Alumni Spotlight – Eki Ogunbor a Fashion Professional within the African Fashion Scene
A Condé Nast College alumni from Nigeria, fashion designer Eki Ogunbor tells us how the Vogue Fashion Certificate has aided in her work within the African fashion scene.
Eki is an Entrepreneur (CEO KISARA, Creative Director/Head Designer Eki’s Closet), Fashion Designer, Fashion Writer, Blogger, and Content Creator, with a BA in Accounting and Finance. The Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design catches up the Nigerian Fashion Professional a few years down the line since completing the Vogue Fashion Certificate 10-week course back in 2015. Here, she fills us in on her career journey in the fashion industry so far, and what she’s currently working on.
Let start from the beginning, what appealed to you about the Vogue Fashion Certificate Course?
Condé Nast is a well known prestigious brand around the world, and of course, being publishers of the global fashion bible, [Vogue] a magazine that I love, the courses piqued my interest once the college came to my attention. As a designer, I saw it as an opportunity to learn more about the industry in ways other than design and improve on creative direction and writing skills I had cultivated as a hobby.
What were your first impressions of the Condé Nast College?
I absolutely love the location of the college, the building, and the work environment that was created within the building as well. The faculty was also very warm and welcoming, especially Marcia, who really helped me on a day I had an asthma attack. I’ll always appreciate her for that.
Had you been to London before or was this your first time?
Yes, I’d been to London before my course at the college. I graduated from the University of Kent which isn’t far from London so I’d often visit the city during my time at uni in Canterbury.
What did you learn from this fashion short course and why was it useful?
A brief history of the Vogue magazine, its editors (past and present), covers, and details of the masthead. Knowing more about the [job] titles on the masthead was important to me because you hear all these words not really knowing what they mean, nor the roles they play in the bigger picture. I’ve also always been interested in media and magazines so finding my place was also of importance to me. I also learned a little about merchandising with the photoshoot coursework, styling and writing as well. Being a part of fashion week and having a mini internship were also great learning experiences for me. Getting to meet new people and make new friends was also a great part of my learning experience at the college.
What was the most enjoyable part of the course?
The lectures we got from various experts in the fashion industry was a once in a lifetime opportunity especially when Suzy Menkes came and so many other amazing guests.
What advice would you give to anyone considering the course/and or studying at CNC?
It’s a great opportunity and you won’t regret it. If it was possible I’d do a post-graduate course online right now!
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Can you tell us more about your job and journey since the course?
After the course, I went back to my designing job for a little while but then I got a job as the Lifestyle Editor at the biggest lifestyle platform in Africa, BellaNaija, which was a turning point for my career. I worked there for about 3 years and helped launch the www.bellanaijastyle.com website as the Editor which was a big deal for me. Through that, I was able to win an award in Uganda for Fashion Writer of the Year Africa in 2018.
I’ve always loved designing so I left BellaNaija to start KISARA (https://kisara.co/shop/ & https://www.instagram.com/shopkisara/) my own luxury handcrafted leather handbags business. I’ve also continued as a blogger for over 10 years now, mainly blogging via Instagram with @ekiogunbor , I also have a closet sale page (Eki’s Closet) where my followers can shop my previous looks and collaborations I have with upcoming African designers.
In addition to that, I’m currently working on a clothing line with an upcoming Nigerian brand that will be available on Eki’s Closet, a functional capsule collection that’s colourful, feminine, and for all sizes (which is very important to me as a curvy style blogger). I also plan on relaunching my blog soon here with JUST EKI.
I still have an interest in the Editorial side of fashion so I’m currently in talks with another online lifestyle magazine to become a part of their executive team soon. 2020 has been a busy year for me despite the pandemic!
In your opinion, what do you think is the future for the fashion industry and what impact will this have on your brand?
African brands are being noticed a lot more now with the Buy Black Movement. Hopefully, with the Black Lives Matter Movement, more experienced and qualified people of African descent will be given a seat at important tables in the industry and put in more places of authority. More fashion brands will continue to go digital with their fashion shows and find more creative ways to engage their consumers/audience despite the changes in overall spending habits when it comes to fashion retail and luxury Hanifa and Loewe are great examples of this.
Here in Nigeria, a few loungewear/casual wear brands are springing up as the lockdown exposed a niche that hasn’t been made available to us indigenously and I predict an increase in businesses like these. I’ve also just launched a line of casual clothes with Eki’s Closet, mainly for curvy/plus size ladies such as myself.
More businesses will keep going digital as they’ve seen the importance of having an online platform to sustain their businesses and encourage consumption. As a result of this, some brands might also have to change their online marketing model, making their campaigns more relatable and reflective of the times we currently live in. Bloggers and influencers will also play a huge role in making some brands more relatable to their audience and there just might be a spike in that industry because most people have seen how easy it is to create content at home and become a blogger/influencer easily. A lot has changed and it’ll keep changing, we just need to remember to be flexible while staying grounded in our beliefs and individual uniqueness.
The Next Vogue Fashion Certificate starts on 5th October 2020, secure your place now.