The Nigerian fashion industry has witnessed great transformation in recent years. With the likes of DT Stitches, Folake Folarin-Coker, Lisa Folawiyo, Deola Sagoe, Ade Bakare, Mai Atafo, Soares Anthony, Lanre Da Silva-Ajayi, Duro Olowu, April by Kunbi, Ade Bakare, Nkechi Sonia Ntekume and many other veteran 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.
Every human has the need to always feel appreciated wherever he or she finds himself. One of the major factors that could make people appreciate, accept or reject you is your appearance, especially when you are in a new environment or in the midst of strangers. This has led people to always want to put on the best dress as it is said that you are addressed the way you are dressed. This has further led to the fame of a lot of fashion designers who have been able to distinguish themselves in making fashionable dresses that could boost the confidence of an individual as well as make them to be appreciated whenever they step out in their dresses.
See list of Top Fashion Designers in Nigeria
Christiana Stephen Wakawa – DT Stitches
DT Stitches is where fashions and creativity meet. Mrs Christiana Stephen Wakawa, the creative director of DT Stitches, a creative thinker. DT Stitches is a fast rising fashion house that is already making waves with their blend of western style in African fabrics. DT Stitches originated from Maiduguri in Borno state of Nigeria.
Mrs Christiana Stephen Wakawa, the creative director of DT Stitches, is a graduate and an MBA holder in Business management from the university of Maiduguri. She is a wife and mother of 3 boys.
She turned fashion designer as a result of an inborn talent that was kind of suppressed from primary and secondary school as a result of her background.
Yemi’s designs are targeted towards evening dresses and bridal wears. He founded Kosibah in 1991 and the company has since earned itself a reputation in bridal wears. He is very creative with designs and is well patronized both home and abroad.
Duro’s collection have been used by a lot of socialites and celebrities including the current First Lady of the United States of America Michelle Obama. He is a major fashion designers and his signature styles are always colorful and attractive.
Folake founded Tiffany Amber about 13 years ago. The brand have since become very famous and has been a leader in the creation of beautiful designs for women. The brand is not only known in Nigeria but many other parts of the world.
Lisa is an in-demand designers who is known both home and abroad. She uses the highest grade of fabrics of Ankara and her African prints to produce different types of beautiful designs. She also has a lot of celebrity fans including Tasha Smith, Eve, Beyone, Thandie Newton and Kelis amongst others.
Frank was the designer and make-up artist for Agbani Darego, who worn the Miss World Beauty Pageant in 2001. He has been in the fashion industry for over 25 years and is still being patronized by a lot of clients in different parts of the world.
Ade is a Nigerian fashion designers who is based in London. He has the reputation of being one the best fashion designers. His designs are always difficult to resist and he is also involved in bridal wears.
Deola is a designer with a unique approach and visionary fashion talents. She has followers in every part of the world and became popular for designing Odua, a label which she designed for her mom. She has since designed a lot of wonderful dresses, jeans, menswear and polo for both men and women.
Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi
Lanre’s collection has been patronized by many celebrities in Nigeria and abroad. She is a fashion designer in Nigeria household name due to her modern signature designs.
Bridget who is currently pursuing a degree in fashion design is a well known fashion designers. She has designed a lot of dresses and fitting gowns with beautiful and simple attractive designs.
Soares is a male fashion designer who specializes in creating beautiful and exquisite fashion designs. His designs are sold in many major countries in the world and is also involved in bringing up young talents.
Oluwatobi – T16 world of Fashion
Oluwatobi is the creative director and founder of T16 world of Fashion. She began her career as a tailor, but because of her humble beginning, passion for fashion and drive to be successful, this helped facilitate her rise through the ranks, first as a tailor and now as a designer. In her sojourn into the beautiful world of fashion she had the opportunity to be mentored by the likes of Mai Atafo and Lanre Da Silva.
Her brand is an effortless, timeless and wearable line that reflects the kind of woman she is herself, which is strong, bold, fun, unique and fearless. She was part of the top 15 fashion focus finalists at GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week, 2014 and was amongst the top 4 finalists at the DSTV Fashion Protégé Contest. She has showcased at Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Lagos Fashion and Design Week, and MTN Business Overlook Forum. She has also enjoyed massive publicity on various media platforms in Nigeria. She debuted her collection SS15 early last year which is already looking very promising for her.
Akabogu Ogochukwu (Lines by Chaab)
Ogochukwu is the creative director of the rising brand 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…..fashion.
Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo’fari Couture)
Owonifari is the founder and creative engine behind the fashion label Mo’fari Couture. Born in June 1986 in Lagos, she attended Olabisi Onabanjo University where she studied Accounting. She is also a graduate of a business school.
Owonifari began her career studying fashion design from the prestigious Nobel Afrik, training and dress making school in Nigeria in the year 2011. Upon graduating, the invaluable experience gained inspired her to fulfil her lifelong dream to launch her brand in June 2011 while still on training.
