Unless you’re a Nigerian fashion buff, you might be forgiven for thinking that Tiffany Amber is a foreign fashion brand which just happens to have a particularly strong presence in the country’s high-end clothing industry. And your assumption may be reinforced by the glitz and glamour that often surrounds it, and the fact that it does have a slightly exotic feel.
But there’s far more to Tiffany Amber’s prominence in this space than its name. It was the first ready-to-wear brand to launch in Nigeria and maintains a leading role in the market. The garments woven by its Lagos based tailors have been worn by regular people, as well as first ladies and other globally known figures. Models have walked runways across the world in its multi-styled tops, trousers and gowns. The name certainly comes with some good deal of weight.
Twenty years ago, none of this line’s optimistic, confidence-inspiring clothes existed. It was just Folake Folarin-Coker, a Lagos born lover of fine fashion, and her wild dreams. Folake could have had a high paying job as a lawyer with oil firms- she had just completed a Masters program in Petroleum Law. She knew her decision to go with making clothes instead would be disapproved of by her people. Folake says she only told her family she owned a fashion company five years after founding it.
Twenty years later, Tiffany Amber has about fifty tailors working to produce first-rate clothing. The wears they’ve come up with are typically a blend of African and global influences, reflecting Folake’s own experience, as well as those of people in her target market. The range of styles on offer could continue to grow as well, just as the business adds a facility to take in four times the number of its present workforce.
At the moment, fans of the Tiffany Amber brand are enjoying its variety of colourful, sometimes convention-defying designs: flowing gowns, vibrant looking blouses, sleeveless tops, nicely finished trousers and more. They’re spun for bubbly occasions and engagements with less fanfare- a range of options constantly evolving with the tastes and aesthetic preferences of its diverse clientele and the wider fashion scene.
The brand maintains a presence on social media, particularly on Instagram, where over 37,000 fans follow its work and eagerly consume updates on its latest lines and events. As you’d expect, there’s a fair deal of daring designs in its collection, which you’ll find displayed on its social media pages. They’re either ladies striking a pose in the brand’s wears, or models clothed in products from its wardrobes at a fashion show.
Folake recalls that she barely had competition in her first decade in business. More recently, the local fashion industry has experienced an influx of designers, coinciding with a change in society’s perception of the profession. Back in 1998, the space was thought to be the preserve of ‘tailors’, most of whom were part of the economic lower class. These days, celebrity designers and brands have helped touch things up somewhat. Getting into the industry is now an art to be mastered.
Tiffany Amber has enjoyed its own fair share of success as a pioneer in an industry that’s now going global. It has been featured on CNN, Vogue, and a number of local media outlets. Folake was named
Featured image source: integr8.Africa