Compiled by – Yemisi Suleiman, Teresa Aligbe and Linda Orajekwe
The Allure Women and Fashion Awards was instituted five years ago to identify innovators and appreciate them. The Award also acknowledge companies which have contributed to the fashion and lifestyle community with two new categories-The Special Recognition for Development Partners in the Industry and the Business Leader Award introduced this year.
The twenty plus women and two men featured below were very influential in the growth of the industry they operate. This publication is an appreciation of their excellent work in a country where mediocrity seems to hold sway.
Woman Of The Year – Chief (Mrs)Nike Akande
Onikepo Olufunmike Akande, OON, is an economist, accountant, and industrialist who currently serves as President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry. She is also honorary life Vice-President of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines, and Agriculture. Before now, the renowned economist was a director of both the National Insurance Corporation of Nigeria (NICON) and Nigeria Industrial Development Bank (NIDB) now Nigeria Bank of Industry.
Chief Dr. (Mrs.) Nike Akande is an accomplished management and business consultant as well as a successful industrialist, seasoned administrator and accountant by training. If anyone knows about the Nigerian economy, Mrs. Akande does. Indeed, she has played an active role in shaping it in various capacities – including the two times she served as federal minister. She was the first female honorable minister of industry in the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Mrs. Nike Akande, CON, is an Investment expert and a Harvard trained professional who sits on the board of many blue-chip companies in Nigeria. She is also the first female President of the Harvard Business School Association of Nigeria, a position she held between 2010 and 2012.
On assumption of office as head of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Nike Akande pledged to re-dedicate herself to the services of the chamber and to use her tenure to push for fiscal and monetary policies that are investment-friendly; a promise she is not relenting on. For one in her 70s, her appearance belies not only her age but also her achievements as she continues to inspire women all over the world.
Special Recognition for Development Partners in the Industry – Guaranty Trust Bank
In recent years, GTBank has attracted laudable accolades for its efforts in growing local communities through key interventions for SMEs in the fashion and food industry. The novel initiative of the bank has enabled it to create free platforms for budding entrepreneurs, across Africa, to grow their businesses.
The bank has, no doubt, contributed immensely to the growth of the fashion industry in Nigeria, first as major sponsors of the Lagos Fashion Week for several years and, very recently, the GTBank Fashion Weekend.
The GTBank Fashion Weekend is a free business platform created by this foremost African financial institution as part of its efforts to showcase the best of Africa’s fashion to a global audience whilst promoting the effervescent enterprise of the continent’s growing fashion industry.
The 2016 debut of the consumer-focused event received positive reviews nationally and internationally. Attracting over 30,000 guests over the 2-day period, the event featured a series of master classes, runway shows and a curated retail exhibition – creating the biggest, most thrilling exposé of African fashion to take place on the continent till date. The retail exhibition gave the over 90 small businesses that participated opportunity to exhibit, sell and connect with consumers and to discover new markets.
GTBank is the proud winner of the ‘2017 Best Bank for CSR in Africa’ for its notable achievements.
Entreprenuer of the year – Ibukun Awoshika
Founder/CEO of Chairperson Group and Chairman of First Bank Nigeria, Ibukun Awosika is a business magnate, author and motivational Speaker. One of the most influential names in the Country, Ibukun Awosika is an ordained Pastor and founder of the Christian Missionary Fund. In 2008 Mrs Awosika was nominated by the US Department of State For The International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award, which she won, making her the very first Nigerian Recipient. She sits on the board of a number of corporate and Non-Profit organisations including; Cadbury Nigeria Ltd and Nigerian Sovereign Investment Authority. She continues to push the boundaries of entrepreneurship, redefining what it means to be a female Entrepreneur and chairing initiatives like WIMBIZ designed to help build and empower the next generation of female Entrepreneurs. ALLURE WOMEN AND FASHION AWARDS 2018.
Humanitarian Endeavour – Laja Adedoyin
Most people are more familiar with the name ‘Hearts of Gold’ than the name of its founder, Mrs. Laja Adedoyin. Born on July 12, 1956, Mrs. Adedoyin is the kind and compassionate heart behind the unique Hearts of Gold Children Hospice that houses and provides palliative care for children with various forms of physical and mental disabilities.
After 25 fulfilling years of operating facilities that take care of people with various types of disabilities in the United Kingdom, she returned to home, in 2003, and established the first hospice in Nigeria – Hearts of Gold, a home for the care and management of children with mental and extreme physical disabilities which also offers home care services for children with disabilities living at home.
