Meet the 3 ethical brands driving forward sustainable fashion in Nigeria


More brands are transforming their business models and improving their supply chains to reduce their overall environmental impact and improve social conditions for their employees.

We are also seeing a growing awareness among consumers about the fashion they choose to invest in. Consumers are making more conscious decisions about clothing and the entire fashion industry is turning towards a more green way of life.

Sustainable fashion about producing clothes, shoes and accessories in environmentally and socio-economically sustainable manners, but also about more sustainable patterns of consumption and use, which inevitably catalyses change in individual attitudes and behaviour towards the way they consume.

The main responsibility of fashion companies is obviously to change their production, distribution and marketing practices and strategies towards greater sustainability. In Nigeria, more brands are turning towards more sustainable models and thinking more profoundly about their social and environmental footprint.

Here are 3 ethical brands that are leading the charge!

1. Kiki Kamanu

Kiki Kamanu, creative director behind the eponymous label, was born to diplomatic parents, a Bostonian mother and Igbo father and her love of fashion was birthed when she began reinvent her twin sister’s clothes at a young age.

Kamanu’s dynamic pierces are available for both men and women who want to wear formal clothing with a quirky twist.. Hailed as the Vivienne Westwood of Nigerian fashion, Kiki is known not only for her eccentric designs but also because of her commitment to sustainable practices.

She is known for being outspoken about Fair Trade and sustainable fashion. Kamanu resigned from corporate America and moved to Lagos from where she creates and locally-manufactures all her clothes. Kiki Kamanu also runs a training program teaching Nigerian youths the ins and outs of the fashion industry, from making clothes to retailing and finding investment for fashion businesses.

2. Wanger Ayu

Wanger Ayu is a womenswear fashion brand for the modern African woman. Founded by a lawyer named Wanger Ayu, the label’s pieces are produced by Nigerian artisans who are specially trained by the brand themselves. The Wanger Ayu aesthetic is instantly recognisable with the label maintaining a delicate balance between structure and femininity.

Wanger Ayu is known for her distinct creations and has amassed a legion of celebrity fans including Eku Edewor, Kate Henshaw, Keturah King, and more recently, was endorsed by award-winning author, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

3. Kinabuti

Founded in Nigeria in 2010 by Caterina Bortolussi and Francesca Rosset, Kinabuti was inspired by a long-term vision for the fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa at large.

Their signature afro-urban style bring cultures together as the fashion house combines the creativity of exquisite African textile with Italian designs. its ethical business efforts are focused on inclusive development empowering women and young people in its community that can result in positive and meaningful social change. Kinabuti showcases talents and celebrate diversity through partnerships in and outside Nigeria.

Kinabuti uses African fabrics to create Italian designs and by buying Kinabuti pieces, 10% of the sale price goes towards the Kinabuti Fashion Initiative (KFI), the brand’s empowerment programs trains women and youths from underprivileged communities in fashion related skills. The brand is committed to supporting the work of the rising generation of African fashion talent and uplifting the future generation of creatives.

Search is on for a new young face of South Africa

DREAM Leaders Foundation, a non-profit organisation, is bringing Face of SA High Schools 2019 auditions to Pietermaritzburg.

The auditions will be held at the Pietermaritzburg City Hall on March 2 at 9.30am.

This pageant caters for children who are still in high school and contestants must be between the ages of 13 and 18 years old. The joining fee is R250 per model.

Clive Hadebe, who is one of the organisers, said this pageant is aimed at empowering the youth of today and exposing the youth to an alternative skill set, apart from academics.

“The beauty industry is largely unregulated and putting pressure on children who don’t understand the intricacies of the pageantry.

“To make a lasting impact for tomorrow, the Face of SA High Schools Pageant seeks to create ambassadors and an image of a younger generation which values responsibility and leadership traits.

“This also helps to positively influence their peers, initiating a chain reaction towards a generation that is empowered.

“This will help aspiring models to gain the experience and confidence needed to excel in their field,” he said.

The winner of this competition will walk away with a cash prize of R10 000, a R10 000 bursary, a PR and branding contract, a weekend away and a photo shoot.

Hadebe said the models needs to contact Dream Leaders Foundation for entry forms before the closing date of March 1.

For more information send an e-mail to or call 060 467 1663 or 082 473 4923.

Source News24

5 Fast Rising African Designers To Watch In 2019


Since time immemorial, African culture has been synonymous with colour and style and it is this unique blend of raw originality that has driven global demand for African fashion.

A new age of ambitious and motivated designers are bent on further challenging the status quo and the following are a few of them that have caught our eye;

Emmanuel Okoro (Emmy Kasbit)

Emmanuel Okoro, the creative director of Emmy Kasbit a contemporary unisex fashion brand has continued to show great consistency with the quality of his designs over the years.

