Hello Style Revolutionists! We are back with another edition of Designer Focus (#OBDesignerFocus).
The fashion game in Nigeria has really come a long way. Fashion designers in Nigeria continue to push boundaries and release spectacular collections for public consumption each year. From the mainstream traditional clothing to western like wears, the Nigerian fashion industry is now one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
Last week our spotlight was on talented Nigerian Designer, Emmanuel Okoro.
Today, we shine the spotlight on, Rukkayah Suleiman,the creative director and founder of Reedas, a womenswear label, known for its elegance and modesty. The fashion house, which consists of Ready to Wear, Bespoke and Bridal couture is the go-to place for most fashion conscious northern women in Abuja.
OB: Who is Rukkayah Suleiman?
RS: Rukkayah Mohammed Suleiman is a wife and mother of 3 who opted out of banking to pursue her career in fashion industry after 8 years.
Ever since it has been a great reward and challenging experience, for 11 years now, since 2007, Rukkayah has grown her clothing brand REEDAS into a really admirable and formidable business in the heart of Abuja; serving customers as far as the United States, United Kingdom and several other countries of the world.
She holds an MBA from the illustrious Ahmadu Bello University, ABU Zaria after her first degree in Business Administration from the university of Abuja. She has also had numerous certifications including Basic Sewing Skills (Fashion Academy Abuja), How to Start My Own Fashion Label, Visual Merchandising, Personal Styling, Draping on a Stand all from the prestigious London College of Fashion and then she also obtained a certificate for Fashion and Design Summer School in Central saint Martins London.
She has participated in the following runway shows and exhibitions:
– Couture Fashion Week, New York
– Dubai Fashion Fiesta
– Nigerian Fashion Week, Lagos
She is a scholar of the honorary WomenX Business Course of the Entrepreneurship Development Centre of the Lagos Business School owned by Pan Atlantic University. The World Bank sponsored this course.
OB: What led to your interest in fashion and designing?
RS: My interest in fashion started since I was a child, I grew up in a house where lavish parties were held as my father was a diplomat, hosting people almost all the time, was the order of the day. It was always interesting seeing different people from around the world dress glamorously for these functions.
Bespoke Designs by Reedas For The Vlisco Pre-Launch
OB: What Inspired you to start the brand Reedas?
RS: Like every business, fashion has been my passion for a while. I personally enjoy playing with textures by thinking out of the box to define and redefine my pieces of clothing, but then again Reedas as a brand was started to bridge a gap as it was born out of a need.
OB: How would you describe the woman who wears Reedas?
RS: Confident, classy, simple but yet stylish and somewhat a minimalist.
OB: What is your creative process?
RS: It always starts with an inspiration or an idea, then the whole visualization process takes place and eventually the design process kicks in.
OB: What inspires your designs and personal style?
RS: I get my design inspiration from traveling round the world! Anything that captures my attention…… I try and make a piece out of it!
Hadiza Yaradua in Reedas
OB:Is it difficult to keep a balance between your business and other aspects of your life?
RS: Initially it was, especially the teething period as Reedas was the baby but overtime having created a structure and working with an amazing team for close to a decade, it became easy to balance my professional and personal life.
OB: What made you venture into the Bridal aspect of fashion?
RS: The exciting ability to bring to life an idea imagined by a bride for her dream outfit.
OB: Who would you call your role model in the fashion industry?
RS: A lot of people have inspired me over the years both home grown brands and international brands, the likes of Lisa, Tiffany Amber, Odio, Lanre Da Silva and Deola Sagoe.
OB: What are the biggest challenges that you have faced as a designer?
RS: Commitment and work ethics, Constant power supply and Limited access to quality production accessories.
The Wife of the Vice President, Dolapo Osinbajo, in Reedas on her Birthday
OB: As a top fashion designer in Abuja, would you ever consider expanding to Lagos?
RS: Absolutely! As a brand our mission is to become a household name not only In Lagos but around the world! But actually a lot of our clients are based in Lagos they fly in for consultation and once their outfits are ready we send it to them.
OB: Are there any notable names you would want to see in custom made “Reedas” outfits?
RS: Reedas is not limited to a certain group of people but it will be delightful to dress Genevieve, Rita Dominic, Beyonce, Eudoxie Bridges but each client regardless is important to us.
Bespoke Designs by Reedas For The Vlisco Pre-Launch
OB: How do you view the fashion industry in Nigeria?
RS: The fashion industry has evolved tremendously and it’s amazing to see Nigerian brands competing in the global market.
OB: Reedas is a womenswear brand but have you ever considered menswear?
RS: Laughing! No.
OB: What does the future hold for Reedas?
RS: You have to wait and see but I am sure you will be blown away!!.
Zahrah-Buhari Indimi in Reedas For Her Pre-Wedding Photoshoot
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