10 July 2017

Entrepreneur Spotlight : Lanre Da Silva Ajayi Founder Eponymous Design Label

Whilst in the UK, in between my degrees in Business Administration and Masters in Finance, I have always had a strong passion for fashion. Before leaving home for higher education, I had the basic knowledge of sewing through my mother who had insisted on me knowing how to make the very simple items of clothing for example an apron.

My mum was a huge influence. To me, it’s the most modern way to be a woman. This was one of the many feminine characteristics she instilled in me. So, I did not actually study fashion but attended short fashion courses while I was living in the UK which further lead to my strong passion for vintage clothing.
I loved going to Portobello market in London and the London Vintage Fashion, Textile and Accessories Fair at Hammersmith, it was something I did frequently and I think that further developed my passion for fashion designing. I actually started designing pieces while I was still in University in the early 2000s but took it up professionally as a full-time job in 2005 when I moved back to Lagos to settle down and grow a family.
At that time the Fashion industry in Nigeria was beginning to kick off in terms of the media awareness and the interest of people especially younger ones like myself but everyone was still sort of conservative. People just usually went with the norm, you know they just wanted to blend in and be comfortable, fashion was not about standing out then.

But I came into it and introduced over the top designs and mixed colors that people were not used to seeing on a day-to-day basis. I think I came in with a certain level of confidence and introduced statements pieces, with striking colors and designs. I can remember making tops with exaggerated collars, bibs and sleeves which most people were not used to wearing at the time and I think the boldness of my designs gave me that edge.