Fashion Focus: JZO Designs
JZO is a Menswear Fashion Brand owned by JZO Fashion Nig. Ltd. The brand was founded in 2014 by the duo of Joseph O. Ike, and Olamide E. Akindeinde fashion enthusiasts with a unique perspective on African Fashion as a whole and menswear in particular. At JZO, We believe African Fashion does not necessarily need to remain “Traditional”, but could be “Contemporary”. We envision a simple, unique, elegant and contemporary style of Menswear influenced heavily by African Themes.
Tell us about yourself, growing up, family background, education and all.
Ola: I was born and bred here in Lagos. My first foray out of Lagos was for the University at Federal University of Technology Akure, where I studied Biochemistry. So I guess I’d describe myself as a core “Lagosian”, I certainly have that “go getter” attitude that you find with most people who’ve spent most their time in Lagos.
Joe: I was also born in Lagos, but we grew up in Benin, left Benin in secondary school to Florida where I completed my high school. I studied Pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Sciences in Philadelphia, and came back home to Lagos in 2007. I later moved up to Kaduna 3 years later and now I shuttle back and forth between Kaduna and Lagos.
What else do you do for a living?
Joe: Besides JZO, I’m the Program Director at the Milestones Centre for Addiction Management where we provide treatment and rehabilitation services primarily for people with substance use disorders. And I’m also the Coordinator of the Milestones Rehabilitation Foundation, a non profit organization focused on developing institutional capacity in Nigeria to provide evidence based treatment for people with substance use disorders and other mental illnesses, as well as advocacy for policy reform.
Please fill us in on your rise to fame and how did it all start?
I doubt either of us would consider ourselves famous, but then in August 2014, we both felt that we had a unique perspective to offer when it comes to traditional men’s wear. We knew we could make natives contemporary, and we felt the time was right to do this and so we just went with it, and JZO was born.
Which of your many jobs excite you the most?
Joe: Everything I do excites me, and in a way provides balance in my life. Whichever one I happen to be doing at any given time, excites me the most at that time.
What other areas of your career are you looking to explore?
Ola: Couple of years back I worked with a number of notable Celebrity Stylists, and it was a learning experience that’s proved useful for us throughout this process, and it’s an area I’m still looking forward to exploring.
What has been the high point of your Fashion Career?
Without a doubt, showcasing at the Ankara Miami Fashion week in Feb. 2015. The show itself was amazing in so many ways, it’s the first African themed Fashion show in Florida and it was incredibly well organized. However, what we value the most is the friendships we built, infact, JZO is presently working on a “top-secret” (lol) project with Ankara Miami Inc. So stay tuned.
What has been the lowest so far?
Getting started for sure. Building a brand no be beans (lol). We were full of ideas, and we were so sure that once we get them out, the whole world would stand still and take notice, but we’ve had to learn that it takes alot more than having a great idea to build a business. It was a tough lesson to learn, but it was worth it!