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A Fashion Fairytale! How House of Dabira WON the Zinkata Red Carpet Challenge & dressed Dakore for the 2015 AMVCA



The finale Smile

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.

Revised Dahlia Spring 2015 Order Sheet-2

Ezinne Chinkata, Ify Azubike, Godson Ukaegbu & Bola Balogun

Selection Process: Ezinne Chinkata, Bolu Balogun, Ify Azubike and Godson Ukaegbu

The Shortlisted Candidates & their Sketches

1. Omowunmi Owonifari – Mo’fari Couture

Submitted Sketch by Mo'fari Couture

Illustration by Omowunmi Omonifari of Mo’fari Couture

2. Irene Omiunu – Y.E.G.A

Illustration by Y.E.G.A

Illustration by  Irene Omiunu of Y.E.G.A

3. Folu Ajayi – House Of Dabira

Sketched design by Fulu Ajayi: House of Dabira

Illustration by Folu Ajayi of House of Dabira

4. Adebola Adebowale – Derb’s Signature

Illustration by Derb's Signature

Illustration by Adebola Adebowale of Derb’s Signature

Fabric Selection
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.

Bisoye, C reative Director, Flow Fabrics

Bisoye (Creative Director, Flow Fabrics)

L-R: mo'fari Couture, Y.E.G.A's representative and House of Dabira at Flow Fabrics

Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo’fari Couture), Y.E.G.A’s representative & Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira) at Flow Fabrics

House of Dabira: Fabric Selection Phase

Folu Ajayi of House of Dabira

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.

Mrs Sade Thomas Fahm addressing the finalists

Sade Thomas Fahm

Dakore Akande, Mrs Sade Fahm and Ezinne Chinkata

Dakore Akande, Sade  Thomas Fahm & Ezinne Chinkata

The 1st Y.E.GA Fitting


Dakore in Y.E.G.A

Y.E.G.A discussions with Mrs Fahm

Dakore and the Y.E.GA Representative

Dakore and the Y.E.G.A Representative

The 1st Derb’s Signature Fitting

Adebola Adebowale of Derb's Signature explaining her design process

Adebola Adebowale (Derb’s Signature) explaining her design process

Dakore Akande fitting Derb's Signature

Dakore Akande in Derb’s Signature

The Mo’fari Couture Fitting

Mrs Sade Thomas Fahm Analysing Mo'Fari's design

Mo'Fari fitting

Dakore Akande, Omowunmi Owonifar( Mofari), Ify Azubike

Dakore Akande, Omowunmi Owonifari ( Mo’fari) & Ify Azubike

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

Dakore and Mobo Biobaku of Mobo's Fashion Ltd

Dakore in Y.E.G.A & Mobo Biobaku  (CEO, Mobo’s Fashion Ltd)

Dakore Akande in Y.E.G.A (Second fitting)

Deliberations Y.E.G.A

The 2nd Mo’fari Fitting

Dakore in Mo'fari Couture at the second fitting

Dakore in Mo’fari

Dakore in Mo'fari Couture

Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo'Fari couture), Dakore Akande and Ezinne Chinkata

Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo’Fari couture), Dakore Akande & Ezinne Chinkata

The 2nd House of Dabira Fitting

Second fitting with House of Dabira

Dakore in House of Dabira

Delibeartions: Dakore, Folu Ajayi , Mobo (Mobos Fashion) and Amaka(Zoya Jewels)

Dakore in House of  Dabira, Folu Ajayi , Mobo Miobaku (Mobos Fashion) & Amaka (Zoya Jewels)

Banke Meshida Lawal of Bmpro..enjoying the discussions!!

Banke Meshida Lawal (BMPro)

Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira) Defending her design

Folu Ajayi (House of Dabira) Defending her design

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.

Speaking to the Finalists

Dakore speaking to the finalists

Emotional farewell for Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo'fari).

Dakore & Omowunmi Owonifari (Mo’fari) (the evicted designer from day 2)

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


A happy Dakore!!!

Dakore in Y.E.G.A

The Finale!
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!

Folu Ajayi at the Maison Fahrenheit putting in her finishing touches

Folu Ajayi at the Maison Fahrenheit putting in her finishing touches

Shoes from Mobos Fashion

Shoes from Mobos Fashion

Accessories by Zoya Jewels

Accessories by Zoya Jewels

Face beat by BmPro

Face beat by BMPro


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!


