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Allure Cover: Bunmi Olatunji – Evolving with times

Bunmi, took off in 2014 and slowly, began to grow: but Bunmi Olatunji’s breakthrough came in 2018 when she won the City People Fashion Brand Awards, for her work and mark in the industry.

A graduate of Business

Administration from the University of Lagos, Bunmi also has a Master’s degree in Information Technology from the Hatfield University, United Kingdom. She started her working career as an I.T. specialist working for T-Mobile, Digital Celltech, but later relocated to Nigeria to pursue her passion in Fashion Designing. She has since carved a niche for herself as one of the fastest growing brands, with top celebrities on her list of clientele.

From Business Administration And Information Technology to Fashion designing, why Fashion?
The truth is, I have always loved fashion., It is what gives me joy. I had always known that I will eventually go into fashion. This is Nigeria and education is one of the key attributes that people judge you with; so in essence, Business Administration and Info Technology are my Educational qualifications but fashion is my passion.

How has it been over the years?
It has been great and we are growing at a surprising pace. I have to be ready to evolve with fashion changes too. Nigerian women are very fashionable, so I have to always put my best foot forward. To me, it’s all about understanding what my clients need, and how best to satisfy them. It has not been easy but in the end, it’s all about creating utility and satisfaction.

For a brand that is still evolving, how did it feel winning the City People Fashion Brand of The Year Award?
I must confess, I was shocked to say the least. It was very humbling and appreciated. It is very amazing when you put in the work and then you see people talk about your brand, and appreciate your creative input.

What inspired your naming the label after you?
The Brand Name is Bùnmi. It is an eponymous brand named after myself. The reason I chose my name was so as to be able to use it to challenge myself everyday. Attaching my name to my work and passion helps to create a deep hunger in me to be better, to be creatively more fine-tuned, to make sure I create wears that will boost confidence in other amazing women out there.

Who is the Bunmi Woman?
The Bùnmi Woman is classy, pays attention to detail and she is very confident. The Bùnmi Woman does not compromise when it comes to her looks and understands quality.

What are you fascinated by at the moment and how does it feed into your work?
I am definitely fascinated by a lot happening in fashion both in Nigeria and around the World. I admire the way we can feel free to play with colours, and not have to do the matching trend. I did not think the day would come when we did not have to match a blue dress with same colour shoes but, here we are.

What is the biggest lesson that you have learnt as an entrepreneur?
One lesson I have definitely learnt as an Entrepreneur is, you have to remember you are running a business too, if you don’t remember, no one will tell you. Take your business seriously, be professional and remember that though it is a passion, it is also a Job.

What advice would you give to young designers?
I would say get ready for the challenges, be open to criticism, it helps us grow. Learn from others but be original.

What influences your designs?
I am actually influenced by nature and the need to make amazing and timeless pieces. I love the use of embellishments and I want my clients to be showstoppers. I also love mixing and matching different colours to creating everlasting memories in the minds of my loyal clients.

How does being a fashion designer influence your style?
My style is very simple. I try not to over accessorize so, there is always just one item drawing attention. I don’t actually have the time to spend designing a lot for myself, I get a bit too busy attending to my clients. They come first.

If you have to dress up one personality you admire, who would that be and why?
I have a lot of clients I work with, and I have been very lucky to style a lot of women I admire.

What are some of the challenges you face as a fashion designer?
Well, most designers will tell you challenges vary from dealing with tailors who may include foreigners where language barriers become a bit of a problem, to sourcing accessories, materials and fabrics, to overhead costs. Nigerian women are very fashionable and demanding. They are very up to date and as a designer, you have to be on the same page with them and then a bit further.

If you have to advice the government on ways to move the fashion industry forward, what would you say?
The government should have policies that will help boast the industry; loans and vocational training institutes will go a long way in helping the industry as well.

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