Allure Interview: Prince Idowu Akanni Oyefusi @50
Former President of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), Prince Idowu Akanni Oyefusi turned 50 on Thursday.
Yesterday, the designer with blue blood, of the royal house of Ikorodu, led family and friends to Oriental Hotel, Lekki, for a well- deserved celebration.
The MD/CEO of Nobelafrik and Director of School, Nobelafrik Training & Dressmaking Academy in this interview, talks about life at 50 and more.
How do you feel turning 50?
At 50, I feel blessed and fulfilled. It can only be God, I’m grateful for life and good health. He has blessed the works of my hands, my adorable wife and lovely children ( a son and two beautiful daughters). Counting my blessings, I have been able to impact people’s lives through my academy Nobelafrik Training & Dressmaking. The academy has empowered people far and near. All glory to God, some of them are living testimonies today.
What has life taught you?
Life is a teacher, you can never learn enough. Life has taught me that nothing is permanent. It’s like a switch, it could be turned either ways. We can only pray for the positive switch of life.
Taking a look at life as you journey on, what changes would you like to make?
What are your greatest regrets?
Life comes with its regrets, for me, trusting people has been my greatest regrets. It takes two to tango in life. When you do your part, expecting the other party to do his but fails, it can be very disturbing especially if both efforts are the determinant of the result. I remember trusting someone with a huge sum of money to do a job. He never did the job. People are full of betrayals, dishonesty, envy, etc. The bible says it all “put your trust in God”
Beside fashion, what other things would you like to do as you go on in life?
Aside tailoring, I love investments; landed properties, forex , bonds etc. In property business , you can never go wrong. I remember one of my father’s estates, it was built in the 70s with about N280,000. In the estate, you have about eight buildings. Today, you can imagine the worth of each unit. The estate is valued at over N300 million. This is what I call investment.
Why did you choose to celebrate this time?
I chose to celebrate my 50th birthday because it’s worth celebrating. Looking back at where I started from, where I am today, I have every reason to be grateful to God Almighty for taking me this far. I’m also grateful to everyone that has helped to bring me this far in life.
That was why during the celebration yesterday, we gave awards to some of NOBEL AFRIK TRAINING & DRESSMAKING Academy alumni who have done well for themselves in the fashion industry, members of my staff who contributed tremendously to the success of the school, and also to remember those who have passed on like my young friend Sola Owolabi ( for his contribution to the modelling and fashion industry). His death came as a rude shock because he was young, loving. He handled all my past events. May his soul rest in peace.
Since you veered into training, we haven’t had the opportunity of seeing your creativity. Will that change any time soon?
Yes, as a matter fact, we launched our Jeans line last year outside Nigeria. But, we would be producing more of that in Nigeria. Years back, we launched our casual line “IDENTITY BY NOBELAFRIK”. It’s a mixture of prints and jeans. We have been selling within and outside Nigeria.
From when you started till now, what fund memories do you have of your active days with Nobelafric?
Good, simple and quiet. We did all that was needed in the past, trying to gain presence in the industry. At a time, I was the president of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN). It was a lot of work for me, creating ideas to change the association. I did the best I could to help improve on what I met, creating opportunities for young designers by organizing a yearly fashion competition; FADAN TALENT HUNT, to help build more young designers and give them opportunities to be celebrated and be seen on a bigger platform. It was great doing that for the industry. I’m proud that I still impact young designers till date. That gives me joy.
When I saw my works years back on CNN during the first ever BIG BROTHER AFRICA competition, I clothed the Nigerian representative (BAYO) through Legendary Gold Limited (Lexy Mojo) back then. I remember Late Chief TOS Benson (SAN), invited me to his house somewhere in Ikoyi. He encouraged me to stay focused. There are many other memories that cannot be forgotten, my first international fashion show that held in Paris in 1999. I was very proud of myself even my family could not believe it. It was a great moment in my life. Another was Cape Town fashion show representing Nigeria alongside Deola Sageo and Zizi Cardow. London Fashion Designers show in 2012, Ethical Fashion Show Paris alongside Modella. My first experience in America, I exhibited at the Magic Show in Las Vegas, then another was when I was the official designer for Miss Commonwealth. The pageant was fantastic, the stage was imported with fountain all over, and it was my first time working alongside international artists; Sisquo and squad.
Who inspired you into fashion?
An American female designer that worked with my late father. He used to run a garment industry back in the 80s . He supplied Leventis and Kingsway, children’s wear, pyjamas, bedsheets etc until the influx of Chinese importation. I started my training in the company as a young designer before proceeding to the Yaba College of Technology where I studied fashion designing. I later attended a private fashion institute where I learnt finishing, I also studied marketing in Abubakar Tafewa Balewa University, and Business Administration at the Lagos State University.
If you had the chance to live all over again, would you still be a fashion designer?
Yes, why not? Fashion has given me all I have today.