Folu Ajayi and Dakore Akande

Mr his smile of approval

Olu Akande giving his smile of approval

Yellow Clutch from Mobos Fashion

Yellow Clutch from Mobos Fashion

So tell us how long you ve been

Banke, Dakore and Ezinne

Banke, Dakore & Ezinne

Dakore, Ezinne and management of Maison Fahrenheit

Dakore, Ezinne & management of Maison Fahrenheit

The final look!

The finale Smile

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.”

Heading to the AMVCA'S

Heading to the AMVCA’S

Finally, Dakore in House of Dabira made the BN Best Dressed List!

BellaNaija presents Our Best Dressed List from the 2015 Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards

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.

Ezinne Chinkata


  1. @edDREAMZ

    March 17, 2015 at 3:37 pm

    Fashion na money o……

  2. Jfk

    March 17, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Wow! Simply amazing! The concept was well executed! good job

  3. JNyX

    March 17, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Amazing stuff!

  4. titi

    March 17, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    Wowww. I’m beyond words. I pray for more beautiful ideas from you, Ezinne

  5. oy

    March 17, 2015 at 3:50 pm

    pretty. i love beautiful things chai!. excellent choice Dakore. you really rocked the dress.
    congrats darling

  6. Lovely sketches!!! Beautiful designs and final presentations. Wishing all of them mind blowing success in the coming years.

  7. Adaeze Writes

    March 17, 2015 at 3:56 pm

    This is so refreshing! Weldone Ezinne!

  8. chukwukadibia

    March 17, 2015 at 4:01 pm

    Chinkata I am soo proud of this beautiful idea of yours.

  9. Scared homosapien

    March 17, 2015 at 4:04 pm

    I’m in awe of their talent! Throughout last year, I was learning how to sew, and it sure wasn’t an easy task for me. I’m still perfecting my finishings now. I hope I get to their level, God willing.

  10. DDO

    March 17, 2015 at 4:06 pm

    Awesome concept and great way to build up the Nigerian Fashion industry!

  11. Jojo

    March 17, 2015 at 4:12 pm

    The result was beautiful and worthwhile


    March 17, 2015 at 4:14 pm

    Love the back look approach. Choosing an award dress is truly hectic and i love how they have taken this and turned it into a competition. For the Oscars and other awards, a particular brand sponsors the red carpet, not sure if the give out any awards to the best dress or its designers but i believe this is the way to go. Most of our designer outfits are worn mainly to awards anyway, so why not build something around this that will be sustainable.
    Congrats to the winner! What does she win again?

  13. NaijaPikin

    March 17, 2015 at 4:18 pm

    Love it. She definitely made the right pick.

    Love the support for young indigenous talent. It would be good to see more people take on this approach.

  14. Ebony

    March 17, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Mo’fari was nice though, even with the cowl.
    BN pls you didn’t have to add Olu Akande’s pic o, be looking for trouble. Leave us alone o
    Love their final choice. Congrats House of Dabira, impressive.
    So was the dress free, or was the payment the exposure the design label gets?
    Well done and thank you Ezinne Chinkata

  15. peace

    March 17, 2015 at 4:25 pm

    a fantastic idea…well done Ezinne! Lets hope it is continued & other celebrities take interest b”cos there’s a whole lot of ideas yet to be tapped. Lets make the unheard voices “Heard”

  16. MOM

    March 17, 2015 at 4:30 pm

    i love the dressss to bits.

  17. MOM

    March 17, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    bella pls can we have a search engine or kindda google where we can find old post typing d names.

    • Someone Naughty

      March 18, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      There’s a search tool at the top right of every page. But with their new layout it’s a bit of a struggle finding it

  18. vivian

    March 17, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    yea,..the dress is divine..
    but i can’t help but notice that hubby of hers…that man is cute for dayyyyysssss…
    ‘he can gerrit’.

  19. dee

    March 17, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    I love this concept; and I think the best man won. Way to develop & seek new talent.

  20. O~Intuition!

    March 17, 2015 at 5:25 pm

    I love the final Pick…LOVELY!