For more than 15 years, abandoned children suffering from various types of physical and mental disabilities, some born with severe congenital abnormalities, have found solace in the arms of Mrs. Adedoyin through
Hearts of Gold Children’s Hospice. The facility, according to Adedoyin, operates in the belief that every human being deserves to be loved because that is what God asks of us. She believes strongly that God made us in His own image, irrespective of whatever disability.
For one whose journey into the world of disability began back in 1990, it has remained the most rewarding and challenging journey of her life as it has afforded her opportunity of being loved and loving others in return.
Creative Arts – Ifeoma Fafunwa
Ifeoma Fafunwa is the Founder and Creative Director of iOpenEye Ltd., a Nigerian production company driving social change through performing arts. She produced the popular stage play ‘Hear Word! Naija Women Talk True’ – a collection of monologues based on true-life stories of Nigerian women, aimed at challenging social, cultural and political norms that limit the potentials and contributions of women.
Fafunwa’s professional experience includes creative collaborations in theatre, architecture, film and fine art in the US and Nigeria. In 2012, she directed one of Nigeria’s cultural submissions for the London Olympics and in 2014, her work was featured in the London International Festival of Theatre (LIFT) and showcased the Tate Modern.
Instagram Queen – Funke Akindele Bello
With over 4 million followers on Instagram, Funke Akindele Bello is really ruling the Gram kingdom. From her funny shows like Jenifa’s Diary to her lifestyle, Funke Akindele is giving fans what they love which is plenty laughter. Where some people spend years on Instagram working their way to a thousand followers, this Instagram queen has effortlessly garnered 4.1 Million faithful followers that are ready to sleep on her timeline just for more dose of her Jenifa persona.
For using Instagram positively, reaching a wider audience and easing the tension from the stressful fans, we crown Funke Akindele our Allure Instagram Queen, but aside the laughter, the numbers don’t lie.
Business leader Award – Omoyeni Akerele
Arguably the most influential figure in Nigerian Fashion, Omoyeni Akerele is the Creator of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week Series and the Founder of Style Files. At the forefront of efforts to push Nigerian brands to the global scene, Omoyeni Akerele is responsible for putting brands like; Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Lisa Folawiyo Studios, Kenneth Ize and many more front and centre at the most prestigious International shows and exhibitions in Paris, Milan and London. In 2017 Omoyeni Akerele set up a mass production factory to help solve the infrastructural challenge many Nigerian Fashion Houses Face with mass production. She orchestrated the biggest Collaboration of the year; backing the David O X Orange Culture collaboration that launched and retailed at Selfridges in London.
Model of the Year – Imade Ogbewi
Discovered in 2011, at the age of 17, by Isis Models Africa, her journey to stardom began that same year when she emerged winner of Nigeria’s Next Super Model competition. Since then, it has been a roller-coaster ride for the chocolate-skin beauty as she moved quickly in the industry, taking the catwalks for top designers in Nigeria, Africa and Europe.
Now based in New York, Imade is one of the top models of colour making waves in the industry, gracing the covers of magazines, strutting the runways for top brands, commercials and special features in magazines. The Edo State born super model added another glowing feather to her cap as she recently emerged as one of the seven girls, worldwide, to represent Gucci in Milan, making her the first West African to attain that height; she was one of the seven girls selected from 119 models that represented Gucci on the runway to feature at the Milan Fashion Week in Italy.
She walked the runway for Gucci’s Cruise 2018 show, a collection by Alessandro Michele which celebrates an iconic style of hip-hop fashion culture from the ‘80s plush jacket featuring puffy sleeves monogrammed in GG motif. There is no doubt that Imade is living a model’s dream as she continues to soar higher with more top shows lined up in future.
Designer of the Year: Men’s Wear – Olorunyomi Omoniyi Makun
Olorunyomi Omoniyi Makun is the founding CEO of popular label, Yomi Casual. He holds a degree in Fashion Design and Clothing Technology from Auchi Polytechnic in Edo State Nigeria. A younger brother of ace comedian, AY, and the last of seven children of the Makun family, Yomi Makun hails from Ifon in Ondo State Nigeria.
He started his fashion outfit, Yomi Casual, in 2007 and broke into A-list fashion designers in Nigeria when his bold and contemporary designs became the favourite of celebrities in Nigeria and Africa.
He has since set an enviable standard of attracting well known celebrities as models for his new collections. Desmond Elliot, Zack Orji, AY, Alibaba, Uti Nwachukwu, Alex Ekubo, DJ Jimmy Jatt, Ebube Nwagbo, IK Ogbonna and more are some of the many celebrities who have, at one time or the other, been celebrity models for Yomi Casual.
