Introducing our speakers for day 2 of The Lagos Leather Fair Digital, they will be discussing How to find a balance between Creativity and Sustainability on Friday, 23rd October 2020 by 12 pm. This conversation will explore the importance of putting in place proper business structures in order to remain sustainable as a creative brand.

Rukky Ladoja is currently the Creative Director and CEO at Grey Projects.  Over the last 12 years, she has worked in fashion production, retail entrepreneurship and consultancy, and design, where she engages first hand across the entire fashion value chain: cutting across design, product development, manufacturing, distribution, marketing and sales. This has given her direct insight into the opportunities and limitations involved in growing the creative and retail sector of the Nigerian economy and has allowed her to develop strong local and international networks. She also worked at ART X RETAIL STORE where she increased sales and engaged new, mid-market targets and at Lagos Fashion & Design Week as a Product Strategist/Creative Director.

Femi Olayebi is Chief Creative Director of FemiHandbags, a luxury line of leather handbags and accessories, and the founder of My World of Bags (its parent company) which produces corporate goods for a vast array of organisations across the continent. Femi is the founder and convener of the Lagos Leather Fair, which was designed to promote Nigerian leather designers, bring together the major players along the leather value chain, and attempt to change the narrative within the industry and challenge the wider Made-in-Africa narrative.

In 2008, she became one of the first 25 recipients to be awarded the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Scholarship; she would later go on to participate in her first international, stand-alone show, Pure London, in 2009, where she FemiHandbags made its debut. Since then, her products have been stocked by retail stores in Paris, New York, London and Lagos. In May 2012, her business was made a case study at the Lagos Business School, and by August the following year, she was one of the four company CEOs selected by the Bank of Industry to attend the Brazil-Nigeria Business Forum in Rio de Janeiro. In 2017, she founded and launched the Lagos Leather Fair, a solely private initiative and the first of its kind in Nigeria.

Adenike Adeyemi is the Executive Director at Fate Foundation. She is a development sector professional with over 18 years of experience in non-profit management, enterprise development, education and youth enablement strategies.

Adenike is passionate about designing and implementing strategies, programs and policies that foster entrepreneurship and high growth enterprises in Nigeria. As the head of Nigeria’s foremost enterprise development non-profit, she leads the fulfilment of FATE Foundation’s mission to enable aspiring and emerging Nigerian entrepreneurs start, grow and scale their businesses. Over the last 4 years, she has led the organisation to deepen its entrepreneurship research and data gathering capabilities to better provide ecosystem insights and guide entrepreneurship policy strategies. She has secured funding and other resource partnerships of over $1million for FATE Foundation with local and international corporates, foundations and development partners.

Gilles Acogny is the CEO and Co-Founder of Acosphere Ltd. He is a global executive with a proven track record in business turnarounds with growth up to and over 100%, from start-ups to multinational companies. He has held various executive management positions with FTSE 100 and Fortune 500 corporations in the USA, Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He was a Managing Director at Xerox, Egypt; Board Member of Xerox Germany; and Marketing Director of Xerox Europe (EMEA). He was also a Director of Marketing and Global Accounts at Misys Plc, and Global Sales and a Marketing Director at Aggreko Plc.

Gilles is a founding member of the Institut Supérieur de Management (ISM), a leading business school in Africa, and is a member of the Board of the Association of Professional Sales (APS) and the CEO of APS Africa. He speaks 6 languages and trains internationally in French, English and German

Lanre DaSilva is the CEO/Creative Director of Lanre DaSilva Ajayi Couture, a Lagos-based fashion designer considered to be one of Nigeria’s leading couturiers. Her eponymous label includes couture, ready-to-wear fashion, jewelry and hairpieces.

DaSilva has presented her collection at New York Fashion Week, her clothing line has been sold at Dolce & Gabbana’s “Concept Spiga 2” store in Milan. She was also one of two designers asked to join the United Nations “Fashion Development Project” which helped to support her continent’s luxury industry in 2012. That same year, her label was featured in the magazine L’Uomo Vogue in an issue called ‘Re-branding Africa’.

Da Silva’s designs have also been featured in Vogue Black and Arise Magazine. She is recognized for re-interpreting and modernizing traditional motifs, making them an important part of her designs. In 2017, Da Silva was asked to create outfits for the 2017 look book of Vlisco, an African fabrics and textiles manufacturer.

Later in the afternoon, two stellar product design experts will discuss the art of effectively designing and balancing the unique with the functional; this session will enlighten attendees on the basics of the design, conceptualization and development of fashion products.

The conversation will hold on Friday, 23rd October, 2020 by 4PM on Zoom.

Lani Adeoye is the CEO of Studio-Lani, an artist-designer, driven by conceptual curiosity and cultural expression coupled with a thirst for innovation. She uses design as a mediation tool — fusing tradition and modernity, merging art, crafts & design, whilst expressing intangible cultural concepts.  As a design consultant, she has developed concepts for various brands including YouTube, Bacchus and NetGear. Most recently, Lani was selected by Elle Décor as one of its ‘Women of the World: 75 Global Female Designers Worth Celebrating.’ Dwell Magazine also included her in its annual list of ‘Young Guns – New Designers Making Waves’. In 2017, she won the Wanted Design’s Launch Pad Furniture Competition in New York City.  Lani is a strong believer in the power of design as a tool to solve problems, empower communities, and positively impact our livelihood.Prof. Yvonne Watson is an Associate Professor & Director of Academic Affairs at Parsons School of Design. She is an experienced, innovative Associate Professor, Design Thinker & Educator skilled in the design, fashion and textiles educational curriculum and leadership development in the higher education field. She is inspired by a vision for new forms of curricula with an emphasis on transformative learning and experiential and partnering opportunities to improve student, faculty and organizational outcomes. She has additional experience in non-profit organizations, capacity building for the development of women entrepreneurs in Mongolia and Ethiopia. she is also experienced in research design, communication globally on the supply/value chain and the elevation and impacting of artisan-based communities, in areas such as Peru, Mexico, Haiti, Nepal.

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