His breakout collection in 2014 The Definition showed the world a whole new creative side of the designer. He boasts of a remarkable clientele which includes big names like Omotola Jalade Ekehinde, Beverly Naya, Yemi Alade among others. In 2018 he had the honour of styling Theresa May when she was in Nigeria.

In 2018 he emerged the winner of the 5,000,000 Fashion Focus Fund to support his business.

Destiny Nwadire (DNA By Iconic Invanity)

Destiny Nwadire is a 20-year-old Nigerian designer under Iconic Invanity, a fashion brand founded by her mother Nancy Nwadire. Although her mother was a big source of inspiration, Nwadire had to transition and become her own person.

A successful feat as she debuted her first collection at the young age of 16 at the 2015 Lagos Fashion Week (LFW) alongside bigwigs in the Nigerian fashion industry like Mai Atafo, Lanre Da Silva, Orange Culture among others.

She wowed the crowd with her collection and in 2018 she again showcased her Spring/Summer ’18 collection at LFW and it was recognised by Elle magazine’s as one of the “10 brands to know from Lagos Fashion Week”.

Thebe Magugu

Thebe Magugu is a young fashion designer with a passion to create original couture and draws inspiration from the women who played important roles in his life.

His eponymous fashion label makes women’s apparel that complies with and enhances the everyday. He has contributed his views regarding modern fashion and South African youth culture to publications including The Times and Flux Trends.

His work has been featured in magazines worldwide like Vogue, Teen Vogue and Elle South Africa, and in 2018 he showcased his SS ’18 collection at Arise Fashion Week in Lagos, alongside reputable African designers like Oswald Boateng.

Hana Himmi (HimmiH)

Holland-born Moroccan designer Hana Himmi draws her inspiration from the culture of her country; mixing it all up with the wealth of designing experience she picked up from the Amsterdam Fashion Institute where she added formal education to her natural talent.

Hana has lived in Dubai, Istanbul, Hong Kong and Shanghai. She has also travelled the world, picking chunks of inspirations to eventually create the collections for her HimmiH label. Her aim is for her brand to stand for feminism and elegance.

Himmi has always been a passionate artist. She sees designing beautiful dresses as her main goal in life alongside helping women feel more beautiful through fashion.

Ifeanyi Nwune (I.N Official)

Ifeanyi Nwune is a Nigerian unisex designer who started his career in fashion professionally while he was in the university and since then he has gone on to achieve so much more acclaim for his unique style and impeccable designs.

Nwune and his team which comprises of popular celebrity stylist Joseph Usiagwu have a reputation for styling notable names like Keith Powers, Jeremy Meeks, Runtown, Dave East, M.I, Wale, and a host of others.

Most recently his brand I.N Official had an exclusive presentation to showcase their Fall/Winter ‘18 collection to high-end buyers and influential personalities. This isn’t peculiar to the designer as he targets the high-end market for the exhibition of his collections and he sells out almost every time.

Source Guardian Nigeria

Fashion: My passion is helping govt. train youths, reduce unemployment

Christy Anyanwu

Princess Kelechi Oghene is the visioner of GMYT Group, which runs a major fashion academy, foundation and holds the annual Africa Humanitarian Awards. The enterprise is like an acorn which started as a boutique for established fashion labels in upscale Victoria Garden City, Lagos, is now growing into an oak that is more like a social service enterprise committed to helping the government deal with the ticking time bomb of youth employment by giving women opportunity to train and acquire skills that would make them relevant to the fashion industry value chain, and in the process become contributors to the gross domestic product (GDP) of the country while also creating additional employment opportunities.

In this interview, the mother of two and Delta soap model talks about what prompted her to engage in what she is doing now, her upcoming event, style and lots more.

Could you tell us about your academy?

As we speak, we are working towards becoming the leading fashion academy in Africa. We are committed to the economic and social empowerment of women through fashion. We admit women into the academy and provide them professional training to become outstanding, ardent fashion entrepreneurs. We also admit women from different parts of the world. Some of our students are from South Africa, Ghana, Brazil, Cameroon and other countries. Annually, we graduate over 100 students. They are certified and are given more publicity and recognition. As part of total support to our students, the GMYT Fashion Academy Graduation and Fashion Show was created to give the more visibility and showcase their creativity.

So far, we have graduated over 500 women and have helped them start their own fashion business. All our alumni are doing very well in business and some already own fashion academies, thus expanding our mission to create the next generation of fashion entrepreneurs.

What inspired you to establish the foundation?

