Born in Bromsgrove (British Midlands), he graduated from Manchester University College after which he began working at the fashion houses of Victor Edelstein and Christian Stambolian, purveyors of style to the English establishment in the 80s and 90s and thereby gained his initial tailoring experience.
Ade Bakare is one of the leading fashion designers and entrepreneurs in Nigeria who have made landmark achievements in the creative world.
A man of many paths, Ade Bakare equally explored other parts of the fashion business when he created the perfume, Breeze, in 1998 which was inspired by his childhood days spent along the breezy West African coastal city of Lagos in Nigeria.
In this chat with MUTIAT ALLI, Ade Bakare explains his love the art, his bridal collections amongst others. Excerpts: Did you ever envisage that you will be this popular when you started? I have always liked fashion and design.
From my secondary school days, I was always drawing clothes with different styles, then I studied it at design school in Manchester, England, before setting up my fashion business.
Along the way, I have been fortunate in getting publicity, right from my days in college, so popularity seemed a natural progression.
As a graduate of history, why the sudden love for art, fashion to be precise? Having studied history as my first degree at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, I always try to use African influences in my collections; from the use of Adire to my current Maasai collection, it’s an appreciation of what’s beautiful in Africa.
How did you come about your bridal range collections? I came about bridal design when I submitted my wedding design for a competition while we were in design school. It was a national competition for all fashion design schools in England. My designs were chosen and I came second, which was a huge lift as a college design student then.
The whole class gave me a standing ovation and it was shown on ITV. Having spent several years abroad, how are your Nigerian clientele seeing your outfits? Our designs studios are still in London and I commute between London and Lagos frequently.
We have a boutique in Lagos on Muri Okunola, Victoria Island.
Having opened now for close to 5 years, we have come to understand and appreciate the African and most especially our Nigerian clients who love attention to details and constant new designs.
You are a man of plenty ideas from bridal wears to shoes, perfumes and others, how do you relax? I find travelling relaxing; being on the plane between two fashion capitals London and Lagos.
I also love visiting other countries finding inspiration.
These days fashion designers prefers the skinny model; any reason for that? We usually use size 10 models, though the industry now favour size 8s. I feel it’s a matter of preference.
Our designs are made for the fuller woman; the model simply acts as a taller and slimmer version, but we design for all shapes and heights.
There is this impression that plus-sized models are often thrown off balance on the run-way; have you tried them either? I am not aware plus sized models get thrown off balance when walking on the runway, it’s simply a matter of training and being consistent.
Fashion business for you, how did it all start? We started in 1991 in London with a ready to wear line which sold to shops in the UK.
Then we later started the couture line starting with bridal dresses. Now, we have the day and evening wear lines plus a new line of Ankara dresses we launched at a recent show at the Wheatbaker Hotel in Ikoyi-Lagos.
It has been well received and lots of clients and friends have started ordering it for Christmas. They love our use of silk organza and lace with the Ankara, giving it our own signature look.
Credit: Gbera TV