Lessons on How Nigerian Fashion Designers Grew and Sustained Their Brands to Become Household Names

  • A fashion designer Victoria James, aka Veekee James, often speaks about her humble beginning and how she wanted more for her brand
  • In her early years in the industry, she revealed that some celebrities did not want to associate with her brand proudly
  • It did not deter her and she continued to work on herself till she became one of the notable brands that celebs cannot ignore today

Getting to the top of one’s career is not an easy journey and it is a different ball game for fashion practitioners.

From not getting enough recognition when they were still in their growing stages, to being paid less because they do not stand on par with big celebrity stylists, some fashion designers have seen it all.

Veekee James and Yomi Casual look stunningVeekee James and Yomi Casual glow in their lovely outfits. Image credit: @veekee_james, @yomicasualSource: Instagram

TheTalk.NG takes a look at how some Nigerian fashion designers have been able to blaze the trail to become sought after by their clients, and the lessons others can learn.

1. Don’t despise the days of little beginnings

As a fashion designer who is in his or her early stages, one must continue to put in the work. A popular Nigerian celebrity stylist Victoria James, aka Veekee James, noted that she was not given the recognition due to her when she initially started but it did not discourage her.

Another point she noted was that she knew her worth and would not allow anyone to reduce her value. She has since gone ahead to make some incredible styles for top names in the entertainment industry including Funke Akindele and Osas Ighodaro.

2. Maximise opportunities and get inspired

Popular Nigerian fashion designer Omoniyi Yomi Makun, aka Yomi Casual, has been able to build a name for himself in the industry, not only through hardwork, but through the support of his older brother and comedian Ayo Makun, aka Ay.

Every support he got from Ay, he maximised it and bettered himself in his craft to serve the top clients that kept coming his way. Aside from drawing inspiration from himself, he also looks up to his older colleague Mudiaga Enajemo, aka Mudi Africa. With the impact the latter has made in the industry, Yomi is confident he can achieve such strides, and beyond.

Over the years, Yomi has styled popular American preacher Bishop T.D Jakes, famous Nigerian preacher Pastor Paul Adefarasin, and several top Nigerian entertainers.

3. Stay focused and level headed

Distractions are part of one’s journey to achieving set goals. However, one must be careful not to entertain them and also avoid the mentality of ‘I have arrived’.

Tolulope Bally, a fashion designer and the chief executive officer of 2207 by Tolu Bally, noted that she doesn’t see herself as one that have arrived, despite her achievements so far.

When she started her brand in 2016, she would reach out to people to patronise her but with her current strides in the industry, celebs now come to her to style them.

So far, the single mum of one has worked with prominent Nigerian celebrities including Omotola Jalade-Ekeinde, Ini Edo, Toyin Abraham, and Lilian Esoro, among others.

4. Be innovative

Fashion evolve and the only way to stay relevant is by embracing innovation. Several fashion designers have spoken about meeting customers’ needs which are diverse. Among the qualities that have stood fashion designer Lanre Da-Silva Ajayi out is her hardwork and innovations.

With almost 20 years in the industry, Lanre can conveniently match with the talents of the younger generation and it is because of this she can lift her head up, knowing that her contributions cannot be swept under the carpet.

It is pertinent to note that Lanre styled Afrobeats queen Tiwa Savage for her performance at the coronation ceremony of King Charles III in England in May 2023.

5. Embrace creativity

When it comes to showing love for art, popular celebrity stylist and the chief executive officer of Tiannah’s Empire Place, Toyin Lawani, has paid her dues.

She wears creativity like a badge of honour and many people often ascribe most masterpieces to her, even without checking the designer beforehand. Her daunting pieces have trended and caused a buzz online, and Toyin is not relenting.

The beautiful mother of three have worked with top celebrities including Tiwa Savage, Stephanie Linus, Funke Akindele, and Bose Alao, among others.

Source: TheTalk.NG


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