For Morenikeji Rukayat Oke, founder of the popular fashion brand, Clothes by Moray, fashion design was initially a hobby.
But as time went by, she was prompted to plunge headlong into it as a business, following accolades she got from friends and family members who often admired her personally designed attires whenever she wore them.
“Besides, I have always been fascinated by fashion and the power it has to transform people and make them feel confident and beautiful. And then, I grew up in a family that valued creativity and entrepreneurship, which inspired me to pursue my passion for fashion design and then start my own business,” she stressed.
To boost her creative muse, Morenikeji draws inspiration from a variety of sources, including nature, art and culture. “I also love to travel and explore new places, and I often find inspiration in the colours, textures and patterns I see on my trips. I equally stay up-to-date on fashion trends and work to incorporate them into my designs in a way that is unique and authentic to my brand,” the fashionista added.
Due to Morenikeji’s talent, determination and hard work, Clothes by Moray has grown to become a leading name in the Nigerian fashion industry. Today, the brand represents creativity, innovation, and excellence in fashion. It is equally known for its commitment to producing unique and stylish clothing that appeals to fashion connoisseurs.
Social media is a veritable vehicle for business growth. Any business owner or entrepreneur who ignores social media engagements in their marketing may be heading for the rocks. In affirmation of this reality, Morenikeji has advocated the adoption of social media platforms to drive growth in the Nigerian and African fashion industries.
In her words: “We can use social media and other digital platforms to showcase our designs and reach a wider audience both within Nigeria and internationally. By promoting the use of African fabrics and designs, we can help to shift the perception of African fashion as ‘inferior’ to Western styles, and encourage Nigerians to embrace their cultural heritage and unique sense of style.”
Dealing with stubborn clients is an integral part of running any business. But Morenikeji often adopts the principles of patience, empathy and professionalism to tackle such situations.
“I always try to handle difficult clients with patience, empathy and professionalism. I listen carefully to their concerns, and I work to find solutions that meet their needs while staying true to my brand and design aesthetics,” she asserted.
One of Morenikeji’s most memorable experiences as a fashion designer came when she showcased her collection at the Lagos Fashion Week. According to her, it was an incredible opportunity to share her designs with a wider audience, and connect with other talented designers and industry professionals.
To further engender growth in the industry, the style entrepreneur said Nigerian fashion designers should endeavor to think local, but act global by tapping into Nigeria’s rich cultural resources.
“As Nigerian fashion designers, we have a unique opportunity to showcase the beauty and diversity of African fabrics and designs. One way to do this is to incorporate traditional fabrics like ankara, adire and aso-oke into our designs, in new and innovative ways. We can also collaborate with textile manufacturers and artisans to promote the use of sustainable, locally produced fabrics that support our communities and preserve traditional techniques,” Morenikeji stated.
As with any business, there are bound to be challenges and setbacks along the path of Clothes by Moray. But then, the founder always tries to view them as opportunities for growth and learning. “One of the biggest challenges I face as a fashion entrepreneur in Nigeria is the lack of infrastructure and support for small businesses. This can make it difficult to access funding, find reliable suppliers, and navigate complex regulations. But to overcome these challenges, I have learned to be resourceful and creative in finding solutions, and I have built a strong network of supportive colleagues and mentors who can offer guidance and advice.”
In addition to its focus on growth and sustainability, Clothes by Moray is also dedicated to empowering and inspiring young entrepreneurs in the fashion industry. In fact, with influences that include iconic designers like Deola Sagoe, Lisa Folawiyo, Alexander McQueen and Stella McCartney, Morenikeji sees herself as a mentor and role model committed to sharing her knowledge and expertise with others.
“By nurturing talent and supporting the next generation of fashion leaders, I hope to contribute to a thriving and dynamic fashion industry in Nigeria and beyond,” she affirmed.
Looking to the future, however, Clothes by Moray has ambitious goals for growth and expansion. The brand plans to continue creating innovative designs that blend African and Western influences, while also exploring new markets and opportunities for collaboration.
“I am committed to sustainability and ethical practices in fashion, and I plan to incorporate more eco-friendly materials and production methods into my operations. Overall, my fashion brand is poised for continued success and growth in the years to come.”