Gbemisola Akinwande

Fabulous Designer: Gbemisola Akinwande

Phoenix Fashion Week, the leading fashion industry event in the Southwest, returns Oct. 20 and Oct. 21 at Chateau Luxe. Today, meet participating designer Gbemisola Akinwande of Olóládé

Hometown: Phoenix

First fashion job: My first fashion job was as an intern. I was in Nigeria; I kind of hired myself for that job. There was a tailor next to my house, and I would go and sit with her all day. She started showing me a few things and soon let me use the sewing machine in her shop, and that was how I started.

When did you know you had a passion for fashion: In my second year in college, when I redesigned a T-shirt with a bra strap. People fell in love with it. Of course, they didn’t know it was a bra strap. That was when I knew there was something there.

A person who has impacted your fashion life the most and why: Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn (former hosts of “Project Runway” and now hosts of “Making the Cut” on Amazon). When I started designing, one of my friends told me about “Project Runway.” I started watching it in Nigeria and that show inspired me to dream big in fashion and also mentored me as a young, self-taught designer.

Your biggest fashion accomplishment in your eyes and why: Running a fashion business as a mom of three! It’s an accomplishment to me because I thought having kids will be the end of fashion, but I’ve been able to do more even with my kids.

The biggest fashion obstacle you have overcome: I’ve received a lot of ‘nos,’ so many doors have been closed, but I’ve never allowed any of that to stop me.


A designer who inspires you and why: I love Victoria Beckham! The brand really inspires me because of it’s minimalist and luxury aesthetic.

Favorite quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” –Nelson Mandela

Advice to someone pursuing a career in fashion as a designer: Don’t! Just kidding. Fashion is HARD! You get a lot of ‘nos’ and rejections. You have to be resilient and be determined not to give up.

How has the Phoenix Fashion Week #DesignerBootcamp impacted your brand? Phoenix Fashion week as impacted my brand greatly in such a short time. I’ve met some amazing people. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve been pushed and stretched farther than I thought possible. PFW is helping me to grow as a designer. Growing is never comfortable, but it’s necessary to get to where you want to be. I’m so grateful for being selected for the Emerging Designers Bootcamp. It is exactly what I need to be the brand I dream to be.

What can fans expect to see from your collection in October? The collection is going to be fun, fluid and fascinating! The pieces are going to be very versatile, and it will show a lot of range. There will be something for every woman.

See this runway brand in person! Purchase tickets for Phoenix Fashion Week 2022 at Use promo code FABAZ for a $25 gift card good toward any seat (not applicable toward VIP front-row tickets).

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *