Deola Ade-Ojo formerly known as Deola Sagoe is a Nigerian entrepreneur and fashion designer. She is the founder and CEO of House of Deola, one of Africa’s most sought-after fashion brand. Deola’s unique approach to her craft has continued to put Nigeria on the global fashion map. She has a few 1st’s, the first black woman to present a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated Fashion week back in 2014 and the first Nigerian to have her own stand-alone show at the New York fashion week in September 2014.
Background of Deola Ade-Ojo
Deola Ade-Ojo is the daughter of Micheal Ade-Ojo and late Elizabeth Wuraola Ojo who hails from Ondo State. Her parents are the founders of Elizade Group, a popular company that focuses on the distribution of automobiles in Nigeria.
Deola Ade-ojo has a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from University of Miami, Florida and a Master’s degree in Finance & Management from University of Lagos State.
Deola was married to Koffi Sagoe and they are blessed with three beautiful daughters; Teni, Tiwa and Aba Sagoe.
How The Fashion Decision Was Made
Coming from a prominent family of Nigerian entrepreneurs, we can say that entrepreneurial blood runs in her veins. Her father wanted her to join the family business after she finished her education but at the time, her mother had grown her small tailoring business, Odua Creation to big brand. She loved fashion and wanted to join her mother but her father still wanted her to combine her fashion work with working in the family business. You can even see that her degrees prepared her for the family business but how long can we suppress you true calling? How long can we starve our passion? Juggling fashion and the family business wouldn’t be an easy task. One will definitely suffer. So Deola decided to join her mother at Odua Creations in 1989. Odua Creations specializes in production of traditional embroidered Nigerian menswear.
Venturing On Her Own
She joined her mother’s business with the view to expand the label’s collections to more contemporary designs. It wasn’t long before Deola Ade-ojo developed her own brand; a brand known for iconic designs and attention to details. She made it Africa centric by using original and different African fabrics from antiquity and incorporating them in contemporary designs. This is why her fashion house is recognised as Haute Couture Fashion Empire.
Her haute couture fashion empire gained global recognition when she won MNET Anglo Gold African Design award (New York) in the year 2002. She was nominated for the award by an influential US Vogue Editor Andre Leon Tally. Ever since then, her designs have been modeled around the world at various prestigious events. Deola Ade-Ojo regularly showcase her designs at the South Africa Fashion Week.
She has gone on to show that fashion is not only her forte, that she can still hold her own in other areas by making a special appearance in a 2014 movie, ’October 1’ where she featured as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti. She also produced the custom for the movie which won her the Multichoice-Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award for Best Costume Designer. October 1 had the highest number of views on DSTV BoxOffice at the time.
House of Deola
House of Deola registered as Deola Sagoe Limited is a fashion company that prides itself on its innovative designs with the use of genuine and exclusive fabrics. Brands under House of Deola are:
The brand specialises in the design and creation of bespoke clothing and bridal wears. It offers unique African haute couture using African hand-woven materials. One of the designs of the brand is ‘Komole’, an assemblage of designs that combines Aso-Oke and lace for bridal and occasional wears.
The brand was established by Deola’s daughter in 2011 to design and retail premium ready to wear fashion for women.
Deola Sagoe Uniforms (DSU) supplies exclusively handcrafted designed uniforms for corporate organisations. They also cater to the hospitality and financial sectors.
Achievements of Deola Ade-Ojo
- First black Woman to present a collection at Alta Roma Alta Moda Fashion Week, Rome in 2004.
- Represented Nigeria in International Campaign organised by the United Nations World Food Program in 2006.
- First Nigerian to have a show at the New York Fashion Week in 2014.
Recognition and Awards
- MNET Face of Africa 1998.
- MNET Anglo Gold African Design Award at New York Fashion Week 2000.
- Ranked 37th on African Almanac Scale of 100 Most Influential African in the World 2001.
- International Star for Quality Award at 10th International Star Award in Paris 2007.
- International Award for Excellence and Business Prestige at Quality Summit in New York 2008.
- Super Brand’s Certificate of Excellence in Fashion Design and Label Category 2010.
- Best Costume Designer at Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award 2015.
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