For the seventh 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 retailers stocking these fabulous names, these are the 10 that matter.
Joseph Ike and Ola Akindeinde
Ike and Akindeinde run JZO, a traditional menswear brand from Kaduna state. The duo launched the brand only recently at the 2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week and in that space of time, has become the favourite of past and future style icons like D’Banj and Denola Grey. JZO as a brand diverges from the regular fashion cycle but aspires to provide high-quality fashion that is also affordable. Their manufacturing plant has become a hub for designers looking to produce for mass market audiences. They recently opened a retail store in Lagos and currently handle a huge chunk of all production by designers in Nigeria.
Jane Michael Ekanem is a strategist, celebrity fashion stylist, designer and fashion entrepreneur with a capacity for unravelling fashion-related problems. With over 10 years of fashion enterprising, her expertise spans styling and designing for music videos, magazine covers, campaigns, runways and weddings. She was also the Fashion Curator for the ‘A Celebration Of African Culture’ which hosted President Emmanuel Macron at The African Shrine and also co-created the art exhibition ‘Ulo’ for Sao x Muse (one of the most successful 2018 art exhibitions in Lagos).
She has a slew of celebrity clientele, collaborations and accolades attesting to her achievements in the fashion industry. As the Creative Director of the Jane Michael Collection Brand, she has in a span of 2 years successfully made the brand collaborate with prominent brands like Woodin, Vlisco and also partook in the 2018 GTBANK Fashion Presentation.
Jane Michael Ekanem who is also a Ted-X alumnus is part of a movement of fashionpreneurs with a goal to revolutionise homegrown quality of designs, creativity and ultimately, the business of fashion.
Olivia and Sylvia Enekwe
Sylvia and Olivia Enekwe (Gozel Green) got their creative genes from their parents. Having come up through the 2014 L.F.D.W. fashion incubator programme, the Fashion Focus series, Gozel Green was picked to study under ethical fashion brand Edun and scored a retail/mentorship program with luxury retailer Grey Velvet. The duo have created a complex narrative around the way they build their collections; drawing inspiration from their private lives and weaving a lure for their target audience through storytelling.
Nkechi ‘Ink’ Eze
Nkechi ‘Ink’ Eze has proved to be every bit as formidable and media savvy as her famous elder sister. Eze has nurtured the BellaNaija Weddings brand to its current prime position with over three million Instagram followers. She is the initiator of the bridal event, BBN Wonderland, a highly anticipated destination event and heads AsoEbiBella, a vibrant community connecting users from all over the world through the celebration of cultures, traditional styles, trends, inspiration and sheer creativity.
In the social media era, the internet of things has brought forward a new kind of fashion mogul, the influencer. Falana is the cool-girl iteration of this phenomenon. She is best known as an alternative soul singer, able to scat and shimmer with the best of them. But in an alternate existence, Falana is the go-to muse for Orange Culture’s Bayo Oke-Lawal who is banking on her taste-making dust to pivot back to womenswear design, many a designer. IAMISIGO and Lisa Folawiyo have also been smitten by the Falana charm. In 2018, she was featured in the VogueWorld 100 as one of five women who are “living works of art.”
Concept store, Alara is setting up to become the centre of gravity for local and global fashion luxury brands. Oroma Itegboje who works at Alara as a retail manager is helping make this happen. Her work has had her champion and stock a selection of Nigerian designers like Maki Oh, LDA at Alara’s influential retail space. She is also co-founder of THIS IS US, a design and manufacturing brand that creates functional fashion and homeware products using Nigerian materials and craftsmanship.
Zara Odu is the most influential industry figure you never heard of. Or maybe you have. Her work is pretty hard to miss. From running productions at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week to overseeing communications and managing all brands under the Jewel by Lisa label, Zara Odu has been for a spell now been a powerful force to reckon with. In 2017, she launched Designers Consociate, a startup aimed at creating sustainable solutions across the fashion industry’s supply chain through creative collaborations and innovation led partnerships.
The name Oluwatosin Ogundadegbe may not ring a bell but the moniker, The Style Infidel certainly does. Ogundadegbe is a creative director, stylist, fashion consultant and fashion writer. He has built one of the most enviable fashion styling portfolios in Nigeria, styling celebrities and creating editorials for fashion brands and magazines. He has been the head stylist/curator for GTB Fashion Weekend for three years in a row and has high profile names like Adesua Etomi-Wellington and Rita Dominic on his client list.
Cynthia Tule-Okochu is a textile designer and creative director of The Adire Lounge, an African hand-dyed textile company that creates unique designs on non-conventional fabrics like silk, chiffon, T-shirts, scarves, and cotton. The Lounge trains people from the affected villages in the art of modern Adire making, thereby preserving culture and traditions, and reducing unemployment. At the ACE awards this year, Tule-Okochu was named finest indigenous fabric maker of the year.
When British prime minister Theresa May came calling, she was rocking a Emmy Kasbit original custom jacket taken off the label’s 2018 spring summer collection. The founder of Emmy Kesbit, Emmanuel Okoro is a winner of the Fashion Focus Prize at Lagos Fashion and Design Week in 2017. Apart from Ms May, Chimamanda Adichie, Flavour and Adekunle Gold are some of the celebrities who have patronized Emmy Kasbit.