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HomeBlack WeddingDesigner Profile: Yemi Osunkoya - SIGNATURE BRIDE

Designer Profile: Yemi Osunkoya – SIGNATURE BRIDE

SIGNATURE BRIDE sits down with prime trend designers to get a glimpse into the inventive mindset. 

This month, we had the chance to talk with designer Yemi Osunkoya, the visionary behind the model Kosibah. 

Rising up in Nigeria, Osunkoya had a watch for element. After attending weddings along with his mother and father, he would sketch the bridal celebration fashions with pen and paper. Years later, he turned that expertise right into a flourishing profession in couture.

Osunkoya counts amongst his shoppers members of the British Parliament, senior employees of the British royal household, daughters of a member of the British Home of Lords, members of the royal households from Nigeria and Ghana, actresses, entertainers and celebrities.

SIGNATURE BRIDE: What was your first job within the trend trade?

Yemi Osunkoya: Technically, my first job within the trend trade was working at Means-In, a trend boutique throughout the well-known division retailer Harrods, in London. I labored there whereas I used to be finding out trend design on the Paris Academy College of Trend. However my first correct job was working for myself after I registered my model Kosibah Creations on September 1, 1991.

SB: What drew you to bridal design?

YO: I’ve at all times been fascinated by weddings and the apparel of your entire marriage ceremony celebration from after I was 6 or 7, accompanying my mother and father to weddings in Nigeria. I was particularly drawn to the marriage gown, which was the focal point at these events. I educated in couture strategies in trend college, which is sort of labor-intensive and directed towards creating bespoke clothes from scratch for particular person shoppers. Once I began my model, I created each informal and formalwear items for my shoppers, however in a short time it grew to become very obvious that creating informal put on was not viable businesswise, and in an natural means I started to give attention to and focus on bridal and night put on attire.

SB: Outline your fashion.

YO: Fashionable basic and determine enhancing. My superpower is my skill to recreate the classical hourglass silhouette with my robes, utilizing corsetry and structured bodice strategies developed over my 31 years of expertise.

SB: Inform us concerning the model title, Kosibah. 

YO: I got here up with the model title Kosibah in 1983 after I was invited by Nigeria’s Ministry of Youth, Sports activities and Tradition to take part in a trend present and every model needed to have a reputation. Even at age 16, I knew I didn’t wish to use my first title and surname however a reputation that was significant to me that might crossover internationally. My mother and father had been extraordinarily supportive of me as a younger baby who was gifted with the power to attract, and particularly to sketch trend illustrations. They inspired and nurtured my expertise. I, subsequently, wished to pay homage to my mom when arising with my model title and got here up with a special spelling of her title Cosiba (lady baby born on a Sunday in Benin Republic, which is her heritage) to Kosibah. So, lengthy story quick, the title is a derivation of my mom’s title.

(L to R) Photographs: Damien Lovegrove, Nek Vardikos, Damien Lovegrove

SB: What adjustments—if any—have you ever seen within the attitudes towards marriage ceremony attire for the reason that early days?

YO: Probably the most vital change I’ve seen is how rapidly bridal trend tendencies change and the way fashion-forward bridalwear has develop into. Within the early days, tendencies lasted for 3 to 5 years, overlapping in some instances. However now, tendencies change each season. My idea about this modification is that over time, most brides have come to have extra say about their alternative of marriage ceremony gown as a result of a variety of them are paying for it themselves as an alternative of counting on their mother and father. Additionally, the mix of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, the place brides can see extra types rapidly, and the opening up of extra secular places for marriages to happen legally has meant brides are extra adventurous and individualistic of their marriage ceremony gown decisions.

SB: You’ve designed and created fashions for heads of state, celebrities and royal households. What retains you drawn to bridal?

