Nobody imagined that Akorede Awode, a former Assistant General-Secretary, Students’ Union Government (SUG), Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU) in Ile-Ife, Osun State would go into fashion designing. His colleagues had expected him to pick up an appointment with local politicians, but instead, he went where his heart led him.
Today, he is a success in fashion designing. He is now the Chief Executive, Clovis Casuals, a fashion business outfit easy- to- wear casual clothing.
He started as an undergraduate and has now become a runaway success, selling to shops and individuals. Growing up in Oyo State, he said, exposed him to many fashionistas, from who he discovered the love for fashion. That led him to take sewing classes even as a political science undergraduate at OAU. He was a huge advocate of being an entrepreneur.
He wanted to have his own business and began to design and sell clothes while on campus. While at the National Youth Service Corp (NYSC), he would rush to Ijebu-Ode, where he was undergoing training, to learn more tricks about his passion.
Awode was doing that until he completed his national service in Port Harcourt, River State. After the service year, Awode settled in Ibadan, bought a few sewing machines with his savings and launched the business officially. Customers’ reactions were overwhelmingly positive.
His designs won him customers and helped him build a fast-growing, lean business in Ibadan.
While his talent no doubt contributed to his success, other factors that helped him were his blood and sweat. Blood helped because it took him a lot of passion and sacrifice, while sweat worked for him because of the time and hardwork put into the enterprise. His imagination and creativity equally worked for him.
With fashion lovers eager to buy his designs, Awode is making money as a solo entrepreneur, with a turnover that is self-sustaining. But his ambitions stretch further still. He is doing a lot to be identified as one of the top young entrepreneurs in fashion business in Oyo State.
His focus is to create easy-care clothes and offer merchandise of quality. His goal is to gain national reputation for professional expertise, sensitivity to current trends and ability to blend commercialism with innovation. He is scouting for trends to inspire new designs. Building a successful brand is a daunting challenge, which he looks forward to surmount.
As a young fashion designer, Awode is aware of the power of e-commerce and he has built a successful online presence and high quality customer experience. He is proactive about marketing his designs, using Facebook and instagram to get the word out.