Ade Bakare is a big name in fashion industry. For the past 25 years, this slim-built designer has been making waves in London. Ade Bakare Couture was established in 1991. Thereafter, he started selling his collections twice a year (Spring/Summer and Autumn/Winter). His clients are boutiques situated in various parts of England, Scotland and the Channel Islands such as Chic of Hampstead, Adele Davis of Bond Street and Lucienne Phillips of Knightsbridge and Amersham.
He made great waves with his bridal collections and was selected by Bride magazine as one of London’s most influential designers. Owing to his enormous popularity, he has showcased his collections in Morocco, Capetown, Mozambique, London, New York and Paris where he was given an award.
Ade became involved in another aspect of the fashion Industry when he created a perfume, Breeze, in 1998. This scent was inspired by his childhood days spent along the breezy West African coast of Lagos, Nigeria. He followed up the perfume with the introduction of Bakare Breeze, a moderately-priced diffusion line which offers a collection of bridal dresses to cater for the design-conscious bride, award-winning signature jersey dresses teamed with ethnic textile adire as well as a series of kaftans, boubous and bubas and iros in silk and chiffon.
Ade Bakare’s designs have been described as Classic with a touch of modernity using fabrics such as wool, silk, lace and crèpes but he is currently celebrated for his gazar and organza sweep coats which are both ultra-feminine and luxurious.
He recently had a show in Lagos, after which he spoke to City People Publisher, SEYE KEHINDE about his successful career in fashion.
How was the latest show you held?
The show took place at The Wheatbaker Hotel, Ikoyi and it was well attended, many guests from around the country attended , it’s now an annual event and a way of saying thank you to all our patrons over the years for their kind patronage. It also gives us the opportunity to show our new collection for the coming year. Guests were fed with delicious canapés prepared by the catering staff of the hotel. Drinks were supplied by the Moet Drinks Group, the clients were then seated after to see the new designs by the upcoming Fashion talent, Anthony Soares and Lola designs as part of our programme to identify and promote talents in Nigeria.
What makes this show different from your previous shows in the last 10 years?
Though our annual couture shows follow the same format of new fashion talent showing, and a new music act performing before we present our new couture line, this year was different because we had an Ode to Remi Lagos (osholake) the late fashion designer, who passed away some years ago. I felt it necessary to honor her memory by designing capsule collection in black and white , her favorite color palette , I was fortunate to see her design and how she came up with her ideas. I designed 12 outfits mostly kaftans and boubous which were modeled by some friends of hers and well wishers , such as Kaine Amachree,Tundun Tejuosho , Blessing Egbe, Kemi Adewuni , Abby Ikomi , Mosun Ogunbanjo, Funmi Onojide, Debbie John , the actress, Bimbo Akintola, Bimbo Haffner among others, that part of the show drew much excitement and applause, I was thrilled as most clients said the collection was a true reflection of Remi Lagos designs
The Ade Bakare brand has come of age. At what stage is the brand now?
We have set up shop in Nigeria 10 years now , the next stage is for an independent building on a major road, which will stock the couture and ready-to-wear line. Our fashion design school should also commence in January, interested fashion enthusiasts can call or visit our website for information on registration and fees
Is it still a female-friendly brand?
Ade Bakare couture started out as a womenswear line, but alongside our bridal and perfume lines, we also introduced a menswear line 3 years ago at our Lagos boutique at Sandiland Arcade Muri Okunola on Victoria Island.
Are you fully back in Nigeria or you still shuttle between Naija and London?
I still live in London, England and maintains a design studio in Northwest London that caters to our English clients , and still shuttle between both capitals ,the fashion world is a small global village.
What role did growing up in the UK has to your fashion career?
Growing up in England made me appreciate different cultures across the world, England especially London is very cosmopolitan, you see a rich mix of ideas which makes the British fashion designers most sought all over the world, in design school in Manchester. As a design student you are allowed and encouraged to be very creative, I try to be influenced by this template in my collections
Tell us about Ade Bakare. Where were you born? Where did you grow up? Schools attended?
I was born in Bromsgrove, which is in the Midlands, but grew up in Birmingham. In Nigeria I attended Federal Government College Lagos and the University of Lagos. I am also from Lagos state, Isale Eko, I later went back to study fashion design in England.
How did your romance with fashion start? How did it evolve?
I was fortunate to have parents who influenced me, and a fashionable mum who encouraged me all the way, but they insisted that if I wanted to become a fashion designer, I had to study it
How did you breakthrough in a country such as Britain?
I have often been asked this question, and, indeed, it is difficult, but one of the most helpful things was that I had many English friends, in any part of the world you find yourself operating a business, it is extremely imperative that you make friends with the citizens. They will open doors for you and introduce you to people who will become effective for your business,
How do you see the new generation fashion designers? Any advice for them?
There is talent in Nigeria, which is evident with the numerous fashion designers, however on closer inspection, there is still a lack of professionalism and direction which can be corrected through training. Fashion cannot be treated as a hobby if you want to take great strides , it must be a accorded the same respect as other disciplines such as architecture, accountancy, engineering etc. All over the world where they have fashion schools, it’s accorded a degree status
Our new fashion design school in Ikoyi will address this imbalance. Students will be taught other subjects such as Fine Art, Art history, textiles, fabrication, French, alongside sewing, tailoring, pattern construction and design development, which are all integral to building a career in fashion.