Her participation in several competitions has made her brand grow fast. Her major achievement so far in the industry was being a part of the top 15 Lagos Fashion and Design Week and British Council Fashion Focus 2014 finalists, which she claims was a major breakthrough for her brand. Her latest collection SS15 was showcased at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2014. 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’. She is one designer to look out for.
Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
Folu graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. She is the Creative Director of the House of Dabira, a fashion brand created in December 2011.
Like most designers, fashion started for Folu at a very young age. Her brand is a household name at the University of Ibadan and she remains one of the most successful young designers to have graduated from the university in recent times.
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 at the Nigerian Television Fashion Show, The Dreams Come True Show With Jazzyb, Miss Heritage Competition, Ife Runway Fashion Show. In 2013, an official launch for the brand was held in April at the University of Ibadan; after which she participated at the Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week in June, at the University of Lagos, Yaba.
In 2013, she also established the House of Dabira Campaign against Domestic Violence towards Women and Children. She recently won the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge, for which she got to dress Dakore Egbuson-Akande for the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards. Dakore made the best dressed list of sites such as bellanaija, stylevitae, among many others.
Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi (Reni Smiths)
Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi is the creative director of Reni Smiths. She spent her early years growing up in Lagos with her grandmother who was a seamstress, thus giving her an early taste of the world of design and fashion. Beginning her formal training at Instituto di Moda Burgo where she got a diploma in fashion styling, she entered the exciting 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.
After the launch, the brand received massive acceptance and she has had the honour of designing pieces for top female celebrities in Nigeria. Bimbo has been featured in notable fashion blogs, magazines and television programmes within and outside the country. The year looks very promising for this young designer and she is one to definitely lookout for.
Vovwe Omoko (Ovems Fashion)
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 love for fashion started from when she was a child, and she has always received the support of her parents. Her brand originated from her passion to make clothes that interprets aesthetics and speak class.
Her major 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 limelight as she was featured in various media platforms in Nigeria. 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. She will be debuting the “Edgy and Classy” collection at the 2015 edition of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria. She is a designer to lookout for this year.
Adebola Adebowale (Derb’s Signature)
Adebowale is the drive behind the fast growing fashion brand; Derb’s Signature. She is a Nigeria-UK trained engineer with an inseparable love for fashion. Derb’s signature is a true Nigerian dream reaching out to the world with innovation and originality.
Adebola has always loved fashion with insistent quest to fill the fashion gap and make better image and personality brand. She has been involved in different aspect of skill acquisition and practice. She 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.
She is presently working on a full collection Chic bohemian which will be released in winter 2015 and she will also be showcasing at some major fashion events in Nigeria this year.
Nkechi Sonia Ntekume (Spine Cut)
Nkechi has been quite crafty with the needles since her young age, she used to stitch out wears for her doll and crochet stitches. It was as though she was born to be a fashion designer. She enrolled into a vocational and skills acquisition centre; Youth Resource Center-Idia Renaissance in Benin, Edo state, where she learnt the basics of fashion designing for six months and emerged as one of the top students of the department.
The 2014 graduate of the University Of Benin has been into bespoke and made-to-measure of day to day occasion and bridal wears, offering a one on one service, and working closely with clients to create their ultimate dream outfits, ensuring perfect fit to suit individual tastes.
In 2014 she studied Fashion Design professionally at Needlekraft fashion school for six months. Months into the training, she got involved in exhibitions which formally introduced her brand to a part of the Lagos market. Later that year in September, she did a one month intermediate course in branding, collection making, pattern drafting plus fashion illustration at One Stop Celebration College of Fashion with Asanyah Davidson of Circa 24, as a tutor where she emerged winner of the project work which launched her first collection; Trumpet collection. Awesomely she’s Currently into a bridal course at Bride Affairs and an online programme too. 2016 is a year to watch out for this promising young designer.
Spotted a few times on the red carpet, 17.09 Couture stores are go to places for red carpet events.
The Graduate of English Language from the University of Ado-Ekiti in the year 2011, has the capacity to universalise the fashion world with her linguistic ability, she launched her Fashion Line in the year 2013.
17.09 Couture is a top notch brand and has been making its way to the top. With 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. Modupe has been featured on a few television programmes, fashion magazines and blogs. 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, which has been a huge break out for the brand.
Gbenga Luke-Adetule (NVO)
Gbenga Luke- Adetule is the Creative Director of NVO APPAREL. NVO stands for NAIJA’S VERY OWN; a proudly Nigerian fashion brand that offers premium bespoke outfits.
The NVO APPAREL brand was birthed in March 2013, fuelled by the zeal to make quality, outstanding outfits that would rival established designers in the fashion industry both home and abroad. In June 2014, Gbenga showcased at the second edition of Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week (NSFDW), the biggest student fashion week in Africa, and this was a turning point for him, it motivated him to dream bigger and work harder, just after this showcase, he was invited to audition for a fashion project called “The Making”, a lot of experience was gained as he learned from the likes of Mai Atafo.
