Meet The Designer Behind Nigerian Clothing Brand ‘DEDE’
By: Ose Ogbebor
The brand behind the alluring pieces taking over Instagram right now is DEDE, a bespoke and ready-to-wear clothing brand founded by Taiye Dedeola Awoniyi. The vibrant colors and flattering silhouettes of DEDE’s Colours collection have everyone raving and we chatted with designer Taiye Awoniyi to learn more about her recent collection, the African fashion industry, the future of her brand, and more.
How did you create Dede?
Dede began before I was fully conscious of it. From as early as I can remember, I would scribble cartoons and dresses on school books -whether they were mine or not. Becoming a fashion designer is what I’ve always wanted to be. When I was 16, I wanted to name my brand Belle. My mum told me that my late grandmother had given me the name ‘Dedeola,’ which roughly translates to ‘wealth is abundance.’ In May of 2019, I enrolled in a training course at a fashion academy in Abuja, Nigeria. I finished the course later that year and DEDE was launched on the 4th of November in 2019.
Your recent collection, Colours, is full of bright, classic pieces. Can you tell us more about this collection?
The Colours collection began with eight pastel-colored summertime looks. It was inspired by the scenery of lavender beaches with its array of pink and purple hues at sunset. I made some designs from the original set and finally settled on seven looks that were perfect for the vision.
On your Instagram, you’ve discussed the importance of creating a safer world. What does that mean for you and Dede?
I believe that every individual and business should, to the best of their ability, evaluate the impact of their activities on their social and physical environment. Being silent or ignoring environmental and/or social issues is just as dangerous as openly belittling them. What I am personally advocating for is for individuals and companies to acknowledge, seek to understand, and consider ways in which we can reduce the environmental and societal issues we are currently facing. This is what I mean by creating a world that we can be safe in and proud of. As opposed to just posting about issues on our company platforms, the DEDE team and I come together to talk about it and see what role we can play in genuinely helping. As a brand, we are steadily building a community (called DEDEandFriends) of people with different talents, skills, and valuable information that can be shared with the world to inspire others to be confident, to be themselves, and see how we can tackle threats on our society and environment together.
Africa, as a continent, is getting a lot of attention right now when it comes to fashion. What are your thoughts on this?
I like the attention the fashion industry on the African continent is getting from the world but I would ask that we as Africans should be careful not to use foreign attention as the yardstick to measure how well are we doing. I appreciate the world’s attention to us. It is very encouraging. My hope now is that the government and other influential bodies on the African continent will revise their efforts towards the fashion industry in their countries and provide support in the form of funding, infrastructure, and training to develop and sustain the industry for years ahead.
What can fans of Dede look forward to in the future?
I am asking myself the same thing! I have some short and long-term goals written down but I don’t have it all figured out. There is still so much I am learning as a new business owner and I am loving every opportunity, challenge, and lesson that this job is bringing. I can say one thing though – we’re coming for all your money!