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Young Entrepreneurs: Luke Adetule Gbenga

by Valentine Ogbamebor

On the 5th and 6th of June 2014, the second edition of the Nigerian Student Fashion Design Week was held at the Indoor Sports Hall of the University of Lagos. Over 2000 guests were in attendance with more than 40 emerging designers. Nigerian Students Fashion Design Week is an initiative created by BlackNBold Fashion House, Africa Fashion Week, and Mahogany International.

One of the designers that showcased at the glamorous event was Luke-Adetule Gbenga, the creative director of Naijas Very Own. I had a conversation with the young talented man, during which he told me about his experience at the NSFDW, how he came about his label name and where he sees clothing line in the coming years.

Luke Adetule Gbenga is a graduate of Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, which incidentally, I am also an alumni.

Can you introduce yourself to us?

I’m Luke – Adetule Gbenga, creative director of NVO : Naijas very own. I’m a fresh graduate of Lautech, studied computer science.

You are a fashion designer, when did it start?

Yes I’m a fashion designer, I started march of last year

Did you have any form of training, maybe as an apprentice under a bigger fashion brand?

Training? No I didn’t have any. I’m a creative individual and as a kid I loved art, so it was easy for me to incorporate my talents into fashion.

Okay. That’s remarkable. You were at the recently concluded Nigerian Student Fashion and Design Week, what was the experience like?

Yeah. It was a dope show. I never expected it to be sold out, there were lots of people. They loved my collection and gave me a standing ovation when I walked down the stage. I felt honored and it has challenged me to keep working harder.

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You have just partly answered my next question which was; how did you feel when you got that round of applause after your display?

I felt on top of the world

Although I know it is fairly early, but has the NSFDW exposure began to yield fruit?

Hmmm, like you said it is fairly early, the tree planted that day is still being watered and soon it would yield fruits.

Before the show at NSFDW have you been in any previous fashion show?

No. That was my first.

Okay. Let’s leave the show and talk about your clothing line; Naija Very Own(NVO) what informed that name? How did it come about?

Let’s see, it took a lot of pondering to come up with the name.I wanted to create a Nigerian brand that would rival other top designers all around the world so the name just popped into my head. NAIJA’S VERY OWN.

And how can you classify your designs; causal, corporate, classic…?

It’s just bespoke fashion. We cover all aspects of men’s fashion

Okay. What role do you think the more established Nigerian fashion designers can play in the careers of up-comers like you?

They should pick young talents and make them their protégés, this would go a long way in developing the upcoming designers and make them the best at what they do. Sooner or later foreigners would patronize our fashion industry.

You are a fresh graduate, so what’s next?

God has it all planned out for me. I just want to be better than I was yesterday. So for now I would keep working on more designs and making people standout with my outfits

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Finally, where do you see NVO in the next ten years?

I believe that with God and hard work, NAIJA’S VERY OWN (NVO) would become a top class brand just like Alexander McQueen, Gianni Versace, Nike etc. People would wear made in Nigeria fashion with great pride.

Thank you very much for your time, I appreciate your agreeing to talk with me.

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