As the annual #YNaijaPowerList enters its 5th year, we bring you the most influential young Nigerians under 40, presently navigating the increasingly lucrative world of fashion and style, building empires and creating structures. When it comes to the business of looking good, these are the guys who get things done. From creative stylists to fashion designers, fabulous entrepreneurs to media moguls, these are our Power 10.
For celebrities and wannabes alike, you haven’t really arrived until Bolaji Animashaun has had a go at your style. Animashaun has worked as a stylist for various celebrities (D’Banj, Eku Edewor), publications (Mania, Ono Bello), television shows (53 Extra), events (Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Music Meets Runway), music videos and ad campaigns of various top companies (Konga, MNet). She is the curator of The Style HQ, a blogspot for women to explore elegance and fashion through a focus on wellness and sustainable living.
You know you are one of the most powerful persons alive when you can take a local bread seller, glam her up, present her to the world on the cover of ThisDay Style no less, and alter the course of her life, perhaps forever. TY Bello makes the cut for that singular heart-warming act. ThisDay Style may not be the force it once was but Bello’s photographs of the most buzzworthy figures are still as important, and no Sunday is quite complete without her work staring at us boldly, daring us to look away. We dare not.
Jane Michael Ekanem
TV gal Bolanle Olukanni was a bit of an awkward duckling style wise, until Jane Michael Ekanem got a hold on her while working on the MTN Project Fame reality tv series. Stylist found muse and both ladies brought out the best in each other through their work. Ekanem has also worked with self-styled, Mama Africa Yemi Alade amongst other heavies. Her new web show, Revamp Your Style which has her dishing out the goods launched in June this 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.
Style influencer, Noble Igwe,- he of the tight pants, mischievous wink and groomed beard,- has (not so) quietly become the most influential man in fashion. His StyleVitae blogspot remains a prime fashion and style hub and some months back, he showed movie stars, socialites, and wannabes alike just how to wed like true royalty. Igwe bags endorsement deals (Payporte, Remy Martin, Casper & Gambini) just for fun and makes it all look easy. Hint: It’s not.
Oke-Lawal’s Orange Culture was part of Nigeria’s delegation to the 2015 International Fashion Showcase and was invited to show at premier menswear trade show Pitti Uomo under the Ethical Fashion Initiative. The self-effacing Oke-Lawal continues to juggle multiple balls in the air with the spin off diffusion labels, Orange by Orange Culture, and a streetwear brand, O.C by Orange Culture. There is no stopping this young man.
Uju Nwobodo Marshall
Just when it started to look like beyond Agbani Darego and Oluchi Orlandi, the Nigerian fashion industry could not produce another home grown supermodel, Uju Nwobodo Marshall happened along. She may not yet command the clout that her famous fore bearers do but fashion insiders agree that Marshall is definitely on her way to Super status. Currently the country’s most in demand working model, her strut is as legendary as her striking physique and it is no wonder that we always buy whatever it is she is selling.
Dedun Olobayo is founder and CEO of Style Me Africa, an online company that specialises in the marketing, promotion and sales of African inspired fashion and beauty products online. The brand currently boasts over 75,000 social media subscribers who receive daily updates. Olobayo is also founder/managing partner of The Style Concierge, a full service fashion and lifestyle brand management company. This young woman has definitely got it.
Amaka Osakwe’s Maki Oh is white hot, even Beyonce knows to seek the brand out when looking to return to her African roots. And who can blame the Queen Bey? Maki Oh’s 2015 collection Arodan, debuted exclusively on Vogue (Yes! the Vogue), instantly making Osakwe the first designer based in Nigeria to achieve this feat. Maki Oh’s first studio in Lekki was commissioned last year and influential figures like Michelle Obama and Kerry Washington have been spotted wearing the label.
Ejiro Amos Tafiri
Ejiro Amos Tafiri is definitely living up to the promise showed when she worked as the head of the Tiffany Amber design team. With a showroom in highbrow Ikoyi, Lagos, the eponymous brand has demonstrated an understanding of the stylish needs of the woman of colour. Her religious imagery heavy Spring collection netted her the Most Outstanding Emerging Designer of the Year at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week. E.A.T was part of Nigeria’s delegation to the International Fashion Showcase (IFS) in February.