A MOMENT WITH… FASHION DESIGNER LANRE DA SILVA
Famous in Nigeria and beyond, Lanre’s style is rich in femininity, using a multitude of embellishments – the perfect match for this season’s ‘Splendeur’ concept. We spoke with her in Lagos about her brand, her future dreams and this collaboration with us.
By way of introduction my full name is Lanre Da Silva Ajayi and I live in Lagos, Nigeria. I’ve been a Nigerian fashion designer for over nine years and I love every minute. My passion for the industry is my major driving force, which stirs me to work hard all the time.
FROM BANKER TO DESIGNER
Now, I admit this doesn’t sound like a typical route for a fashion designer, but for my first degree I studied Business Administration at Coventry University in the United Kingdom. I then proceeded with a Master in Finance from Leicester University. When I was in the UK I developed my love for vintage couture from places like Portobello market, London vintage fashion and textile and accessory fairs at Hammersmith Town Hall. When I returned to Nigeria, I initially applied to work in banks. During this period I kept designing clothes for myself and my family. I got lots of positive feedback and that really motivated me to start out on my own. I haven’t looked back since!
Throughout my career I’ve learnt to be persistent and apply myself wholeheartedly in achieving my desired objective, knowing full well nothing comes easy. Success, as we all know, is not something that happens overnight. It’s a learning curve that comes with patience, perseverance, hard work and endurance.
COLLABORATION WITH VLISCO
When Vlisco asked me to design a dress, I was flattered and very excited in equal measure. I’ve always loved Vlisco fabrics. I particularly love how they pay homage to African arts and that they are an authentic Dutch Wax brand, the original Wax Hollandais.
I specially designed two dresses for them, a campaign dress and a dress for the winner of the Vlisco Limited Edition promotion. The campaign dress is an elaborate long evening dress, whilst the other one is a mid-length dress, perfect for a festive occasion. I designed these dresses in Lagos, Nigeria and the campaign shoot took place in Antwerp (Belgium, Europe).
I love my job as a fashion designer and it gives me great pleasure that people also love what I do. The future can only get brighter as the zeal and passion for my work makes me push the envelope to achieve more all the time.