Remember the dreamy dress actress Dakore Akande wore to the 2015 Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards? Well that dress was part of a unique red carpet challenge where budding designers competed to have her wear their piece on the red carpet.
There is definitely a huge bank of untapped talent out there, and that was the inspiration for the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. The competition was born out of a need to promote the new/aspiring fashion designers and create a platform for them to showcase their craft/talent to the world.
62 candidates sent in their sketches for the red carpet challenge, and in the end 4 were chosen to present their pieces based on event suitability, originality, Dakore’s body type etc.
Follow their journey as they competed have their dress walk the red carpet.
The Selection Process
Judges for the selection process included Bola Balogun, CEO of Glam Networks and Glam Brand Agency; Godson Ukeagbu, Editor of Mania Magazine; Ify Azubike ; and Ezinne Chinkata, stylist & owner of fashion store Zinkata.
The Shortlisted Candidates & their Sketches
1. Omowunmi Owonifari – Mo’fari Couture
2. Irene Omiunu – Y.E.G.A
3. Folu Ajayi – House Of Dabira
4. Adebola Adebowale – Derb’s Signature
Flow Fabrics were the official sponsors of the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. They provided the finalists with a wide array of fabrics to choose from, that best suited their design aesthetics.
The 4 finalists went back to their various destination to start on their designs and prepare for the first round of eliminations.
First Set of Fittings with Sade Thomas Fahm
The first fitting was quite an important one. Sade Thomas Fahm, reputed to be one of Nigeria’s first fashion designers and also one of the first to open a fashion boutique, was there to speak to the girls about their designs and critique their work at the Flow Fabrics HQ.
Dakore also got to meet the contestants for the first time and tried on her tentative AMVCA dresses.
The 1st Y.E.GA Fitting
The 1st Derb’s Signature Fitting
The Mo’fari Couture Fitting
With House of Dabira’s fitting moved to the next day, Sade Thomas Fahm gave designers constructive feedback on how to amend their dresses, changes to implement and general fashion advice. They also got feedback from Dakore on the pros and cons of their dresses.
At the end of the day, it was farewell for Derb’s Signature’s dress with Mo’fari and Y.E.G.A moving on to the next stage.
Dakore got to meet with the House of Dabira designer Folu Ajayi the next day; and selected Y.E.G.A, Mo’fari & House of Dabira’s dresses for the 2nd day of fittings.
Second Set of Fittings
The 2nd set of fittings held at the Zinkata store. Dakore, among stakeholders and sponsors, met with the designers to try the dresses post-amendment and possibly decide on the winning dress.
The dresses has started to take shape with major improvements like Y.E.G.A adding embellishments to her dress, and Mo’fari removing the mono-strap cowl neck on her dress.
The 2nd Y.E.G.A Fitting
The 2nd Mo’fari Fitting
The 2nd House of Dabira Fitting
The 2nd set of fittings ended with Dakore selecting 2 dresses – the red Y.E.G.A dress and the purple and yellow dress from House of Dabira.
The Third & Final Set of Fittings
It was the final day of fittings and unfortunately Folu Ajayi of House of Dabira was unable to make the final fitting due to amendments she was making to the bottom part of her dress.
Y.E.G.A had also made a major change to her dress taking off the sleeves and embellishments.
The 3rd Y.E.G.A Fitting
For the finale, Maison Fahrenheit provided a great suite for preparations etc. We were super anxious as there was yet to be a clear winner of the competition.
It was either Y.E.GA or House of Dabira. Y.E.G.A’s red dress was transformed beautifully and the purple & yellow dress by House of Dabira was dreamy; but a lot had to be amended with the embellishment and yellow roses on the bottom half. It was stiff a competition!
And the winner is…
After a final fitting by Dakore, the winning dress was announced…21 year old Folu Ajayi of House of Dabira won the competition!
The final look!
The Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge was a successful competition! Congratulations Folu…this is just the beginning!
Here’s what the 21 year old graduate of Law from Ibadan had to say;
“After doing my research on Dakore Akande’s previous red carpet looks, I decided I wanted something fun and original. I wanted her to feel like royalty, so I knew it had to be dreamy. To achieve this, volumes of tulle (35yards, to be exact) was used to get the floaty look. Yellow petals were cut from 5 yards of chiffon from Flow Fabrics for texture. Each petal was hand stitched with tiny pearls to the dress.”
Finally, Dakore in House of Dabira made the BN Best Dressed List!
A Note from Ezinne;
I would like to say a very big thank you to all the sponsors and supporters, and everyone who believed in and supported the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge. A very big thank you to all those that applied. All the sketches were beautiful and you all did a fantastic job. Keep your passions burning and the dream alive. Together we can build & support a great fashion industry.