Ayodeji Osinulu @ Dèjì Eniolá
Ayodeji Osinulu is Founder and Creative Director of Deji Eniola, a sartorial chic and suave gent brand.
What is your background?
I’ve always loved fashion and knew I would love a career in the industry, but when I was going to university there was a lack of fashion courses and it wasn’t as accepted as a subject. After graduation, there weren’t many jobs specifically in fashion so I went into journalism, working freelance for magazines and as a fashion writer. I learnt about the fashion business through the contacts I made and started my own business with funds from work as a fashion writer and reporting at fashion shows. It hasn’t been a smooth ride, but it’s been worth it.
Who is your typical client?
My clients are mostly upper middle class, based in Nigeria but also the US and UK. They are looking for outfits that can be worn for business and more formal occasions, but also easily translate to dressed down, causal events.
How would you describe your style/design work?
My designs are a reflection of my own approach to fashion and style, it’s about saying a lot with a little. I focus on bringing a new approach to sartorial fashion, creating chic, tailored garments that are also relaxed and comfortable to wear. It’s also about paying attention to detail with quality, stylish accessories.
What are your ambitions?
My ambition is for my brand Dèjì Eniolá to have a presence across the African continent and for it to be perceived as representing the African lifestyle, the African dream. I also want to see the development of high-level department stores in Nigeria and more retail platforms to support the development of fashion creatives and brands. Fashion has the potential to make a significant contribution to the Nigerian economy and the industry needs to take advantage of that.
What has been your biggest career achievement?
My biggest career achievement so far since starting my brand would be being able to showcase my collections at the LAGOS FASHION WEEK in 2015 and 2016. Although I have taken a step back since then to put in proper structure for the backend section of the business and also to set up the online store, nevertheless it was a sort of validation for me that my voice as a designer is not inferior or second to another.
What advice would you give to a designer just starting out in Lagos? My advice to any designer starting out in Lagos would be to build meaningful relationships. Talent on its own is just a percentage of the necessary skills or requirements to make a success of your fashion dream. Relationships with the right people go a long way.