How Andrea Iyamah’s Eponymous Brand Is Redefining Feminine Elegance


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Andrea Dumebi Iyamah is very much one of the most inspiring fashion designers in the industry. With a career that has spanned more than a decade, she leads a wave of designers who make womenswear designs that exude immense feminine power and make bold sartorial statements that are beyond stylish and elegant. This is epitomized through her eponymous fashion brand,  Andrea Iyamah, which she founded out of the necessity for authentic African representation.  

“I remember going into one of the high-end department stores with my mum and wondering why African brands were not represented,” expressed Iyamah over email. “This experience, I would say is where the seed was sown – which was to create a brand of African heritage that will be stocked in various retail outlets across the world.”

Iyamah’s career in fashion began at age 17 while studying in Canada. She started with a swimwear brand, working in a tiny studio with a very small team who did everything from marketing to shipping. However, the advent of social media ushered in a new phase of expansion and opportunity, propelling the brand into the realms of ready-to-wear and bridal fashion, with flagship locations in Lagos and New York. 

How Andrea Iyamah’s Eponymous Brand Is Redefining Feminine Elegance
LAGOS, NIGERIA – APRIL 20: A model walks the runway wearing Andrea Iyamah during Arise Fashion Week on April 20, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images,)

While growing up in Nigeria, Iyamah developed a love for fashion, nurtured by her mother’s influence.  Despite her parents’ preference for her to pursue a conventional Nigerian professional course, Iyamah harbored a burning desire to pursue a fashion career. Her mother recognized this passionand arranged for her to work with a local tailor during her summer holidays, where she learned the intricacies of sewing and garment construction. 

“ I did it from 7am-6pm. I learnt how to sew using the manual machines. I learnt everything from making baby clothes to pattern cutting before proceeding to adult clothing. It was a great learning experience and really equipped me with the basics to get started. When I started the brand in Canada, I was making the pieces myself and I was able to do so based off my earlier experience,” she recalled

The design aesthetic of Andrea Iyamah is full of warmth and intricate fluidity; little wonder each designs are driven by splendid elegance and sensuality and it makes sense because the designer wants every woman to feel powerful in them 

How Andrea Iyamah’s Eponymous Brand Is Redefining Feminine Elegance
LAGOS, NIGERIA – APRIL 20: A model walks the runway wearing Andrea Iyamah during Arise Fashion Week on April 20, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images,)

“It’s extremely intentional that we make women feel first before they look,” said Iyamah. “Everything about my life is that it must feel good before it looks good – for it to feel good, it must be in alignment with your values, how you want to be addressed and how you address yourself and give you this sense of identity. We want you to wear our pieces and when you look in the mirror, feel more like yourself, an elevated you, so to speak. It is not designed to change who you are but to illuminate who you already are.” 

But that’s not to say that every other thing isn’t put to place in the creation of the brand’s design, as a matter of fact, she weaponizes colors, textures, shapes and movement to complete this feel. Sculptural techniques are not left out, it’s evident in their Sombra bodysuit; one can imagine the waves, the curves and the movement the suit possess, exhibiting such an intense fierceness.  “The idea was to ensure that every cut, proportions, colors, silhouettes was made with the woman in mind,” said Iyamah. “A lot of our pieces have a lot of draping and ruffles which are created with a lot of intention – to accentuate the curves and the body of the woman who wears our pieces. What we try to ensure is that while we are celebrating. The way we use color, particularly dual tone colors is part of the way we do this.”

Andrea Iyamah is a highly-spirited entrepreneur and it’s not just about her being a fashion designer. She’s built herself an empire within fashion, from swimwear to ready-to-wear to bridal and even a shoe line. And have expanded into the design and hospitality industry creating Andrea Iyamah’s living. But it’s even cozy when there are plans to expand more in the near future. 

How Andrea Iyamah’s Eponymous Brand Is Redefining Feminine Elegance
LAGOS, NIGERIA – APRIL 20: A model walks the runway wearing Andrea Iyamah during Arise Fashion Week on April 20, 2019 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images,)

“At Andrea Iyamah, we have always believed that once you get hold of the value and essence of the brand, you can funnel it through anything,”she said. “We imagine a world where there are Andrea Iyamah resorts, hotels, festivals, whatever it is. Once you have a good hold of why you exist, you can manifest this into other things and this is why we diversified into other things like shoes, bags. While it complements our resort wear, it is our dream that our brand will be manifested in many different things, including an Anrdea Iyamah spa – where you can already imagine what that would feel like, because you have already experienced us at our core.”

Beyond anything, Andrea Dumebi Iyamah is very fulfilled by the community of sisterhood she has created with fashion and that’s one of the most charming things about her brand. 

“Sometimes I go on holiday and always smile when I see women in our pieces. You know, it is one thing for you to design the pieces and then it is another thing to see how this is being embraced by women all over the globe. This allows for you to continue to be inspired and see opportunities for further growth.” she told ESSENCE. 



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