In 2017, YNaija committed a big part of its time and resources towards carefully documenting the big stories happening in the country and on the continent and highlighting the efforts of young Nigerians and Africans challenging the tired narratives around the continent through personal achievement and social good. Sometimes these stories are forgotten, buried under the avalanche of a year’s worth of news reporting and spot analyses.
Our reporting has been diverse and extensive, and we have chosen to start our reporting in 2018 by returning to these stories, to remind ourselves and our readers just how much ground was covered in 2017 and reaffirm the level of quality and care we commit to telling our stories in 2018.
We hope they resonate with you now, as well as they did when they were first published.
For the sixth consecutive year, YNaija brings you its annual ranking of the most powerful young persons under the age of 40 who are getting things done in the social media space. From designers breaking boundaries and taking local international to a fashion forward editor seeking diversity in images, these are the 10 that matter.
Richard Akuson has worked with Ade Bakare, blogged for BellaNaija.com, and written for Cosmopolitan and Marie Claire. He is founder at The PR Boy, a boutique media and press relations agency, but perhaps his most pivotal move yet has been starting the online magazine, A Nasty Boy. Akuson’s work as editor and publisher of A Nasty Boy has been quite radical, as his gender bending, diverse editorials seek for an otherness in fashion, people and culture that lies just shy of the mainstream.
You either know fashion or you don’t. Ezinne Chinkata knows the work. A foremost celebrity stylist, she has worked with several A-listers and has a knack for taming even the most offbeat of designers. She runs Zinkata, which is divided into three arms. Boutique Zinkata is a ready to wear store that stocks Nigerian designs such as Gozel Green and Meena, Zinkata.com is her fashion and e-retail website while Zinkata Consultancy offers fashion styling and consultancy services to her exclusive clientele.
Jane Michael Ekanem
Jane Michael Ekanem has worked with celebrities, Tiwa Savage and Yemi Alade amongst other heavies. She is the stylist of the long running MTN Project Fame West Africa and was the assistant head fashion stylist at the GTBank Fashion Week 2016. Ekanem also styles for the TV show Seriously Speaking, hosted by Adesuwa Onyenokwe. Her new web show, Revamp Your Style which has her dishing out the goods launched in June last year.
A former model, Bolajo Fawehimi launched her own agency, Few Models in 2015 and in a short space of time has managed to make her agency the place to be by snapping up the freshest and brightest faces working the scene today. Few models (Olamide Ogundele, Myever Akindele amongst others,) are in high demand and are collectively amassing a formidable portfolio that is set to ensure the agency becomes a major player in the very nearest future. Few Teen, a subsidiary, mentors up and coming models.
Designer, editor and creative director, Tokyo James was lured back to Nigeria from his erstwhile London base to oversee the digital direction of True Tales, publishers of Complete Fashion. He has also done some editorial work for MADE magazine and House of Tara. His eponymous brand, fashioned for the modern man who’s into simplicity with an edge is nominated to represent Nigeria at the World Fashion Expo at the Louvre Museum in Paris in November. James is the creative director for Access Bank’s online TV platform Accelerate TV.
Not content with being one of the country’s top fashion stylists, with a client roster that has housed Funke Akindele, Wizkid, Tiwa Savage and Banky W, Toyin Lawani has been aggressively building and marketing her Tiannah’s empire, one that has seen her take on different roles such as designer, manager, spokesperson, reality television star and provocateur, sometimes all at once. Her style and presence may be too loud for conservatives but her hustle and drive are nothing but real.
For the Nigerian woman, hair is identity. And Iroghama B. Obuoforibo is a leading voice in that conversation through Hairven. Established in 2010, Obuoforibo’s passion for hair has led to the creation of specific products for natural and textured hair, as well as extensions and other accessories. Obuoforibo won the first season of the MTN business reality show ‘The Next Titan’, and runs two Hairven bars in Lagos. Hairven Haircare has retailers in Port and most of West Africa.
The country’s biggest male professional makeup artiste is Olajide Okerayi. As creative director of his own brand, Jide of St. Ola, Okerayi has worked with everyone. By everyone, we mean everyone. From celebrities to business leaders, political titans to girl next door types, Okerayi is in relentless demand, present at every photo shoot of note and at every wedding that can afford his services. Jide of St. Ola recently joined forces with House of Tara to create The King, a new range of beauty dust.
When your designs are constantly worn and endorsed by leading ladies such as Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Kerry Washington, it really doesn’t get bigger than that. Founder and creative director of the near iconic, much copied design label, Maki Oh, Amaka Osakwe, remains one of the biggest names in fashion. The classic Maki Oh design blends Nigerian craftsmanship and source material with Western silhouettes, using the classic Nigerian art of adire (cloth dyeing).
Oniru has a background in investment and finance, having worked with Bank of America and General Electric but she bypassed a career in the corporate world for the demanding zone of fashion entrepreneurship. Oniru started Dressme Outlet in 2015 and has built it into a formidable outfit, with a customer base spanning Africa and the United States. Dressme Outlet’s offline exhibition event, Cocktail and dresses, a showcase of made-in-Africa products has become a mini fashion industry event.