meet Damilola the female shoe designer - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

Meet Damilola – The Female Shoes Designer

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Damilola Unuigbe, also known as Dami D, designs and produces handmade luxury shoes for women.

meet Damilola the female shoe designer - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

Damilola has always been obsessed with shoes. “How the right pair can make your feet look so pretty. My mother is shoe-obsessed as well, so I grew up believing that your shoes had to match your outfit or at the very least your gele.”

“A few years back I thought of starting my own shoe line, but the prospect seemed so daunting and impossible then. Fast forward to last year, the idea wouldn’t leave my head. I kept thinking how as African women we wear such vibrant colours and fabrics; why not have shoes to represent that.”

“So many times I have gotten dressed in an odd yet beautiful colour and wished I had a pair of shoes to compliment the outfit perfectly. Sometimes a colour or a style you want or like isn’t in season, and I thought to myself why the restriction? So I decided to do it afraid and just jump in and see where the journey would take me.”

Speaking about her challenges, she has this to say. “I would say the main challenge is quality control. Not just in the making of my footwear, but also sourcing for materials locally. I try very hard not to import my materials. But I have to admit finding a consistent supply of good quality materials can be quite challenging.”

meet Damilola the female shoe designer - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

Summer tropical background, fern leaves

“If they aren’t in the market at the time you need them, there is not much you can do. I want to show the world and Nigerians alike that we can make products that would rival those already on the international stage.”

She finds inspiration in a wide range of things. “This is a tough and yet easy question at the same time. I draw inspiration from everything. It’s almost impossible to narrow it down.”

A project that increased her belief in herself was when she made two pairs of shoes for her first bride. “I was so nervous because she wanted colours I didn’t have at the time. I needed to make sure the colours she requested matched the picture of the fabrics she sent. We had a few hiccups along the way.”

meet Damilola the female shoe designer - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

“But the glowing review she gave made so happy, I was literally dancing round my room. The fact that she trusted us with something for her big day was monumental to me. It really made me feel like ok, yes I can do this!”

“To me this business is just not about having a fashion line, it’s about the people working with me that make this a great business,” Damilola stated when answering the question about future opportunities. “Initially when I first started, I found some workers that I was just blown away by their level of talent and dedication. I want to be able to create jobs, and give people who have such talents opportunities to be able to make a decent living and show the world that Nigerians can do great things.”

meet Damilola the female shoe designer - the spark youth empowerment platforms in nigeria

She also gave her opinion on youth empowerment. “I believe very strongly in youth empowerment, like I stated previously there are so many of them out there that have such a wealth of talent but have no outlet for it. The Youth need to be reached out to.”

“The youths also need to understand and acknowledge the problems they face in Nigeria today and think of ways to overcome these challenges. Knowledge is power, and by understanding the current issues of the country more decisive action can be taken. Workshops, training sessions that teach children and young adults alike to think outside of the box could be very beneficial to many.”

Reach her on

Instagram: @issaandkendi

Website: www.issaandkendi.com

Phone Number: 0701 938 8446

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The Spark is a youth empowerment platform in Nigeria that projects the average Nigerian youth doing something, anything positive. Our mission is to reach out to as many youths, “EMPOWER and ENGAGE!!!