EK_FASHION | Meet Lola Adeshigbin, the brains behind Agnes and Lola

Fashion

If you are a fashion aficionado, you will be no stranger to the name Agnes and Lola, the designer label that unites African ethos with contemporary styles. Founded in 2010, Agnes and Lola is a London-based online retailer of African brands that choose to promote African fashion designers who contribute to the development of Africa.

We take a closer look at Lola Adeshigbin, Founder and CEO, Agnes and Lola, and find out more about her and her brand. A mixture of cultural heritage and contemporary styles has been the motivation for Lola Adeshigbin. As a young girl getting an exposure to the world of fashion in London, Lola realized that in spite of the growth in the fashion industry, there was a wide chasm between African fashion and the rest of the fashion industry. Tracing her rise to her present day, she says,

“My grandmother, Agnes, was my first style icon who remained stylish even in her eighties. I loved looking at her pictures, the clothes she wore and her mannerisms. It was so reminiscent of a glamorous era. She was a writer, author of two children’s novels; so I guess I channeled that creative spirit into Agnes and Lola. It was also born from a need of wanting to showcase and support the unique talent from across the continent, to build an ethical company with foundations back home that contributes to SME’s across different countries.”

She found further inspiration from her mother, who in her own words “is a typical African woman so her wardrobe is bursting with colourful items.”

Even though Lola Adeshigbin has established herself as a  financial consultant, fashion remains her first love which at times makes it difficult for her to strike a balance her work and her passion. But she has no regrets.

“I try to get some sleep at the very least, although it is sometimes hard to come by. I have to plan ahead and ensure that I am as strict as possible when it comes to keeping deadlines. I cannot afford to be lackadaisical as this means that I will have to work extra hard in the long run. I have reduced a lot of social activities as my friends remind me, but I am so happy with the work that I do. The passion for this feeds me on.”

Her dream:

Today her dream is to create a home for African designers online through Agnes & Lola.

What motivates her:

According to Lola, the feedback and the genuine appreciation of the people who love her Agnes & Lola products gives her a great feeling.

“I also love emails we get and I remember one where a pastor mentioned how he was proud that we represent Africa,” says Lola.

Proud moments for her business:

Agnes Lola has been featured on CNN and Lola was also invited to be part of a mentorship programme for Marie Claire.

Her advice for new fashion retailers

‘Fashion is tough, so wear a helmet”, says Lola. According to Lola, the prerequisites for success are passion and commitment. In addition to this, having a trusted team is vital to achieving success. “I would not have the success I have without the people I work with,” says Lola.

Social Responsibility

Lola feels her responsibility does not end with fashion and therefore, she is all for charity. She has already worked with Medicins Sans Frontier – doctors without borders – in Congo and is currently working with smaller African-based charities. She also feels that as an African woman, she is duty bound to work toward the betterment of African women.

You can check out the latest collections of Agnes & Lola African women on www.agnesandlola.com.

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