10 top young Nigerian entrepreneurs in fashion

UCHE NNAJI Uche Nnaji aka Style Doctor who is married to Anthonia is the visionary founder and creative director of OUCH Fashion; one of Africa’s most respected premium style brands. He is also a notable public speaker and founder of the OUCH Style Academy. With some training at the prestigious F.I.T [Fashion Institute of Technology]


Uche Nnaji, CEO of Ouch Fashion

Uche Nnaji aka Style Doctor who is married to Anthonia is the visionary founder and creative director of OUCH Fashion; one of Africa’s most respected premium style brands. He is also a notable public speaker and founder of the OUCH Style Academy.

With some training at the prestigious F.I.T [Fashion Institute of Technology] in New York, Nnaji adds an unmistakable blend of practical luxury and world class methods to his pieces. Launching with a first store in Maryland, Lagos, Nnaji’s OUCH brand has expanded to five outlets across Lagos with branches in Lekki, Lagos and the Murtala Mohammed International Airport.

Uche has taken his work to some of the fashion capitals of the world; showcasing at the New York Fashion week 2011 and the African Fashion Week London in September 2012. He also presented his collection at the ECOWAS Fashion week in 2014 and styled President Muhammadu Buhari during his 2015 presidential campaign.

Dimeji Alara

Dimeji Alara, Fashion Editor and Director

Rumoured to be gay, Parisian-born Nigerian Dimeji Alara has an impressive resume in fashion and has worked locally and internationally with magazines such as Elle, Mania as Editor-in-Chief, GQ and Glamour. Before horning his skills at Mania he briefly styled for Genevieve, Elan and MADE magazines in Nigeria.

He has also worked with international designers in the likes of David Tlale and Craig Jacobs as fashion director.

Kunmi Otitoju
Kunmi Otitoju

Kunmi Otitoju, Founder of Minku

Kunmi who got married to her offshore lover in 2014, is the founder of Minku – a fast-growing high-end Afro-centric brand that produces luxury bags, wallets and other fashion accessories for men and women by subtly blending Aso-oke into contemporary Spanish leathers to present a transcontinental finish. All Minku’s products are hand-made at a workshop in Barcelona, Spain, but they are sold at high-end stores in Nigeria and on the company’s website.

Having moved to the U.S. when she was 17, and then to Europe at the age of 25, Otitoju found herself deeply enmeshed in western culture. Keen on preserving her Nigerian identity and eager to propagate facets of Nigerian culture, she conceived the idea of lining high-quality leather bags with Aso-oke fabric, a hand-loomed cloth woven by Nigeria’s Yoruba people.

She holds two Computer Science degrees – a Bachelor of Science degree with first-class honors from Howard University and a Master of Science degree from Virginia Tech.

Banke Kuku

Banke Kuku, Creative Director Banke Kuku Textile

Banke Kuku, the Chief Executive and Creative Director of Banke Kuku Textile which she founded in 2011. In 2012, Kuku produced a range of interior design accessories that was carried by Selfridges, the world famous UK-based store. According to her, her designs fuse traditional African and Western culture to create unique and luxurious fabrics for the interior and fashion industries. She recently won the Women in Making 2014 competition which is organised by Triumph International, a global lingerie brand with sales of over a billion dollars.

Banke has extensive experience in the textiles industry. She graduated from Central St Martins College and then Chelsea College of Art and Design, having studies textiles, subsequently authoring a book on the Nigerian textiles industry.


Ejiro Amos Tafiri, CEO Ejiro Amos Tafiri Designs

Yaba College of Technology graduate Ejiro Amos Tafiri is a fast growing brand on the Nigerian fashion scene. The designer honed her skills as part of the design team at Zizi Cardow and Tiffany Amber. Since she emerged on the scene in 2010, the label has made significant progress.

Ejiro Amos Tafiri’s brand captures the essence of Africa and has fast become a known brand amongst fashion insiders and customers looking for a glamorous but yet indie inspired piece. She has consistently within such a short period of time shown us that her brand is ahead of its time with exquisite pieces on the runway and in her lookbooks.


Toyin Lawani, CEO Tiannah’s Place Empire

Toyin Lawani runs Tiannah’s Place Empire as the Creative Director and CEO. This Fashion stylist cum designer is an experienced as taken her Tiannah Styling outfit to another level as she has styled a number of celebrities within Nigeria including Wizkid, Banky W, Niyola, Tiwa Savage, Don Jazzy, Dr Sid, Wande Coal, D’Prince, Davido, Terry G, Mercy Johnson, Eldee, Emma Nyra, Juliet Ibrahim, TY Bello, Toni Tones, Waje, Stephanie Okereke Linus, G-Lory, Sean Tizzle, May D, Funke Akindele, Lami Phillips, Dammy Krane, Pasuma, Oreka Goddis, Toke Makinwa, Layole Oyatogun, Tipsy, Morrel, Tonto Dikeh, Seyi Shay, Mo’chedda, Vector, Yinka Davies, Nse Ikpe Etim, Yvonne Nelson, Ini Edo and many others.

Internationally, Ms Lawani has designed outfits for Hollywood celebrities including Singer Kelly Roland from Destiny’s Child, Bria Myles, Jennifer Richardson, and Natalie Nunn. She has also worked on a vast number of top Magazine Editorials.


Eseoghene Odiete, Creative Director Hesey Designs

Ese is the Founder and Creative Director of Hesey Designs, a Fashion Accessory outfit that produces one of the finest handcrafted Afrocentric fashion accessories. Right after graduating from Covenant University in 2013, she started her business with a $60 savings and little experience. Today, the millennial has been able to raise $60,000 (60,000) dollars equity free funds to further grow her business.

In March 2015, in commemoration with the International Women’s Day, she spoke at the British council on helping young female entrepreneurs make it in 2015 and beyond. Ese’s Designs and works have won different accolades, some of which have made her dine with the British Billionaire Entrepreneur, Richard Branson, designing shoes for Branson for Virgin Atlantic 30th Anniversary. She slso got a scholarship to attend Branson Centre for entrepreneurship. Eseoghene was named by YNaija as one of Africa’s 25 best entrepreneurs under 25 in 2015 and 40 under 40 Nigerian Entrepreneurs by Biz Watching.

Ogochukwu Akabogu

Ogochukwu Akabogu, Creative Director of 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.


Oluwatobi Akintoye; Creative Director, 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 passion for fashion and drive to be successful, this helped facilitate her rise through the ranks to become 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. 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 recently debuted her collection SS15 which is already looking very promising for her.


Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi; Creative Director Reni Smiths

Bimbo Oye-Akinnifesi is the Creative Director of Reni Smiths. She spent her early years in Lagos with her grandmother who was a seamstress, thus giving her an early taste of the world of design and fashion. Her educational journey into fashion began 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.

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