Young Nigerian Designer to watch out for – Ayo Naledi
My name is Ayo Agunbiade. I am 23 years old and the first of three children. I graduated from covenant university in 2008 with a Bsc in banking and finance. I am a lover of God, fashion designing,good food and thriller novels.
•So why did you decide to go into fashion?
Well, I have always being gifted with the pencil. I started drawing when I was little. But I really started designing clothes when I was in the university. I designed outfits for my friends during class dinners and events. I would always sketch at the back of my notes in class and was hence nicknamed La Fashionista. I got my designing streak from my mother. She’s an awesome designer and milliner. Overtime, designers like Ituen Basi have further inspired me to nurture my talent and make something good out of it.
•You are the Ceo/ Owner of Naledi Clothing, What does Naledi mean?
Naledi means star. It has its origin from Africa. I first heard the name during one of the episodes of “Generations” years ago
Our mission at Naledi’s Clothing is to unveil the beauty of african fabrics through our contemporary apparels that are simple yet elegant. At Naledi’s Clothing, we pride ourselves in exploring the endless possibilities and versatility of African fabrics. We cater to fashion needs ranging from occasional, casual to party clothes and also offer the option of sewing to order.
• So its a full time job.
*laughs* For now, it is a full time job
• Are your clothes affordable?
Oh our clothes are very affordable. I don’t believe people should be slaves to fashion. Fashion should not have to break an arm. Naledi’s Clothing also caters to people who have responsibilities but want to look good as well. It’s all about balancing.
• Has social media helped you in telling your clients and customers out there about Naledi’s clothing and in what way has it helped you?
Social media has helped a lot. I was recently featured in Business World newspaper and the segment was titled “Using social media to promote your business”. Social media (facebook and twitter mainly) has provided potential opportunities for word-of-mouth buzz about Naledi’s Clothing. Another important thing about using social media is that it has permitted me to have one-to-one communication with my clientele
• What were the challenges when you started and for how long have you been into this business?
It’s only natural to encounter challenges when starting a business. I’m talking production challenges, getting good people to work with, carving your niche in a highly competitive industry…yes, there are challenges.
I’ve been designing for 3 years but Naledi’s Clothing kicked off officially in June 2011
• Are you training young people out there?
Oh no. I’m not training anyone yet! I’m actually also learning more on the job. One can never know enough. We learn new things everyday
• Do you have any project you are working on now?
Yes I have a project that I’m working on. It’s called Accessories by Naledi. From the name, you can guess it is going to be an accessories line. It will feature beautiful, hand made accessories using lovely prints and fabrics. It promises to be exciting!
• In this line of job, it is very competitive. Do you feel intimidated most times?
The fashion industry is now a highly competitive one. My mother is one strong determined woman. Her constant encouragement has helped a lot. I have come to realise that it’s not about the number of players in the game. It’s about how well you can play the game. I also believe that with God, all things are possible.
You are welcome