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Fashion entrepreneur wins maiden Emerge ALÁRA Award


Faith Oluwajimi (right) receiving his award from Reni Folawiyo

The creative director of Bloke, Faith Oluwajimi, has emerged winner of the maiden edition of the Emerge ALÁRA Awards 2018 held recently in Lagos.

The young fashion designer beat five others, who emerged finalists in the Pan-African competition to clinch the coveted grant to produce a collection and an opportunity to be stocked at ALÁRA.

Aside the winner, who will also receive mentorship from industry leaders, runners-up Kayinsola Onalaja of Onalaja and Ekwurike Chukwuma of Wuman will also receive business mentorship and the opportunity to retail their designs at ALÁRA.

In July this year, the luxury fashion store announced the launch of its Emerge ALÁRA Awards — a series of talent hunt to reward young creatives in fashion, art, cuisine and design. For this year, it kicked off the fashion edition, which sought out the most promising young designer and fashion media creative to offer them the opportunity to present a retail collection and exhibition respectively at ALÁRA, as well as receive mentorship from a carefully selected team of advisors.

Hundreds of applications were received from Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, France, Switzerland and the USA in the fields of Fashion Apparel Design, Accessory Design, Photography and Filmmaking.

The selected participants were subjected to a series of tasks which was thoroughly vetted by the panel of judges consisting of Bola Adesola,  CEO Standard Chartered Bank; Duro Olowu, International Award Winning Designer;  Uzoma Dozie, CEO Diamond Bank; Folake Coker, Creative Director Tiffany Amber;  Helen Jennings, Co-founder Nataal; Ronke Bamisedun,  Founder, BWL PR Agency; and Reni Folawiyo, Founder, ALÁRA.

Though no finalists emerged at Fashion Media category, the six finalists were chosen based on the merit of their submissions, unique artistic direction, originality, and brand stories that resonate with the African narrative.

“The talents of the six finalists were so arresting, it was impossible not to recognise the runners up. We were impressed by the abstract resourcefulness that instills WUMAN’s designs, coupled with the designer’s use of African touches finished in clean lines. ONALAJA’s designs were also seductive; the designer’s exquisite intricacy and detailing really brought each piece to life,” said Folawiyo.

She further expressed optimism that the next edition will discover more talents, particularly in the fashion media category.

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