Yomi Casual® has featured in fashion exhibitions in Nigeria and in the UK, including Native Vogue International Fashion Week which was held in Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
Yomi Casual’s outfits were featured in the award-winning ‘30 Days in Atlanta’, a movie filmed in Atlanta, USA and Lagos Nigeria. Yomi Casual is also the Official Clothing Partner of AY Live comedy and music concerts, and Shift Celebrity Prayse, an annual thanksgiving event for all Nigerian celebrities.
Award for Positive Body Image – Latasha Ngwube
If there is anyone that should get awards for positive body image, it should be Ms. Latasha Ngwube, the lifestyle journalist and TV host, who over the years has done a fantastic job of promoting plus-size ladies with her #AboutThatCurvyLife (ATCL) initiative; a campaign which started out as a body positive advocacy movement on Instagram for plus-size people.
Through the ATCL initiative, Ms. Ngwube has brought about a brand new vibe to the fashion runway in Africa by featuring plus-size designers and their brands on the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week and the Ghana Fashion Week runways.
The showcase saw a diverse and body-positive class of models whose presence made fashion weeks feel more real than ever with the designers’ clothes constructed with the body of the wearer in mind.
For Latasha Ngwube, founder, About That Curvy Life (ATCL) Collective, presenting a properly thought-out collection while promoting designer and body positive image is of utmost importance and there is no doubt that Ngwube executed this objective seamlessly with the ATCL initiative.
Already garnering accolades from international platforms like CNN Africa and Essence this year, the ATCL Collective showcase was a hot topic and for good reason too.
Emerging Designer of the Year – Derin Fabikun
Derin Fabikun (a.k.a. Miss Fab) is the 21-year old founder of Fablane by Derin, a Nigeria based women’s wear clothing label that caters for today’s uptown, classy women. A graduate of Management from Covenant University, Derin started her clothing outfit in 2009 at the age of 19 and has, over the years, become one of the fastest growing brands in Nigeria.
For the young entrepreneur, designing began as a hobby. With passion for fashion, back in university, she used to make outfits for herself, adding to already made dresses she had. Then it graduated to making tunics for sisters, then friends and friends of friends and, today, she boasts of high profile personalities and celebrities on her clientele list.
The name Fablane by Derin was inspired by her last name Fabikun, first name Derin and her nickname ‘Miss Fabulous’ (because of her mode of dressing back in university and her ability to patch things together).
Fashion Blogger of the Year – Monica Awe Etuk
The fashion blogger with a degree in Communications and a Masters in Sociology, Monica Etuk of ‘Awed by Monica’, is a stylish mother of two who has taken her passion for looking good into blogging. With her eyes set on greater heights, Monica has collaborated with brands like Dior and featured in international magazines such as ‘Instyle’ and ‘People’s Style Watch’.
According to the Atlanta-based fashion blogger, “If we have more people feel great about themselves, the world would be a better place.” She intends to make the world a better place by giving people ideas on how to feel better one style at a time.
Make-up Artist of the Year – Oluchi Onuigbo
Model turned award-winning make-up artist, Oluchi Onuigbo is one make-up artist who has visibly grown in the Nigerian beauty industry, going from training with Zaron Cosmetics to becoming a sought-after celebrity make-up artist who has sculpted faces such as Rita Dominic, Seyi Shay, Kate Henshaw, Michelle Dede and many more to perfection.
She has gone from just being a pro-MUA to a beauty vlogger, advising her followers on the right make-up applications and beauty products.
Stylist – Simi Esiri
Simi Esiri is a Lawyer turned stylist and Editor-In-Chief. Simi started her Career at Ruby Views.com before transitioning into a Celebrity Stylist, styling music Icon Rihanna and Alexandra Burke amongst others. The wife of Artist Dr Sid, served as the Deputy Editor of Complete Fashion magazine before going on to launch her very own magazine in April of 2017 to rave reviews. Schick Magazine is targeted at smart, stylish and successful African women. Rita Dominic grace the covers of the very first edition and the launch was very well attended and received by the Fashion community.
Wedding Designer – Ugochukwu Monye
Ugochukwu Monye – Nigerian Menswear Designer Ugochukwu Monye is the Creative Director of Infamous Fashion label Ugo Monye. The Nigerian Fashion house shot into the limelight after one of their pieces was worn by Ebuka Obi-Uchendu to the nuptials of Banky Wellington and Adesua Etomi. The designer who safe for an education at a local fashion school is largely self-taught has a background in business administration but choose instead to pursue a career in fashion; first designing Womenswear before settling into Menswear. The designer has dressed a host of celebrities including International Star Jidenna, Joke Silva, Gbenro Ajibade and Alex Ekubo.
