They say ‘Pick your talent into your work, and your genius into your life.’ Indeed that is the case of the international couturier, Ade Bakare, who has made his name in the fashion industry and also works towards a better and brighter niche not only for himself, but other Nigerians.
Bakare started nurturing his panache for style and fashion when he was nine. He began with drawing of cartoons laying emphasis on clothes and designs – a talent his mother encouraged by buying him fashion magazines.
After completing his secondary school education, Ade proceeded to the University of Lagos (Nigeria) to study History. The zeal to satisfy his passion for fashion made him relocate to England, experiencing his desired phase of life.
Bakare studied fashion at Salford University College in Manchester and graduated in 1990. In his quest for experience, he worked for two internationally known couture designers; Victor Edlestein and Christiana Stambolain (both in London) before coming up with his fashion school in 1991.
In 1993, he launched his bridal range after designing a bridal wear for a friend, Miss Dolapo Oki – who had accompanied him to receive a bridal wear award (one of several awards he received while at Salford).
Realizing the need to bring African and Nigerian inspiration into his collections, Bakare, in 2004, began returning to his roots with frequent visits to Nigeria. In Nigeria, he discovered an abundance of talents and thought about ways to provide a platform for young fashion talented Nigerians to show their abilities. The ‘Young Designs Creative Competition’ was born, a competition for contestants between the ages of 18 and 25.
The first edition was held at Civic Center, Lagos, in 2007, and ended with ten (10) finalists of whom one of the finalists emerged as the winner of the second edition held at Federal Palace Hotel in 2008. The winner of the second edition left Nigeria to Holland to study fashion.
Although Bakare had his collections sold in various stores across England, he was yet to open his showroom. Bakare ultimately opened his first showroom in Mayfair, London for private clients and a second in Lagos, Nigeria. His Nigerian clients are fashionable women like former First Lady Stella Obasanjo, Fashion icon Mrs. Opral Benson, Lagos State First Lady Bimbo Fashola, Erelu Dosunmu, and Mrs. Dangote, among others.
Apart from his exclusive bridal wears, shoes, head gears and other accessories, Bakare has designed jewelry collection for a Paris fashion house and presently produces bridal jewelry. His brand has also expanded into perfumes, candles and scented soaps.
Presently, Bakare is partnering with the Empowerment Support Initiative (ESI) – founded by Rivers State’s first lady, Mrs. Judith Amaechi – to train youths on modern fashion skills and gainful employment. The training kicked off on Monday, 12th July, 2010 at the ESI center in Rivers state.
~Story by Morenikeji Damola Aanu