Nigeria’s fashion industry has experienced unprecedented growth over the last few years, and with new designers regularly making their way onto the scene, it isn’t always easy to stand out among the crowd. However, this week’s Designer Spotlight features a unique brand whose pieces deserve acclaim for both their elegance and their affordability. Of course, it’s none other than 29byAdelé, the contemporary womenswear brand made for budget-conscious women. Despite being a relatively new label, 29byAdelé has already produced an impressive range of wearables, from suits and co-ords to ball gowns and even wedding dresses. Unlike most fashion brands, 29byAdelé produces both ready-to-wear and couture/custom-made pieces for their clientele. I recently caught up with the founder, Adeola, to find out more about her brand, her journey so far, and her long-term vision for the eponymous label.
Tell us a bit about yourself and your brand?
My name is Adeola Adele, a Nigerian fashion designer with a creative spirit, founder of “29byAdelé”, a contemporary fashion brand for budget & fashion-conscious women. I see fashion as a statement, not necessarily something you wear, neither casually nor outside the runway but an art of self expression. 29byAdelé was birthed during my undergraduate studies in 2016. I have always had an eye for fashion designing and curious about putting looks together, drafting patterns alongside draping beautiful pieces. I started taking tutorials on YouTube on how to sew, I did my research and at the time, it seemed like the industry was dominated by big brands making waves. I decided to take a different approach with 29byAdelé; I was going to start with “modest clothing”. I did further research and found there was a market for it and there were not a lot of designers in that niche at the time. I immediately came up with an identity for it named it “Adele Collection” (a subsidiary of 29byAdelé, a small independent brand established with a rebellious spirit to create an experience where fashion meets faith).
What inspired you to start 29byAdelé and how does your personal style tie into the clothes that you make?
Being a middle class kid from West Africa, I wasn’t fortunate enough to always get my choice of clothing. My style was a bit of androgynous, but also very feminine. My biggest challenge was finding clothes that fit my persona. It took me a while to realise that no matter what piece of clothing I purchased, I was never 100% content (I mostly wished I could alter it some way, maybe add buttons to the sleeve cuffs or trim to the edges for more detailing etc). For me, this was a huge problem and I knew there would be many others like me. I was so determined to fix the problem, or at least make it better. Another factor was affordability in buying clothes so providing affordable but stylish clothing options is very important to me. I have always wanted more out of fashion, more than a regular girl who could whip up a nice apron taught from the textile class in college on a whim. So I decided to consider a career in the industry because I was obsessed with crafts. I felt privileged that I always knew what I wanted to do; I’ve always looked forward to creating my ‘ready-to-wear’ line in the world of haute couture with clean cuts, shapes and explicit detail for women who are bold, confident, edgy, feminine & trend-driven.
How would you describe your journey so far?
Building 29byAdelé has been a dream, as well as one of the most exciting things for me. Entrepreneurship is difficult but ownership is power. I started out with a growth mindset and eagerness to learn. I like to learn new skills. It’s such an amazing mind blowing thing when I really understand it particularly when I can take inspiration from what I’ve learned & apply it to my brand.
Who or what inspires you most when it comes to your designs?
I tend to find inspiration for designs from anything, in different people & places; I find that passionate-driven people inspire me. Designing made me realise every little detail can make a difference and that is why I care about perfecting my drafts, my choice of fabrics to finishing & inventory control.
What would you say has been your biggest achievement so far and what are you looking forward to for your brand in the next few years?
One of my biggest achievements so far on this journey was being asked to showcase my Adelé Collection pieces at the Kaduna Art & Fashion Exhibition (KAFART) under the Fashion Community. My vision is to create a brand that effectively caters to the confident, urban, individualistic woman, a piece for every occasion. I look forward to tapping into a world of opportunities and ideas where I can strategize on building, designing, & launching the brand to withstand any challenges.
Visit @29byAdele_ on Instagram or email [email protected] for more information