Our designer for today is Taiye Dedeola Awoniyi, she talked to us about what inspires her and how influenced she is by African cultures.
Q: Who do you design for? Off the top of your head, do you have a muse?
A: I design for myself in the sense that I design clothes that mean something to me. My designs are my way of communicating the ideas of fashion, culture, and art in my head to the world. I initially targeted millennial women but I also started designing menswear for this generational group as well. My muse is not a person but a people; those who aren't hinged on following trends but choose to wear what they want as long as it makes them happy.
Q: What is your go-to color to work with? Why?
A: Lol, I don't think I have one. It depends on my mood or what I want to achieve from the design.
Q: Describe your recent collection in three words?
A: Youthful, charismatic and bold
Q: What is your favorite piece from your latest collection?
A: The pink blazer dress with the flower patch on the elbows from the first Dede Studio collection.
Q: In your opinion, what sets your work apart from the rest?
A: I like trying things that you don't see everywhere. I mean where else have you seen a flower patch on the elbows of a jacket?
Q: What would you say your biggest fears are as a designer?
A: I don't really have any fears but the thought of settling for anything apart from being a fashion designer is a scary thought to me. I see it as trying to live the life of another person, not Taiye's life.
Q: If you could dress anyone in your designs, living or dead who would it be?
A: Adut Akech Bior, Tyra Banks, Solange to name a few.
Q: What are you most inspired by?
A: Art in the form of paintings or photography
Q: How influenced are you by Nigerian culture?
A: On a scale of 1 - 10, I would say 5. Not because I don't appreciate the cultures in Nigeria but because I appreciate all cultures of the world equally. Each brings something unique that I just get so inspired by.
Q: Are there any other cultures that influence your work?
A: I've always loved the Parisian element in fashion design but you will always find influences from other cultures in my work.
Q: What would you say your narrative is in the blossoming neo-African space?
A: From what I know, Neo-Africanism is telling stories about Africa but from the mouths of Africans, not foreigners. Perspective is everything and I think it was about time we told our story and defined who we are by ourselves as opposed to listening to other non-Africans tell us who we are or can achieve.
Q: What comes next for your brand?
A: I am working on designs for everyday clothing, so providing more casual outfits. That's the EveryDe by Dede range.
Q: Who or what would you say has been the biggest influence on your work so far?
A: It's difficult to say just one thing has been the biggest influence on my work but I like movies. From classics to comedies, I observe the styling of the characters and how what they wear embodies the role they play.
Q: What was your aha moment, the point at which you decided to be a designer?
A: Every time I watched clothes go down the runway or red carpet as a child I felt like that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. Just design clothes.
Q: What counts as fun for you?
A: Netflix and snacking but I love hanging out with my family and friends
Q: What is your perfect getaway from the work process?
A: Watching a movie or playing with a cat, if I had one, lol.