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. He has been featured on notable fashion blogs, magazines and television programmes and he has styled quite a number of celebrities, OAP’s, Music acts and TV personalities for red carpet events, photo shoots and music video shoots. The young designer recently signed a partnership deal with Goge Africa, where he gets to dress their TV presenters for a period of time.
The year 2016 promises to be a stepping stone for this young designer as he is also looking forward to showcasing his 2015 collection at the Lagos Fashion And Design Week.
Adepeju Okunuga (Oza Couture)
Babcock University’s famous fashion brand OZA COUTURE was created by Adepeju Okunuga in 2012. The young designer is one of most established and successful fashion designers on campus. Her passion for fashion has always been embedded in her since she was little but it came into limelight in her 300 level. She was raised by her mother and father who fully support and encourage her.
Oza Couture is all about designing unique, stylish, classy, decent and well-tailored dresses for women. Her environment in school inspired her to be able design dresses that would still look decent and also compliant with the school rules. She showcased her first collection “The Nightingale Collection” in the early parts of 2014 in different fashion shows organised in her school.
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. This showcase got her an interview by Punch Nigeria on her entrepreneurship skills in 2014. Her notable awards and accomplishments cannot be overlooked as she won 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. She intends to further her skills in fashion designing by pursuing a master’s degree in fashion designing. Now out of school, the industry should watch out for this designer.
Apooyin Abiola, Doyin Junaid, Yusuff Olusola
Breaking into the fashion scene late 2013, Awe clothing’s has been a student’s brand with distinction as they have achieved so much within the little time of establishment with roots in the United States and across campuses in Nigeria. The brand is owned by three young designers, Apooyin Abiola a student of the University of Lagos, Yusuf Olusola a student of the Federal Polytechnic Ilaro and Doyin Junaid who resides in the United States. These young protégés have been able to work together as a team and channel all their creative energy into the Awe brand.
The two-time Most Outstanding Student Brand of the University of Lagos is known for taking its clients through an adventurous journey of unparalleled fashion. From its fabric selections and swatches to the detailed attention it pays to fitting, quality, finesse and timeliness of delivery. It also offer the best sartorial pieces on a quality for less basis.
In the year 2014, Awe clothing’s was nominated as the Emerging Brand Of The Year at FUNAAB Awards, Student Enterprise of the Year at the UNILAG Awards and also at the Tush All Youth Awards. Awe has styled Celebrities like BOJ, Tosyn Bucknor, Cynthia Morgan, Vector, Kiss Daniels, Toke of UNILAG FM amongst others.
The year 2016 looks very promising for this young brand.
Onwuka Onyeka Paschal (Royal Couture)
Paschal is an undergraduate student of Babcock University and creative director of Royal Couture. He is a proficient designer so skilled in the art of making strictly male outfits. The way he fits colours together with the perfect design is impeccable. It’s like he understands colour shades and designs so well, he can craft a mesh of elegant cocktail wears with these little detailing.
He officially launched his designer flagship store; ROYAL COUTURE in the year 2015. 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.
He is one of the prominent designers in his University and has been featured in some major blogs and magazines in Nigeria.
Oluwafolakemi Aigbirior (Fowal Flair)
Oluwafolakemi Aigbirior is a fashion designer with the taste for style, finishing and fit, she loves paying attention to details. Her love for arts and crafts is borne out of the desire for designing and making people look good.
The graduate of Home Economics at Obafemi Awolowo University and creative director of Fowal Flair started her brand during her undergraduate days and was incorporated in 2011. Aigbirior is an expert in creating bespoke and ready to wear creations.
This rising brand is also into designing and production of timeless designs for women that love good taste. Over the years, they have been able to train a good number of young females by helping them bring out their potential creative ability.
She is also a Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women scholar of the Enterprise Development Centre (EDC) at the Pan Atlantic University.
Fowal Flair entails what femininity is and embraces all aspects of it, making it a favourite among folks with the best fashion taste buds.
When Folakemi is off fashion, She’s into BlackNbold Fashion club, She was also a part of the just concluded Ife Runway Season Three Goodwill Ambassador.
Her designs has been featured in some fashion magazines and blogs in Nigeria.
Faith Ifarajimi (BlackNBold)
Unlike many designers, Faith is focusing on Knitwears which is not so popular amongst Nigerian designers. He started knitting as a learning on the job process, because knitwear design is considered as self-taught for him. He had his first hands on experience of knitwear designing in 2013 when there was an educational strike in the Federal Institutions.
With role models like Missoni, Laduma Ngxokolo, Mark Fast, and Buki Akib who are also influences on the young designers works. His debut collection ‘DREAMS’ for the Autumn/Winter 2015 season which he showcased at the House of Claire fashion show has been receiving a lot of positive reviews from reputable fashion heads in the industry.
He is presently one of the youngest male knitwear designer in Nigeria presently into knit wears. He will be showcasing his collection at the Winasbet Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week and the GTB Lagos Fashion and Design Week later this year.
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