
Her 2015 collection “B3 BY OVEMS” enjoyed massive review on notable fashion blogs and fashion programmes in Nigeria and in the Uk which she showcased at the 2015 Africa Fashion Week Nigeria. Since her debut, Vovwe has gone on to carve a niche for herself in a very competitive industry where new talent springs up every day. She is a hard worker who has gone on to make custom pieces for her customers. We cannot wait to see what Vovwe has in stock for the year 2016. She is definitely one to watch out for.
SEUN MORAFA (MORAFA)
Seun Morafa is another designer that made our list. He is the creative director of the MORAFA clothing label which was founded about 2 years ago. The undergraduate of the University of Lagos is known for his well tailored suits which has an amazing finishing. He was awarded Unilag’s Finest Designer in 2014 and we saw him unveiling his “The Perfect Gentleman” collection at the 2015 Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week where he got a standing ovation from the judges and guests and was announced the 2nd runner up Most Creative Designer. We later saw his showcase at the Elite Model Look Nigeria 2015 as a guest designer.
Seun later went on to shoot his collection in New York and it received several accolades in Europe and in the Usa. He was recently featured on TVCNews, This Day and Guardian newspaper in Nigeria.
So there you have it. It wasn’t easy compiling this list as we used several weeks analyzing, studying and compiling. Our appreciation goes out to Juliet (360nobs.com), Sharon Ojo (Sharonojong.com) , Olamide Olanrewaju (Pulse.ng), Nimide (Stylevitae.com), Deborah (Genevieve Magazine), Ada (Complete Fashion Magazine), Tosin (Olorisupergal.com), Kiekie (Goldmyne Tv), Abiola Orimolade (BlackNBold Fashion House), Mutairu Basirat (BlackNBold Magazine)