Everybody needs shoes, but we don’t just buy them to protect our feet; shoes are a popular way to express our fashion sense. For decades, shoe lovers have had to turn to European, American and Chinese design labels to satisfy their desires for beautiful, handcrafted shoes, but the story is different now as Nigerians are beginning to make their mark on the global footwear industry
In recent years, more and more indigenous Nigerian footwear brands have sprung up and have been steadily churning out trendy and creative shoe designs that compete with the best out there. You can bet that they are grabbing attention and winning new fans from Nigeria to Australia and everywhere in between. However, we’ve found that indigenous women shoe designers are more Since 2016, the unofficial mantra among Nigerians has been, “buy Naija to grow the Naira” and this is still going strong as these designers are connecting on an emotional and patriotic level to their buying audience in and out of the country.
Here are 10 Nigerian footwear brands you should know about…
Ethnik by Tunde Owolabi
Ethnik, a contemporary Afrocentric brand, which was started out of curiosity by Tunde Owolabi in 2012 prides itself in creating shoes for the stylish, fearless individual who is inspired by culture. The brand is also inspired by people, travel, food, books, nature and fellow artists. The brand is surely set on disrupting the norm.
313Eko, run by Bamigbola Taiye, is a modern-day leather product company that has been fully operational since 2010. The brand’s objective is to resuscitate the ailing fashion industry by creating quality products for customer consumption and never stopping in its quest to develop innovative ideas to promote Nigeria globally through fashion. The brand, known for its obvious quality, finishing, attention to details and stand out designs, has collaborated with Noble Igwe, Jumia and other designers in the past.
T.T Dalk is set on redefining the African footwear industry by making simple, trendy and elegant footwear for both men and women that appeal to a wide range of consumer tastes. Proior to launching his label, the founder and creative director, Temilade Osinfade would draw out footwear designs on paper for local shoe craftsmen to make for him. His shoes and slippers caught the attention of fellow students and that’s how the T.T Dalk footwear business was born.
RD Soles by Rilwan Disu is a contemporary shoe brand that was founded in 2016. The creative director who used to order shoes from the US and the UK wanted more in terms of design and ease of availability. This craving for more led him to Mushin and voila! a brand that caters to his needs and that of others was birthed. The brand which focuses on simple and classy designs is inspired by how comfortable their customers are in their products.
Kene Rapu is an eponymous, self-proclaimed first and number one Nigerian footwear brand. The brand was birthed when Kene designed a pair of slippers for herself in the search for something unique, interesting and with a touch of Ankara. As orders came in from that first pair, the brand then launched its first line in 2011, as an initiative to promote the development of the Nigerian fashion industry by using locally sourced materials and workmanship to provide bespoke handcrafted slippers and sandals.
The Ivy Barber brand was launched by Adetutu Sotomi, a graduate of Marine Sciences who is very passionate about design and art. The brand which was named after her mother was inspired by the need for fun, colourful and comfortable footwear in the Nigerian market. Tutu, as she is popularly called, is inspired by Sophia Webster and her love for themed shoes, brilliant colours and interesting patterns.
This is a brand that prides itself on being a lifestyle brand which produces and retails quality footwear and leather products. The brand which was launched in 2016 is on a mission is to create high quality yet affordable leather products. The brand names its products using Nigerian names from the different tribes and ethnic groups to show that it is a “one Nigeria” brand which caters to a diverse clientele regardless of ethnicity, tribe, religion or values. May Anthony also offers customisation services in terms of size, colour and design.
Oba Couture is a luxury brand created by entrepreneur Olubukola Asafa. The label which offers dynamic fashion that is simple, unique, feisty and distinct also offers bespoke made to measure shoes and sandals that are specifically made to fit perfectly. The brand which started off by making its products in China now boasts of using handmade leather goods of very high quality sourced in Nigeria. Their products are made with genuine leather, original skins from snakes, crocodiles, ostriches, etc. and precious metal hardware.
Hesey Designs, whose founder is Eseoghene Odiete, is a brand which specializes in the designing and production of handcrafted shoes and other fashion accessories with African, continental and a variety of materials. The brand’s designs are not only trendy but reflect the new spirit of Afro-centric driven styles that customers are increasingly craving for. Ese who started her business with only N10,000 has catered to the shoe cravings of British Billionaire Entrepreneur, Sir Richard Branson amongst others.
Thando’s, founded in 2014 in New York, is the brainchild of the entrepreneurial couple and NYU Alums, Taffi and Jibolu “J.G.” Ayodele. Their love for each other, Africa and art, inspired the couple to create an innovative footwear line that facilitates a modern woman’s busy lifestyle while supporting African artists. The brand is said to have created Africa’s first foldable ballerina flats. Their mission is to create innovative African designed products for the world while positively impacting the communities the designs come from.
What do you look out for when choosing a footwear? Are there Nigerian brands you patronize that didn’t make it to this list? Be sure to let us know in the ‘Rave Box’ below.
Photo credit: As captioned
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