When I look around, I see that the society is filled with potential talents but they have limited a society of talents and potentials but with little or no opportunity. There’s a whole lot of work to be done; people need to be empowered with one basic skill or the other. Now, because my strength is fashion-based, I decided to train people for free and that was how the foundation initiative started. As at 2017, the rate of unemployed persons in Nigeria had increased by 18.87 per cent which was a clear indication that there are millions of youths that need to be gainfully and skillfully employed. My aim is to ensure that more youths, women and girls are equipped with skills especially in fashion value chain. The fashion industry in Nigeria and Africa is expanding rapidly as the population grows and this creates the need for more people who have skills in making clothes.

To what extent has the foundation achieved the goals it set at inception, to help the less privileged?

The foundation is committed to economic empowerment of women through fashion. It admits women into the academy and trains them on scholarship. So far, the foundation has trained over 200 women for free. Many of our foundation students are not just graduates of the academy but are doing well in their respective fields of fashion. Some even own their fashion brands now. Among the notable graduates of the foundation are The Iremide, Ruth Signature, Amaka Stitches, etc. This year alone, the academy has trained over 86 women and I am currently embarking on a campaign to train 500 women starting from 2019. It is going to be quite challenging. Hence, the good thing is that challenges drive me to do more.

What lessons has life taught you?

Life has taught me that you have to be hardworking. It’s the only way. I have seen people complaining about recession and unemployment. I know how many staff that I have employed and see how lazy they are, they don’t want to work. Sometimes they resign because they don’t want to work too much. If you work hard and pray God will definitely favour you. If you say you have a rich husband and you don’t want to work, or you have a rich uncle you don’t want to work, you limit your dream and your destiny. Life has taught me to be nice even though I get negative reactions from people I am helping but it hasn’t stopped me from helping people. Yes, I have these businesses but the main goal for me is to establish people. By the grace of God I will live long but when I leave I want people to say that this lady touched several lives through empowerment. Life has taught me not to depend on anybody but I know that you can get anything you want if you put in hard work, if you follow your dream, don’t let anybody stop you. If you do that with the favour of God, I know God will bless the work of your hands.

Is your husband also in the field of fashion and beauty, because you seem to spend your entire day in your business?

I have a loving husband and he gives me tremendous support. The truth of the matter is that no man wants to be married to a wife that is liability to him. Every man wants the wife to be engaged in one enterprise or the other. My husband is proud of me. I have been given several awards for the services I render to women and he attends these ceremonies with me. He is a politician and based in Delta State but he personally drove me to receive my awards. He was proud. I don’t think he is the type who wants a lazy wife or one that is just beautiful. It has to be a combination of beauty and brain. He is one of those who motivate me. He is not in any way intimidated by my success, rather he is excited by it and this has gone a long way to cement and strengthen our marital bond. My husband is humble. I marked the seventh year of our marriage this year. He is not the social type and neither does he like to boast and brag like some men. He encourages me and knows that I am working and he can see the result. I have never given him any reason to doubt me.

How was life growing up?

Growing up was fun. I learnt sewing from my mum, when I was growing up. That was where this passion began because she insisted that I should learn the rudiments of sewing. She had a supermarket, but she kept on taking different courses, like ICAN (Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria). She was a workaholic until she passed on in 2012. I’m so proud of her. I went to computer school, so when I started my business I did all my graphic designs. So later in life, I started the boutique, because it seemed easiest way to get into the fashion industry value chain. By God’s grace, I have succeeded. It’s been an awesome journey. I have an amazing team, from the tailoring section to the makeup section, the school. As at today, I’m handling over 57 women in this short time and there’s no problem.

Do you plan to hold any event before the year ends?

Actually we plan to hold an event this November. We noticed that every fashion designer needs the exposure that comes from participating in fashion shows and the related exhibitions. So we decided to organize our own fashion shows with a great deal of benefit attached to it. First, our students get to meet with potential guests at our events which paves the way for wholesome networking and helps build relationships.

Also, our students have the opportunity to officially launch their brands to the right audience at the event. The event is also aimed at celebrating our students especially those that have successfully completed their training. Those that stood out are given awards and celebrated. Our annual event will hold at Oriental Hotel this November. The government is trying to empower people with skills. But there is a lot still be done. My passion is to create more entrepreneurs, we are ready to assist the government in ensuring that more youths are equipped with skills in the fashion value chain. This way we are contributing to achievement of the 8th goal of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. We are eager to partner with potential sponsors, to ensure that we achieve the 8th SDG in a short time too. For years, through the academy, I have single-handedly sponsored the foundation without external support. If there was eternal support, we would do a whole lot more.

Could you give us a picture of your typical day?

I spend my day working. We work from Monday to Saturday. I give my staff work-free days.

What extracurricular activities do you engage in?

For now, I am not engaged in extracurricular activities, but I am working on developing interest in something I could engage in, away from my core activities. In the last few days we have been working at full speed and full time to package our upcoming event.

Source – The Sun