Fashion Icon – Lisa Folawiyo
Fashion Designer Lisa Folawiyo is what you would describe as a transgenerational Fashion Icon. The designer according to popular Opinion has the most enviable shoe collection in the Country. Known for her quirky, contemporary style, often infused with elements of African culture, Lisa Folawiyo is easily one of the most stylish non-millennials in the Country. Famous for her many extraordinary Instagram moments, Lisa Folawiyo is a Fashion Icon in her era.
Footwear Designer – Kene Rapu
Kene Rapu – Footwear designer and scion of Pastor Tony and Nkoyo Rapu, Kene Rapu is one of the most raved about footwear designers in the Country. Kene who launched her very first slippers line from her eponymous brand in 2011 in 6 years has gone on to establish her brand as the top locally produced footwear line. Kene rapu is known for using a blend of leather and the Ankara for her designs. Not one to be boxed, the brand features a number of interesting, contemporary yet minimalist design that appeals to a younger generation.
Designer of the year – Deola Sagoe
Deola Sagoe – Renowned Fashion Designer Deola Sagoe needs no introduction. A pioneer in the fashion Industry and one of the biggest names in Nigerian and African Fashion, her eponymous Fashion House Deola dominated 2017 with the custom Komole motif. Spotted on almost every influential bride, an elite traditional wedding just seemed incomplete last year without the Komole Motif in view. While the extravagant cost of this upperclass wedding staple drew in its fair share of controversy, It would be impossible to recant fashion from 2017 and not give a nod to Deola Sagoe for creating her very own fashion trend.
Beauty Blogger – Yemisi Sophie Aiyedun
Yemisi Sophie Aiyedun – is a Beauty and Lifestyle blogger known popularly by the moniker Sisi Yemmie. Her beauty and Lifestyle blog from which she gets the moniker Sisi Yemmie is one of the most popular and followed blogs in the Country. Known also for hosting a very engaging Lifestyleblog, Sisi Yemmie has not only established herself as a force in the blogging world but has also shown consistency, standing the test of time. The blogger and Vlogger, walked away with the 2017 Eloy Awards for most youtuber proving that she wins with content no matter the platform.
Accessories Designer Of The Year, International – Tina Ndidi Ugo
Tina Ndidi Ugo is the Founder and Creative Director of DiDi Creations. The brand, based and incorporated in the United Kingdom, is a one-stop fashion company that caters for the fashion-conscious through beautifully crafted and unique bags, foot wear, clothing and accessories. Hand-made from the finest African fabrics mix and match with contemporary leather, Didi’s products are companions for her clients as every piece serves its distinctive purpose whilst making a strong and neat statement.
With a first degree from the University of Ibadan, a Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management from London Business College and a Masters in Business Administration from Edge Hill University, United Kingdom, Ugo worked briefly in the corporate sector and left, in 2005, to become her own boss.
Didi Creations berthed in June 2012 and the brand has evolved, over the years, as one of the most desired luxury lifestyle brands in Africa. Tina Ugo says that her aim is to nurture and grow a lifestyle brand which every stylish fashionista, across the globe, would want to be associated with. The designer, who recently added a line of children accessories to her brand, is famous for her unique line of Afro-centric accessories backed with serious craftsmanship to reckon with.
Her luxury collection of bags and jewellery are distinct, bold statement-making pieces designed for the woman of class.
Make-up Brand of the Year – Black Opal
An international make-up brand made with the people of colour in mind, Black Opal, has proven time and time again that it is the make-up brand for our skin and weather; providing the perfect shades and water-based products that are perfect for a weather like ours. Despite the imitation that populates the Nigerian market, the brand has ensured that its dynamism continues to speak for it, creatively changing the game but retaining its originality and giving competitors a run for their money. Black Opal is that brand our colourful skin craves.
Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year – Wardrobe Merchant
Wardrobe Merchant is an online retail store, unlike any retail store, that aims to please both buyers and sellers. It is the middleman every fashion lover wishes to have. Wardrobe Merchant declutters your wardrobe, sells off your unused or “no longer using” fashion items to people on Instagram. With just one year in business, Wardrobe Merchant has brought smiles from good bargain to fashion lovers, more wardrobe space for other fashion retailers and, of course, more cash in their pockets.
This one-year-old entrepreneur is Allure’s Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year. We say “well done” to the founder for creatively bridging the gap between having too much and not having so much.