It all began with a sketch…21 year old  Folu Ajayi of House of Dabira submitted the sketched design below as part of her application for the Zinkata  Red Carpet Design challenge. It was designed for Dakore Akande to wear to the African Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

The Zinkata Challenge

Folu's Sketch
Folu Ajayi’s  Sketch at the Submission Stage

Her sketch was shortlisted at the Selection Stage from 62 applications.

Ezinne Chinkata, Ify Azubike, Godson Ukaegbu and Bola Balogun
Ezinne Chinkata, Ify Azubike, Godson Ukaegbu and Bola Balogun

Folu Ajayi emerged as one of the top 4 finalists and was invited to Lagos to the Flow Fabrics Showrooms for Fabric Selection.

Folu selects her fabric at Flow Fabrics
Folu selects her fabric at Flow Fabrics
Folu selects her fabric at Flow Fabrics
Folu selects her fabric at Flow Fabrics
Illustrating her design on Ezinne Chinkata
Illustrating her design on Ezinne Chinkata

Folu Ajayi goes on  home to start on the dress and prepare for the first fitting..

Folu Ajayi leaving Flow Fabrics and heading home.
Folu Ajayi leaving Flow Fabrics and heading home.

The next scheduled meeting was a mentoring session with Mrs Fahm at Flow Fabrics as well as the first fitting with 3 0f the 4 finalists.

Mrs Sade Thomas Fahm
Mrs Sade Thomas Fahm
L-R: Ify Azubike, Mrs Sade Thmas Fahm and Ezinne Chinkata at Flow Fabrics
L-R: Ify Azubike, Mrs Sade Thmas Fahm and Ezinne Chinkata at Flow Fabrics
Dakore Akande, Mrs Sade Fahm and Ezinne Chinkata
Dakore Akande, Mrs Sade Fahm and Ezinne Chinkata
Bisoye, Creative Director of Flow Fabrics
Bisoye, Creative Director of Flow Fabrics

Unfortunately, Folu fell ill and missed the fitting and mentorship session with Mrs Sade Thomas Fahm at Flow Fabrics… She met with Dakore briefly the next day for her first fitting.

Dakore Akande fitting Folu Ajayi's dress for the first time .. At this point she was still toying with embellishing the top part
Dakore Akande fitting Folu Ajayi’s dress for the first time ..

At this point, the young designer  was still toying with embellishing the bodice of the dress.

Dakore and Folu meeting for the first time.
Dakore and Folu meeting for the first time.

Folu went on to finish up the dress and prep for the second fitting which held at Zinkata.

Dakore Akande's second fitting of House of Dabira's dress at Zinkata
Dakore Akande’s second fitting of House of Dabira’s dress at Zinkata

Unfortunately, Dakore Akande and the entire team were not quite convinced with the direction Folu Ajayi went with dress.

Folu Ajayi defending her design to Dakore in the presence of Mobo (Mobos Fashion) and Amaka (Zoya Jewelels)
Folu Ajayi defending her design to Dakore in the presence of Mobo (Mobos Fashion) and Amaka (Zoya Jewelels)

 

Banke Meshida Lawal (Make-up Artist) strategising and planning on her killer looks for the finale.
Banke Meshida Lawal (Make-up Artist) strategising and planning on Dakore’s looks for the AMVCA.

 

Deliberations.. Designer, Lola Asahfa of Something Peridot was a huge help
Deliberations.. Designer, Lola Asahfa of Something Peridot was a huge help

It was 2 days to the AMVCA’S and the bottom half of  dress had to be redone completely. As well as changing the lining of the bodice. .

At the end of the second fitting , Y.EG.A illustrations and House of Dabira, emerged as the 2 finalists and went on to implement the changes on their respective dresses.

The finale (AMVCA day)  dawned bright and beautiful.The beautiful hotel; Maison Fahrenheit very kindly sponsored the Zinkata Red Carpet Chalenge and provided us with a fabulous suite for prepping for the AMVCA’s.

