Exclusive interview with Tosin Junaid, NAID'S Fashion designer
Creating a Fashion Brand from scratch is not an easy thing to do, but it can be really worth it, as we see in Tosin Junaid history. We got the opportunity to talk to him and learn a little more about his path and passion for fashion design, and we're very happy to now be able to share this great interview with all of you.
First of all, we really appreciate the opportunity to talk to you! So for starts, could you share a little bit of your story with us?
I’m the Founder and creative director of NAID'S, an African Luxury brand founded in 2019 back in Nigeria where I was born, bred and buttered. I’m a self-taught designer who’s had a strong interest in fashion since the tender age of 14. I recently moved from Lagos to Los Angeles to take my brand to the world and it’s been life changing.
What inspired you the most when deciding to start a fashion brand?
I was greatly inspired by my culture, as you may know the way of life of Africans is so colorful and extravagante. The streets of Africa are always filled with iconic fashion statements which is why i’m known for merging the spice of Africa with western trends to create a world where people of all cultures don’t just co-exist but genuinely live, love and bloom together and this is what sets me apart from others.
When did you first know that you wanted to design clothes? How is your relationship with designing?
I started designing officially 8 years ago and I’ve dreamt of having this brand since then; but at the time I was working as a designer for a different company to make ends meet so to finally be here today is so fulfilling!
When you left from your country and travelled all the way to the United States to follow your dreams, what were your goals? Would you say that you reached them all?
My ultimate goals were to put Africa on the map when it comes to world class fashion, and to provide job oppoturnities for creatives in the fashion industry back in my country. Yes I have been able to reach these goals to an extent, I currently have my entire production facility back in Nigeria with several employees and I have also been blessed to be the first African designer to be showcasing in the Official Los Angeles Fashion Week SS21, this October. However, it is a continous never ending process so there are more heights to attain!
What were your biggest challenges on building your brand name so far? How did you overcome it?
The road so far has been a winding road because as a brand owner the challenges are endless. From not being sure how the world will receive your next collection, to having workers on payroll regardless of whether or not the collection actually sells, to hiring the right workers that are aligned with the brand's essence, to lack of funding and investors. The list is long, but I overcame by doing a lot of research as well as collaborating with other creatives and designers.
You create beautiful designs that show a strong bond between you and your African heritage. What is the message you want to pass with your clothes?
My message and brand’s essence is to revive the watered-down African Culture across the diaspora through fashion, not to foster separation but to bring unity and bring awareness to the fact that we are all one people!
Being invited to the Los Angeles Fashion Week is a big step on your career, how are you dealing with it, both professionally and personally?
Professionally, It is a very busy season for the brand right now and a special thank you to my team for going extra mile to creating what will be a stunning historical show. Personally, I am so excited and can’t wait to see the success as well as connections the show will bring.
Your brand is growing everyday, so what else can we expect to see from you in the future? What are your plans for NAID’S ?
Expect to see more high end fashion and representation of underserved African deisgners, and my plan for NAID’S is to take it to the ends of the the world one design at a time and eventually have outlets in several countries across the globe.
And for closure, would you say that dreams are worth following? What would you say to young people who are struggling with this doubt right now?
Absolutely, I don’t know where or what i will be if I didn’t bet on myself and followed my dreams. And to everyone out there, YOUR DREAMS ARE VALID. Greatness takes time, so be patient, find ways to enjoy the journey and when in doubt remember why you started in the first place.