YO: The truth that my creation will allow my consumer to feel and appear their easiest on such an essential day to them and be the focal point at this occasion makes all of the laborious work that goes into creating every marriage ceremony gown worthwhile and offers me inventive satisfaction. My designs lend themselves to the basic, timeless nature of a marriage gown that might be seen for a few years to come back after the day it was worn. I like to witness the look of surprise and amazement on the faces of my shoppers once they attempt on the completed gown after going by the assorted becoming processes concerned in making a couture gown. They’re normally struck by the best way I’ve been in a position to whittle down their waists and help their busts with out them carrying a bra—simply with the inner construction of the gown.

Photographs: George Chinsee

SB: Who or what evokes you?

YO: Due to the very bespoke nature of every gown I create, I’m particularly impressed by the particular components every consumer brings to the desk. The physique form of my consumer, bodily attributes she desires to have a good time, considerations she could have, the situation fashion and sort of the marriage, the time of 12 months, cultural and/or spiritual elements that need to be considered are all elements that go into the inspiration for the robe. I’m superb at listening to what my consumer desires and with the ability to provide you with three or 4 sketches in actual time for her to contemplate and slender right down to the ultimate design. After all, materials and gildings play an element within the inspiration behind every gown design. As well as, I really like artwork, theater, ballet, touring to totally different nations and exploring totally different cultures—all these additionally play an element in my thought course of when designing.

SB: What influences your designs?

YO: No matter it’s that may improve the determine of the consumer sitting in entrance of me and that I feel will flatter her essentially the most is what influences the design I provide you with for her at the moment.

SB: What do you contemplate to be the signature design components of a customized Kosibah marriage ceremony gown? 

YO: The number of design choices I can provide you with is infinite; subsequently, my robes are distinctive in their very own means. The overarching ingredient that’s featured in every gown is the figure-enhancing side. If a consumer is full-figured, I can take about 3 to 4 inches off their waist, and I can create curves the place they’re missing. That is all finished with strategies I’ve created and refined over time. 

SB: What’s your favourite a part of the design course of?

YO: The reply to this may be totally different relying on the consumer or the gown I’m designing. Typically it’s arising with a design that makes my consumer have a look at me as if I had been a genius. Typically it’s sourcing the fabulous materials, gildings and notions for the robe. Typically it’s difficult myself within the drafting stage of the creation of a troublesome sample design and arising trumps. Typically it’s the look of the consumer when she tries on the completed gown as she gazes in surprise at her reflection. 

SB: What’s your favourite a part of being a designer?

YO: The alternatives and experiences which have opened for me due to what I do. I rely myself extraordinarily fortunate to be doing one thing I’m obsessed with and am superb at. It’s a privilege I do know lots of people don’t take pleasure in. 

Photograph: Melanie Nashan

SB: You’re employed with and are impressed by all kinds of luxurious materials, however you might be repeatedly drawn to lace. What’s it about lace that retains you coming again?

YO: I like to make every gown distinctive, and a means of doing that is creating bespoke fabrication. Deconstructing lace into appliqués I can then rearrange in a means completely of my making lends itself to this ethos. Typically I take advantage of two or three totally different however complimentary laces to create one robe, once more making the fabrication distinctive. 

SB: Describe the Kosibah bride.

YO: The Kosibah bride is a lady who doesn’t compromise on fashion, match or fabrication. She appreciates and is aware of the worth of couture. She is a powerful, assured lady but desires to have a good time her femininity and, most significantly, desires a basic, refined and chic robe with distinctive components to it. She could also be getting married for the primary or second time and generally doesn’t wish to seem like the standard bride.

SB: What do you assume is the subsequent massive bridal trend pattern?

YO: I don’t assume there might be one main trend pattern to come back. Brides will proceed to be extra individualistic of their decisions and go for types which are extra aligned to their aesthetic. I predict excessive necks, although, with sheer or lace materials, colours equivalent to numerous hues of blue, separates that allow gadgets of the ensemble to be worn once more after the marriage; these are some components I consider would be the subsequent pattern.

SB: What’s subsequent for the Kosibah model?

YO: I envision the Kosibah model being extra open to collaborations with different manufacturers, be that in precise trend, equipment or education-related ventures. Kosibah will proceed to be the go-to model for customized/couture marriage ceremony attire that flatter and improve all physique sorts.


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