Folu's Finishing touches at the  Maison Fahrenheit
Folu’s Finishing touches at the Maison Fahrenheit
Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
Bags (Mobos Fashion and Jewellrey (Zoyas Jewels) at the Maison Fahrenheit
Bags (Mobos Fashion and Jewellrey (Zoyas Jewels) at the Maison Fahrenheit
Shoes by Mobos Fashion
Shoes by Mobos Fashion

Dakore fitted the Y.EG.A illustrations dress one more time and decided to go with Folu Ajayi’s dress. Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)was announced as the winner of the competition.

Moving on swiftly to hair and Make-up by Banke Meshda Lawal (BMPRO)
Moving on swiftly to hair and Make-up by Banke Meshda Lawal (BMPRO)
Dakore Akande in House of Dabira with Banke Meshida Lawal (BmPro)
Dakore Akande in House of Dabira with Banke Meshida Lawal (BmPro)
Almost there!
Almost there!
Finishing Touches
Finishing Touches
..Dakore Akande in House of Dabira!! final assessment!
..Dakore Akande in House of Dabira!! final assessment!
Dakore Akande and the designer of her dress,  Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
Dakore Akande and the designer of her dress, Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira)
The Team: Banke Meshida Lawal, Dakore Akande, Ezinne Chinkata, Folu Ajayi and Amaka (Zoya Jewels)
The Team: Banke Meshida Lawal, Dakore Akande, Ezinne Chinkata, Folu Ajayi and Amaka (Zoya Jewels)
Dakore Akande, Ezinne Chinkata and our awesome hosts from Maison Fahrenheit
Dakore Akande, Ezinne Chinkata and our awesome hosts from Maison Fahrenheit
Striking a pose in the grounds of Maison Fahrenheit in House of Dabira
Striking a pose on the grounds of Maison Fahrenheit in House of Dabira
The Smile as she heads to the AMVCA'S!!!!
The Smile as she heads to the AMVCA’S!!!!

and the rest as they say…is a truckload of best dressed lists!!!!

Dakore Akande at the 2015 African Magic Viewers Choice Awards in House of Dabira
Dakore Akande at the 2015 African Magic Viewers Choice Awards in House of Dabira

 

More About Folu Ajayi:

Full name: Folu Ajayi
Age: 21
Email address: officialhouseofdabira@gmail.com
Name of Design Business: House of Dabira
Design Business Started When: 2011
Describe your design aesthetic: Overtly feminine and romantic crystal-encrusted designs, targeted at making women elegant and glamorous

In Folu’s words:

Inspiration behind the dress: “After doing my research on Dakore Akande’s previous red carpet looks, I decided I wanted something fun and original. I wanted her to feel like royalty, so I knew it had to be dreamy. To achieve this, volumes of tulle (35yards, to be exact) was used to get the floaty look. Yellow petals were cut from 5yards of chiffon from Flow Fabrics for texture. Each petal was hand stitched with tiny pearls to the dress.”

 

THE END..

For much more on the shortlisted candidates, keep clicking on Zinkata.com

 

Photo-Credit: Kola Oshalusi and Zinkata

First Fitting Location: Flow Fabrics

Fabrics Sponsor: Flow Fabrics

Finale Location: Maison Fahrenheit

Make-up and Hair: Banke Meshida Lawal/ BMPro

Jewellery: Zoya Jewels

Clutch and Shoes: Mobos Fashion Ltd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

6 Comments

  1. The dress was just simply fabulous…. She is only 21 and am so motivated, wow.. Good job Toju, I believe this is just the beginning for you.

    Ezinne, I am Nneamaka Nwosisi and I must commend all your good work. I follow your blog and am a big fan of your fabulous style and style tips.
    I am a bag designer and i will be willing to partner we you. Stock my bags at your boutique, provide my products for your styling jobs and design specific products you may want.
    All my products are handmade in my factory located in Abuja.
    My Instagram name is MAKNISY and my contact information is listed on our bio. Please check out my page and contact me if you would be interested in working with me. Am Hopeful

    • Thanks Nneamaka for the brilliant feedback!!!.. At the moment we are revising the Zinkata direction and re-strategising. Still, please send your lookbook to info@zinkata.com, and we would certainly get in touch once we start stocking new African brands. Many thanks.. Ezinne Chinkata

  2. ohh i really like how the process was broken down and documented for us…loved and love the dress and the colours are everything.x

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