Fashion Designer Lanre Da Silva Ajayi recently sat down with Punch to discuss starting out her career, family, and beauty routine.
On how she switched to fashion despite having multiple degrees in business and fashion, she said:
Upon completion of my studies in the UK, I moved back to Nigeria shortly afterwards to kick-start my career. With a background in business administration and a master’s degree in Finance, the ideal job I was looking for at the time was in investment banking or the Nigerian stock exchange and I applied to various banks and institutions in Nigeria. During the waiting period, I decided to keep myself busy by designing clothes for myself, family, and friends. My passion for fashion designing has been there since my teenage years as my mum recalled and it was further heightened whilst I was in the UK. I developed my love for vintage couture from shopping spots like Portobello market, London Vintage Fashion, Textile and Accessories fair at Hammersmith Town Hall. I also attended short fashion courses in the UK.
I was so thrilled and happy with the positive feedback I was getting from friends and family about my creative designs, that they were unique, different, glamorous and beautiful. Eventually, I got job offers from banks and other institutions in Nigeria but the timing was not perfect as I was already pregnant and travelling, so I had to defer my position.
Meanwhile, the positive feedback I was receiving propelled me to start up a career fully as a fashion designer and let go of my banking aspirations.
Asked about her breakthrough moment in the fashion industry, she said her brand Lanre DaSilva Ajayi took out gradually in 2005, when she was still using her parents’ dining table.
Being included in the Thisday Africa Rising Festival in London in October 2008, and the Arise Africa Fashion Festival, South Africa in June 2009; and then the New York Couture Fashion Week in September 2009, all of that created an awareness for her brand.
But in 2010, when she created proper seasonal collections, and launched the Labour of Love at the Arise Magazine Fashion Week, Lagos in March 2011, and got a standing ovation, that was her true breakout moment.
She also discussed being often mistaken for a man because of her name, saying she enjoyed the shock on people’s faces when they realize “the Lanre they are looking for is a woman.”
To relax, Lanre said she goes to the Spa, watches television, and spends quality time with her family.
Her beauty routine includes using Argan oil on her face, getting as much sleep as she can, and spa treatments. She also said she loves doing yoga.
About how she manages her career, family, and religion, she said her family takes precedence and her work is a close second.
She plans her time well to fulfill her home needs and work commitments, and makes sure she’s never too busy to go to church.