Bisola Adeniyi – the Nigerian-born fashion designer who studied Economics, runs one of the most popular ready-to-wear fashion brands in Nigeria and is certain that fashion designing chose her.
Since she launched her label Lady Biba in 2013, she has continued to design outfits for Lady Bosses with out of the box styles that seem way ahead of our time. With simple, flattering silhouettes paired with vibrant prints and unique details, it’s no wonder Lady Biba has garnered an It-girl following since its inception.
Recently adding Fashion Designer of the Year from The Future Awards Africa and ELOY awards this year to her many accolades, we caught up the designer of the moment and she opened up about her brand, designing, and her own personal style.
How Did it All Start?
The plan was to go for my masters, get a job and do fashion on the side but things sort of took off and I had no time to do anything else. At first, it was just me and a tailor. I did everything from fulfilling orders to customer service to the procurement of materials to tech support for the website. And then, we added a tailor and then another and before I knew it, we were our own little village creating beautiful clothes for beautiful people.
Favourite Part of Designing?
My favourite part has to be seeing something I sketched on a random person that has no idea who I am or when people are able to spot my design on people without even asking.
Any Bumps on the Road?
The very first event I did; a garden party, no one showed up. It was just me, the other vendors staring at each other. I cried so hard and to make matters worse; my generator got stolen during that period. I thought my business was over for sure but somehow things started to fall into place little by little. One major lesson I learnt from that episode was to start small and take calculated risks.
Who is the Ideal Lady Biba woman?
The ideal Lady Biba woman is every woman striving to be the best version of herself daily! That woman will always and definitely be a force to be reckoned with.
What Inspires Lady Biba Collections?
Our designs are majorly inspired by architecture and geometry. I believe in design by function so I can borrow elements from nature or furniture in my design process with the aim of it being both aesthetically pleasing and flattering to the wearer. I think of the Lady Boss and how she would feel wearing it or where she would wear it to; whether it’s to a meeting or on a date.
I honestly can’t choose a particular collection because I design piece by piece. I only make collections because it’s easier to communicate to customers and media that way. I think my favourite piece would be the Charmaine top. It’s a classic. That piece has won us a lot of hearts!
Designing based on Trends?
I don’t consider trends first but it definitely plays an important role in design. People follow trends without realising they even do so it’s no use even trying to convince someone who says they don’t follow trends that they do.
Thoughts on Plus-Size Inclusivity in Fashion?
Inclusivity is important to me as opposed to segregation. I have definitely thought of adding more sizes to our current offering. It has design and cost implications so it’s something we are going to do strategically. So yes! In the very near future, we will.
Advice to New Designers?
Be self-aware. Know your unique selling point and find out how you can integrate it with the current market gap or find out how you can do what already has been done in a better way. Be original! I believe everyone has a special sauce because no two people are exactly alike. Also, know your numbers!! So important. Keep your records. Know what’s coming in and going out of your business (income and expenses).
Personal Style in Three Words:
My personal style is Minimal, Chic and Elegant. I love clean lines, neutral tones, and tailored styles.
Favourite Designers of All Time:
Alber Elbaz (formerly of Lanvin), Zac Posen, Charles James and Christopher Bailey (Burberry).
Activities to De-Stress:
Hot bath, Comfort meal and a good movie or binge on tv shows.
Binging on tv shows. Chocolates. Instagram.