Despite a number of notable challenges scaring the fashion industry in Nigeria, a few indigenous brands have been able to adopt sustainable models and strategies to business. Lady Biba, founded by Bisola Adeniyi makes the list. Officially launched in 2013, this direct-to-consumer brand has a globalization strategy that is playing out nicely. With pop-ups from London to America, loyal customers across boarders, it has received multiple awards, global acceptance and recognition. Over the years, the brand has increased its distribution points making it more accessible to its niche; Lady Bosses. “We have always celebrated the women we dress. They are doing phenomenal things in their fields and we are glad to be able to design clothes that mirror their passion and aspirations.” Bisola said.
Lady Biba was birthed from a fashion fanatic whose passion and curiosity lead her through several fashion experiments as a child to self development. “I grew up with an Aunt that was a designer, her workshop was in the penthouse of our home, I spent a lot of time there after school playing with Fabrics and reading magazines”, on the brand’s code Bisola had this to say; “I see fashion from an architectural point of view. With architecture, there’s always a function to every design. Function doesn’t not negate aesthetic and I apply this ethos to designing. The woman’s body is our canvas and my job as a designer is to highlight, accentuate and celebrate it”. With designs inspired by fashion of the 80s, a number of timeless pieces can be found in her collection.
On the challenging fashion landscape in Nigeria, Bisola expressed the biggest of them as human resources; she personally and continuously has to train staff in other to achieve desired results. Quality control is also an eminent challenge addressed daily as Lady Biba constantly has to update policies and try different processes in production. “The fashion industry in Nigeria is still using training wheels so I find that most brands have had to push themselves independently. That being said, organizations that have helped in the industry are The Bank of Industry’s Fashion fund, The GT Fashion weekend (the biggest pop up retail platforms for the fashion industry), and Style House Files Trains” she added. Looking at the opportunities for fashion retail, Bisola points out that having the likes of Neiman Marcus, Saks and Nordstrom in Nigeria, and having them stock Nigerian brands could be a profitable venture for all parties involved. Bisola highlighted manufacturing, distribution, content creation, fashion tech and business development as other areas in need of due attention and investment. One less thing she would love to see are master-classes because the real challenge lies in the information-to-execution stage where most fail; incubators are more ideal and desired.
Lady Biba looks forward to showcasing some works in the pipes and to making more progress in global reach. Bisola aspires to impact others through written books and a Ted Talk. Lady Biba being featured on international media such as BoF, Forbes and CNN would be a delight for Bisola.