    March 17, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    My best dress of the night. lovely

  22. hey

    March 17, 2015 at 5:52 pm

    Creativity is everywhere, all those waiting for the govt to give them egunje to become rich and build production hub look at awon aburo yin doing great things. Start from somewhere then help will come. This is a great initiative and well thought through process with great talents coming together. Congratulations nice concepy

  23. hey

    March 17, 2015 at 5:52 pm


  24. lito

    March 17, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Free dress, taking advantage of contestants.Hope we hear from the contestant years from to talk of all the ones that have won contests in the past

    • NaijaPikin

      March 17, 2015 at 9:38 pm

      Taking advantage keh. Do you know the publicity she has gotten? In a place where bandwagon mentality is the order of the day, best believe babes will start rushing her for baffs. I’m sure her prices will also go up. Shes no longer referred to as a tailor, shes now designer to the stars.

  25. Aunty

    March 17, 2015 at 7:56 pm

    The picture of Lou giving his approving smile made me laugh!
    Awesome initiative!

  26. Joke

    March 17, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    lito you are so right. The Nigerian market isn’t ready to support these budding designers because the way they should make money is by the “ready to wear” model. After the contest, a dept store with millions of customers would commission them to make thousands of all the dresses and sell them thereby establishing the designers as brands and financially enable them, but Nigeria doesn’t work that way yet. Most of the so called Notable Nigerian designers are offspring/relatives of the rich who use their cut and sew practice, connections, other businesses and old money to fund these “novelty” dreams, while not really making money enough to sustain their brand from their actual design business like they portray. . .

  27. nene

    March 17, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    please i would like to know the address/contact details for flow fabrics. thanks

  28. tunmi

    March 17, 2015 at 11:26 pm

    This, folks, is how you execute a concept. Still pissed about that Eku cultural nonsense and then she actually posted an old school pic of her mother’s bridal give-away (true definition if taking the longest, foulest piss)

    Well done Zinkata. That makes two Naija folks on my definite-must-purchase list (once I make associate actuary). Emmy Collins and Zinkata

  29. tee

    March 18, 2015 at 12:22 am

    Banke meshida though……………please dont forget yourself while making up everyone else

  30. ProudtobeNigerian

    March 18, 2015 at 12:50 am

    Now this is refreshing!!! Ezinne, the sponsors, the budding designers, Dakore and all the behind the scenes folks, may God bless you all. A good thing to identify with Nigeria. I pray a major and world renowned designer reaches out to sponsor or train these budding designers. And Ezinne, you will go place.

  31. MOM

    March 18, 2015 at 9:07 am

    what i love most is d fabric. it is not the most expensive one but the combo and unique style gave it the best. beating hundreds of foreign designers cloth on red carpet.

  32. adelegirl

    March 18, 2015 at 9:26 am

    This was such a brilliant initiative by Ezinne Chinkata. God bless her truly. And I think the best designer of the bunch won. Loved the choice of fabrics and the soft pastel colours- really made Dakore stand out on the day. I hope Folu Ajayi goes places and becomes a well established designer. She is certainly very creative.

  33. Glowing Sapphire

    March 18, 2015 at 10:49 am

    I knew something was perfect about this look… Well done! It was worth the effort.

  34. Banke Meshida Lawal

    March 18, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    Zinkata! From inception to execution- Perfecto! Very well done Folu. Dakore is just AMAZiNG ! Scrolling down I marveled at the documenting. Thanks for bringing us this and I hope you have more interesting ideas in that head of yoursssss! Well done againxxx.

  35. omowunmi

    March 18, 2015 at 3:19 pm

    Dakore’s body has always positively advertise and exhited fashion, majestic and royalty in the real sense of it. Proud to have met her and Bank Mesh. Unilag has always produced queens with beauty, brain, rare talent and potentials. As for Folu keep the fire burning the older ones need to buckle up( you know what that means) .

  36. jaguarnana

    March 20, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    yawn,,,, when would we start promoting and showing talented women who work in the engineering industry, who are creating and running cottage industries producing hand wash, bleach, disinfectant etec. women who are inventing or designing machines that can detect oil pipe tampering before it leaks out or solving some really pertinent issues in Nigeria. Now every tombelina, dicksha and henrieta is a fasion designer and owns a boutique….I am truly bored…. Nigerian women is this all we are about flashy clothes and trendy fashion? there is hunger in our land and it is stained with the blood of unjustly killed, starved, ignorantly arrested, naively kidnapped citizens.

  37. Gezeel

    September 16, 2021 at 8:36 pm

    I just love this dress. I wish i can have one for my son’s wedding.

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