Monday, 4 April 2011

Exclusive interview with Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah

He is talented, pleasant, charming, intelligent and delightfully modest. Meet Yemi Osunkoya, the legendary UK based bridal fashion designer and two times winner of the coveted Bridal Designer of the year in 2002  and 2004. Here is an interview with Yemi:

What inspires your design?
I’m inspired by the celebration of the female form. I therefore aim to develop an ideal shape for every one of my clients, and achieve that with my corseted gowns with fabulous boned bodices, hand-ruching and draping, that lead the eye to a slim waistline resulting in a structured, yet comfortable gown with the Wow factor. I also sometimes take inspiration from Fabrics and  embellishments that then spark off design ideas.

What initially got you interested? 
The seeds of my fascination with fashion in general and bridal wear in particular were sown at my first few high society weddings in Nigeria.  From then on, whenever I accompanied  parents to social gatherings, I would feel compelled to draw the complete bridal train after the function.   This  began my life-long love of figurative drawing.  As I entered my teens, I fell under the spell of the glamour and sophistication of Bob Makie’s costumes for Diana Ross and Anthony Price’s gravity defying gowns for Jerry Hall. I felt then a career in fashion is what I’d like to pursue.

I hear you'd be in Lagos? Business or pleasure?
 Business, I have been invited by Oaken Events to stage a 24 gown Bridal and eveningwear fashion Show and give a PowerPoint Presentation on understanding the intricacies and creative process of Couture Bridal gowns. This will take place at the grand Finale of Flare: The Oaken Event Fair on Friday  8th April  2011 at Eko Hotel. For more information, please visit Oaken Event Fair

What should Lagos expect from you and your brand? 
A fashion show of Couture Formal Daywear, Eveningwear and Bridalwear on a spectacular Catwalk built especially for the show.

For brides here and abroad how long does it take to complete a wedding gown? 
I usually prefer a lead-time of 6 – 9 months which is quite the average for Couture gowns. I can however, take on a shorter lead-time in some instances.

Yemi and Face of Africa 2010 Winner, Lukundo Nalungwe in Couture Kosibah.s, 

How it all works.......
"It all starts with the design sketch which the designer will create during your initial appointment. The design will take into account any ideas you may have, together with the best judgement of the designer as to what will suit your body shape. Other considerations are the type and size of the venue and your budget. Each design is created individually for each client."
You might be surprised to learn that more than 20 measurements go into creating a couture gown. The measurements are used to draft your individual body block which, in turn, will be used to create your toile.

Kosibah Bride Alesha Dixon and Bridesmaids in Couture Kosibah.

As Nigeria's wedding industry goes through a major renaissance, Yemi Osunkoya along with celebrity event designer from the US, Preston Bailey and Tope Abulude will be making guest appearances at Flare, a special events fair organised by Oaken Events  from the 6th to 8th April 2011 at the Eko Hotel suites in Lagos Nigeria. To find out more go tOaken Events .

 Mr Yemi  Okunsoya  will be pleased to know that I pursued my dream of being a Wedding Planner.



  1. Well done Rugie! Yemi is lovely. Met him on a couple of occasions - firstly at the Mahogany Bridal Fair many moons ago and again a Culture to Couture - and you are right, he has innate quality of making you feel that your questions aren't silly at all.

    His dresses are divine, stunning; beautifully complimenting and enhancing the female form. Definitely my choice when the time comes. Wishing him bigger and better things xx

  2. Wow...this is a really interesting article. Well done Rugie! The Bridal outfits are beautiful. It is interesting to note he designed Aleesha's wedding dress. I look forward to reading more interesting articles!

  3. Awesome!!! So proud of you.

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  5. Thanks I think we should be proud of Yemi though.... he's the talent!If you are after traditional outfits he makes amazing ones too xxx