Folu Ajayi won the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge, for which she got to dress Dakore Egbuson-Akande for the 2015 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards, held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Lekki, Lagos. The dress was a hit as Dakore Egbuson-Akande made the best dressed list of sites such as bellanaija.com, stylevitae.com, memkoh.com among many others. She shares her beautiful story with us and some of her achievements.
Folu Ajayi is the third of four children, born to the family of Professor and Dr (Mrs.) Michael Ajayi. She attended Staff School and the International School Ibadan, University of Ibadan, for her primary and secondary education, respectively. She recently graduated from the Faculty of Law, University of Ibadan. She is the Creative Director of the House of Dabira, a fashion brand created December 2011.
In December 2011, Folu’s second year in Law, a friend approached her to make one of her sketches for her to wear to a dinner. Reluctantly, Folu agreed. The dress came out beautifully and people who saw the dress wanted to know who made it, and thus, what started out as a hobby quickly transformed into a business. Before then, Folu’s couture dreams were only fantasy. She was greatly influenced at an early age by the Archie Comics Series. She would imagine Veronica Lodge, a rich and overtly spoilt character in the cartoon series was a client of hers and constantly asked her (Folu) to revamp her wardrobe and make couture dresses for her to wear on her many adventures round the globe.
Here are some of Folu’s noteworthy adventures so far. In 2012, she debuted at the Nigerian Television Fashion Show, organized by Galaxy Television at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos; The Dreams Come True Show With Jazzyb, in March; the Miss Heritage Competition, organised by Queen Elizabeth II Hall, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, in August; Ife Runway Fashion Show, organized by BlacknBold Fashion House at the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife in September 2012. In 2013, an official launch for the brand was held in April at the University of Ibadan; after which she participated at the Nigerian Students Fashion And Design Week in June, at the University of Lagos, Yaba; she worked with Black-Girls Ignite-Africa, now Globally Igniting Africa on their Ignite Your Passion Campaign and Fundraiser held at Ember Creek Hotel, Ikoyi, Lagos, in October; she featured at The Heritage And Coco Mall Fashion Show, Dugbe in November; and Nova Fashion Show in December.
Among her other achievements are:
- Nominee, The Students Union Government Awards, Best Student-Owned Organisation, September 2013;
- Nominee, The Oyo 30under30 Awards, Fashion Category, in December 2013;
- Winner, The Junior Chambers International(JCI), Fifteen Outstanding Persons Awards, Most Outstanding Person In Entrepreneurship, March 2014;
- Winner, Oyo Students Entrepreneurship Awards, Entrepreneur Of The Year, September 2014;
- Winner, Realad UI Awards, Fashion Icon Of The Year, December 2014.
In 2013, she also established the House of Dabira Campaign against Domestic Violence towards Women and Children, a social movement creating awareness about this societal ill, connecting abused women and children to appropriate help centers and shelters and creating a link and access to lawyers as the case dictates. She plans to focus on this campaign better, now that she has graduated.
Life and its daily intrigues excite and inspire Folu. She doesn’t believe in chasing after trends, but in a cool and timelessly relevant way, she interprets trends that bests suit her personal style. Folu’s designs focus on a whole lot of drama, never a boring piece or moment. With intricate craftsmanship, she infuses embellishments, lush fabrics and a modern perspective to create cutting edge pieces.