Adedotun Adeyeye: The Innovative Menswear Designer
By Yemisi Suleiman
Adedotun Adeyeye’s love for fashion began as a teenager, always wanted to be the best dressed wherever he went. Today, Adedotun runs his own business; he is the Founder and CEO of Fresh by Dotun, an ultramodern menswear brand, with a knack for fine craftsmanship. A graduate of Architecture from Olabisi Onabanjo University and a Master’s Degree from Unilag in Environmental Design and Architecture shares his success story, challenges, and dream to turn the industry around.
You read architecture, why did you choose to be a fashion designer? What informed it?
One of the many reasons that I choose to do fashion is my love for Fashion, which grew as I grew older. I loved drawing as a child and always wanted to be the best dressed whenever I step into a room. I have a Master’s Degree in Architecture. Fashion and Architecture have always been tightly welded. Colour, shapes, and styles always intrigued me and fashion designing is a way to satisfy my creative fancies and imagination. I also wanted work freedom. When my passion started to evolve into money, I knew I was on the right career path, getting paid for what I love to do. It is also a very challenging yet exciting career, which makes it a very fun job to do.
What has the experience been like over the years?
We have new designers emerging every day. The competition is getting stronger. To remain relevant you have to keep creating new designs. This breeds healthy competition and widens our creative thinking. I have consistently dropped lookbooks every year keeping my customers abreast of the new trends and innovations which makes them loyal to the brand. If you don’t do this they are most likely to switch to another brand. Feedback and good reviews have pushed me to do more.
Would you say the Nigerian fashion industry has evolved over the years? How would you describe it?
Yes, it has. Nigeria is home to Africa’s fastest-growing fashion industry which has really grown tremendously and doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The industry has great economic potential, people now see fashion designing as a lucrative career, we are now proud to wear made in Nigeria, our traditional attires are not just worn ceremonially, they are now worn formally and casually. We can now match up in terms of creativity internationally. We are gradually getting a global fashion spotlight. Lagos is being cited as one of the fashion capitals of the world, thanks to runway shows and exhibitions. I cannot wait to see how Nigerian fashion takes over the world in the near future.
What changes would you like to see in the industry?
The government needs to give grants to support designers. Designers on the other hand should improve the quality and branding of their products to meet the internationally accepted standard. The government needs to revive its textile industry, build production hubs where designers can mass produce their designs, give possibilities for our designs to be showcased on the international market, and encourage more global fashion shows.
The Challenges faced and how did you overcome them?
Initially, it was funds, and then I realized if you have good and unique designs you can sell your product anywhere with the right marketing strategy, thanks to social media. Getting the right tailors to bring your designs to life was also a difficult task. Quality control was another issue. As the brand grew bigger, however, we’ve been able to curb a lot of our challenges and we are growing stronger.
What would you describe as a turning point in your career?
I will say this was in the early stage of my career when I made my first millions from a single client who I didn’t know from Adams. He saw my works online, said lots of great things about them, reached out to me and the rest was history. This boosted my confidence and at that point, I knew I was on the right career path.
Give us an insight into your background.
I am from Ekiti state, the last child of a family of five. I spent my early years in the north (Zaria) before moving to Ado-Ekiti, then Lagos. I was raised by disciplinarian parents. Mother is a Nurse and Dad is an ex-military man turned legal practitioner. I attended FGC Idoani, Ondo state, and later furthered my education at Olabisi Onobanjo University and the University of Lagos respectively. Fashion has always been a way of life for me and that is what you see today.
Where do you see yourself on the world fashion map?
I see myself as one of the tops internationally known fashion brand owners. African culture and traditions are infinite; there is a lot that has not been explored. African culture has been given a modern approach, and our pieces can now be worn casually and formally giving them a global appeal. I want to have stores in different parts of the world so my designs can be accessed globally. I want to add value to humanity and create an enduring legacy.
Where do you draw your design inspiration from?
I get inspired by almost anything; people, shapes, colour, environment, just name it. All my collections have a story behind them.
What principles guide your work?
Integrity is my watch word and my brand is known for that. I always keep to date in terms of delivery. Also, what you see is what you get. I also don’t dwell on constant comparisons. Social media has made it easy to look at your competitors or complementary brands and make you wonder why you are not there yet. I just try to focus on creating value.
What you won’t wear in the name of fashion?
A big brand recently launched its collection of distressed sneakers. I’m a sucker for shoes but I don’t see myself ever wearing distressed shoes, at least for now. lol