2017 was an amazing fashion year for the Nigerian fashion industry, from the sprouting of young and creative designers, to the successes of the biggest fashion shows in Africa, we cannot say goodbye to an awesome year without recognizing young fashion creatives who made the year a remarkable one. With expert advice from top fashion editors in Nigeria, we present to you, in no particular order, BlackNBold Fashion House Top ten most outstanding young designers of 2017.
- Ogugua Okonkwo (Style temple)
Og, as she is fondly called, is the creative director and founder of the Style Temple brand who is gradually dominating the bespoke female fashion industry and now pioneering a new school of thought. Her brand which was launched in 2011 is now one of the most prestigious fashion brands in Abuja and has experienced immense growth in terms of business and clientele.
Some of the focuses of the brand includes Ready to wear, Bridals, Aso Ebi and Haute couture. Over the years the brand has been able to put together a long list of celebrity clients, including Stephanie Coker, Chimamanda Adiche, Toke Makinwa, Zainab Balogun and a host of others.
The year 2017 was an engaging and productive one for this young designer, from making a remarkable presentation at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2017 where she debuted their S/S 18 collection which received loud cheers from the audience. To getting nominated as the fashion designer of the year at the Ebonylife Tv sisterhood awards 2017, featuring on CNN Africa top 10 designers to lookout for and to having her pre-spring 2018 collection been featured on leading international women’s magazine; Maire Claire. One of her key moment this year was designing Stephanie Coker’s beautiful wedding dress.
- Sandrah Tubobereni (Tubo)
It is quite amazing to see the level of growth attained by Sandrah with the TUBO brand in the year 2017. She has been able to move up the ranks from our last year’s 3rd position to the 2nd position this year. Sandrah is a highly celebrated womenswear label, now famous for her creativity in redesigning the traditional African bridal attires, chic fashion clothing, and haute couture pieces with amazing silhouette. Tubo is headed by Sandrah Tubobereni a fashion creative who switched from being in the finance and business development sector. She came into the fashion scene in 2014. Sandrah’s vision for the brand is to make the TUBO brand a global one.
The brand represents a cold, sexy and empowered woman, who is a mixture of feminity, strength and vulnerability; she is classy and very comfortable in her skin. In the year 2017, Sandrah dressed celebrities like Toke Makinwa, Adesuwa Etomi, Tara Durotoye, Gbemi Olateru amongst other fashion and style influencers.
She made the beautiful outfit worn by Adesuwa on her bridal shower and the colourful aso oke ensemblance for Nanfe Jemimah on her traditional wedding. Sandrah made a remarkable impression at the Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2017 in Accra where she showcased the “Her Form” collection which happens to be the brands debut bridal collection.
- Adebayo Oke-Lawal (Orange culture)
Oke- Lawal is a contemporary and androgynous Nigerian designer who is the creative head and founder of the Orange culture brand, a menswear brand which has been described as a “movement”, more than a clothing line, for a creative class of men who are “self-aware, expressive, explorative, art-loving nomads”. The brand combines classic and contemporary western silhouettes with those of Nigeria.
Oke-Lawal uses his design as a political affront and makes room for designers who want to use their craft to speak out. Since the brand’s inception in 2011, a host of other menswear designers are also redefining what menswear means to them in their designs.
In 2017, Oke-Lawal was selected by Fashion Scout London as one of the beneficiaries of the “ones to watch” award for Autumn/Winter 2017 during the London Fashion Week. With support from the Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Selfridges in collaboration with Style House Files released a capsule collection by two of Africa’s most gifted exports, Davido, and Adebayo Oke-Lawal of Orange Culture, for their Music Matters at Selfridge’s campaign. Davido x Orange Culture premiered in Selfridges, London on the 12th of September 2017. The collection featured easy to wear, stylish t-shirts, tunics and bomber jackets in muted tones that work for one’s day-to-day style. We can say that this collaboration was a game changer for this creative fashion genius.
Orange culture has clothed style influencers like Ebuka, Denola grey, Bolanle Olukanni, Akin Faminu amongst others.
- Dumebi Iyamah (Andrea Iyamah)
Dumebi Iyamah is the brain behind the fast growing women’s wear brand, Andrea Iyamah. The fashion brand is strongly influenced by culture and ethnic values. Dumebi started her brand at the age of 17, she has always had the flare for fashion and arts and she decided to advance her tailoring skills and educate herself about fashion.
The brand is recognized for its unique swim wears made from African prints, its edgy and chic ready to wear brand and its beautiful bridal line. The brand has focused on selling ethnicity with a modern twist, while maintaining its attention to detail and cuts. Over the years Andrea has been able to build a strong clientele, within and outside Nigeria.
In 2017, Andrea Iyamah showcased at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week where she showed a bridal collection, the showcase was closed by the beautiful Agbani Darego. We saw her pieces on some notable celebrities such as Adesuwa, Asiyami Gold and Somkele Idahalama.
- Derin Fabikun (Fablane by Derin)
Derin Fabikun showed a remarkable and impressive growth in 2017 moving up the ladder from the 7th position from our 2016 list to occupying a new position at number 5. She is the creative director of Nigerian women’s wear brand Fablane by derin. Derin started her fashion line in 2009 at the age of 19 and within a short period of time she has been able to create a name for herself in the ever competing fashion industry in Nigeria and today one can categorically say that she is one of Nigeria’s finest designers and celebrity clothier.
