For its July Fashion Issue, Vanguard Allure profiles Wanger Ayu (Wanger Ayu), Derin Fabikun (Fablane by Derin),  Sandra Tubobereni (TUBO)and Adesola Adepoju (House of Jahdara) – some of the Nigerian female designers who are getting it right.

This issue celebrates the journey so far for the Nigerian fashion scene and its edge-cutting designers. Each of them, telling a story through their unique designs and innovative business choices.

For the cover feature, they all talk about the evolution of their careers, their brands and their life mottoes.

Read excerpts from the interview below:

How it started
Adesola Adepoju: I have always loved fashion, glamour and everything in between from a very young age. I was influenced by my mother who always dressed up, and my then Nanny had a sewing machine which gave me the liberty to play with the machine anytime I wanted to make new dresses for my dolls. I was just a girlie girl.

Wanger Ayu: I was always a creative child. My interest in fashion was formed as early as my childhood. Law, however, seemed like the practical and more realistic choice at the time. It wasn’t until I was in the thick of it that I became very sure that I would pursue a career in fashion once I obtained my law degree. As such, I flexed my fashion muscles through school, and straight after law school and being called to the bar, I moved full-time into fashion designing.

Sandrah Tubobereni: Originally, I planned to build a career in finance and do fashion on the side so that I could still be relevant and ultimately, make my contribution in the financial sector of the economy. I had this ‘big’ idea that the only way to change the economy of Nigeria, was to become Minister of Finance and implement the right policies. Growing up, I have realized that I do not have to be a CEO of a bank or finance minister to change Nigeria or change the world, but change will only come if I follow my passion and use my business as a medium of sharing my message. That way, I can change my environment and encourage the people I meet to transmit this change into their environment as well. In November 2014, I realized I wasn’t fulfilling this desire by pursuing a career in finance. Personally, fashion is beyond sketching and stitching pieces of fabrics together, it’s about touching the lives of women I come in contact with, chasing my passion and changing the world starting from my little workforce, clients, vendors, etc. Being an employee in the corporate world was restricting me from doing that. So that is why I am here today.

Derin Fabikun: I think I’ve always had a creative side. Some of my earliest memories are of me sitting in my mother’s bedroom, watching her get dressed for events. I would be wide-eyed watching her mix prints, colour and textures, styling elaborate gele with ease. I remember how I would always help her pick shoes and wrappers to match her outfit. Experiences like that, gave me a sort of early start in fashion, helping me build confidence in making fashion choices. Naturally, in university, I made myself resident fashion adviser, helping my friends pick out outfits,? by making the pieces they owned work.

The House of Jahdara Woman: The JAHDARA woman is a fearless, confident, sophisticated woman who appreciates risk-taking rather than stick to the norm. She embraces and recognizes the value of being different, and standing out without even trying. She can conveniently juggle career and family, and still take out time to look exceptionally good.

The Wanger Ayu Woman: The Wanger Ayu woman is strong, driven, and unapologetic about her goals and desires. She is sophisticated, yet, unafraid.

The TUBO Woman: The Tubo woman is bold, sexy and empowered. She is the perfect blend of fragility, femininity and strength. She carries herself with grace as she strides to achieve anything she dares to without fear of failure. She is unapologetically in a different class of her own.

The Fablane by Derin Woman: The Fablane woman is young, spirited and confident! She isn’t afraid to express herself through her dressing and doesn’t mind being the centre of attention.

Life Mottoes
Wanger Ayu: If you spend all of your time listening to the opinions of other people, you will never accomplish anything significant in life.

Sandrah Tubobereni: I am my own competition. I will consciously and continuously, strive to become a better version of myself daily; and live life on my own terms without any external pressures.

Best Advice
Adesola Adepoju: Focus and never look back.

Advice to Young Designers
Derin Fabikun: Do not be money-driven; it is your passion that will keep you going during difficult times. Secondly, be original. Lastly, do not give up, Keep at it!

Read the full feature on