Derin as a clothier is someone who takes it upon herself to ensure that women feel beautiful and comfortable, hence the launch of her fashion line, she started fashion as a hobby, designing for her friends and family but today her fashion brand is one of the big deals in Nigeria.
Over the period of years, she has clothed style influencers like Mimi Onalaja, Indima Okoji, Ozinna Anumudu and a host of others.
In 2017, we saw the young and talented designer venturing a lot more into bridals. Some of her celebrity muses are Beverly Naya and Indima Okojie.
- Emmanuel Okoro (Emmy Kasbit)
Emmanuel Okoro is the creative director of a contemporary unisex wear brand Emmy Kasbit. This young designer has showed a great level of consistency with his brand and we are pleased to see him climbing the ladders in his career. He was featured last year at number 8th on the BlackNBold Young Designers list of 2016.
Emmanuel started his brand in 2013, but didn’t begin to make public waves until 2014, when he showed the world his creative side with the debut of his collection “the definition”, since 2014 till now the brand has grown immensely boasting of a strong clientele and showcasing on one of the biggest fashion shows in Africa, his list of clientele includes Denola Grey, Munachi Abi, Omotola Jolade and a host of others.
He also emerged as one of the top 5 finalists for Lagos Fashion & Design Week fashion focus 2017 and had a great showcase at the fashion week. Flavour, Ebuka, Beverly Naya, Denola Grey, Zinkata, Lola Oj, Uti Nwachukwu, Jon Ogah and a few other celebrities were spotted in pieces by Emmy Kasbit.
- Ntukokwu Samuel (Samuel Noon)
Ntukokwu Samuel is a Nigerian based Women’s wear designer who has displayed a great level of consistency and stayed true to his brand aesthetics. He became a more prominent brand after his emergence through the 2016/2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion & Design Week Fashion Focus where he was selected as one of the fashion focus five.
His brand has thus been growing and crossing boundaries in the Nigerian fashion scene afterwards, from clothing top celebrities such as Waje, Bolanle Olukanni, Adesuwa Etomi and a couple of others. He had an amazing showcase at the Heineken Lagos Fashion And Design Week 2017 and the Gtbank fashion weekend 2017.
Samuel Noon is definitely a fashion brand to look out for in 2018!!
- Seun Morafa (M O R A F A)
Seun Morafa is another designer who has displayed a great level of consistency and uniqueness in the Nigerian fashion industry. He is the creative director of M O R A F A, a contemporary unisex wear brand and an English graduate of the University of Lagos. His first major discovery was at the Nigerian Student Fashion And Design Week 2015 where he emerged as the 2nd runner up most creative designer. His career received a major boost after he emerged as one of the top 5 finalists for Lagos Fashion & Design Week fashion focus 2017.
Seun had an electrifying showcase at Heiniken Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2017 where he debuted his SS18 collection. In 2017, we saw Ikechukwu rocking an outfit from Morafa on the cover of Guardian Life newspaper for the wedding party, while Tiwalola Olanubi, Chris Kwekowo and Evans Akanno were all on MORAFA for the cover of Vanguard Allure. Other celebrities such as Mr Eazi, Falz, Emmanuel Ikubese have been spotted wearing outfits by MORAFA.
- Omon Isinugben (Belois Couture)
Omon Isinugben is the creative director of Abuja based women’s wear brand Belois Couture, a life-style clothing brand that offers a wide range of unique beautifully urban afro-centric tailored pieces for women that reflect elegance, originality, youth, confidence, beauty and class, inspired by the timeless, and glamorous elegance of the 1920’s and 1950’s and it combines the youthfulness and versatility of the 70’s and the 80’s.
Omon is a two-time Lagos Fashion and Design Week alumni who first showed at the Pan-African fashion week as a British Council X LFDW Fashion Focus finalist. She was bestowed with the honor of opening the Spring/Summer 2016 Lagos Fashion and Design.
She debuted her collection “Isudu Esan” which enjoyed a lot of media buzz and attention. Yemi Alade, Maria Okanrende, Sharon Ojo, Linda Osifo, Jennifer Oseh were spotted this year in pieces made by this young designer.
- Damilola Osude (Imad Eduso)
Damilola Osude is the founder and creative director of Lagos based womenswear brand, Imad Eduso which was established in the year 2015. Damilola rose to the top within a short space of time. We have spotted a couple of celebrities such as Toke Makinwa, Zina Anumudu, Fade Ogunro, Elma Godwin, Bolanle Olukanni, Annie Idibia, Vimbai, Stephanie Coker, Sika Osei and Seyi Shay rocking some designs from the label. Her brand is focused on creating classic styles using contemporary trends and colors to create versatile pieces.
She also emerged as one of the top 5 finalists for Lagos Fashion & Design Week fashion focus 2017 and had a great showcase at the fashion week where she showcased her ss18 collection made out of well structured pieces with clean lines and sensual pastels. Damilola is one designer that is definitely on the rise and we look forward to what she has in store for us in 2018.
Post Credits- Tosin Ogundadegbe, Akin Faminu, Abiola Orimolade, Tewa Onasanya, Sharon Ojo, Oge Agu, Nimide Ogbeun, Ifeoma Odogwu, Rhoda Aguonigho