Meet Dennis Osadebe The Man Disrupting The African Fashion Industry founder and C.E.O of D&D Clothing
Dennis Osadebe is the founder of D&D Clothing with the head office in Dubai. Being more than 10 years in the entertainment business in Nigeria, he has seen the lack of professionally made costumes and artistic clothing. That’s how we start our office in Dubai, by creating different custom made orders.
Now Dennis Osadebe is a motivational speaker, promoting Africa and African fashion all over the world. After having different branches and representatives in Europe, Canada, the US, and Australia we are back home to Africa and opened our first branch in Kenya.
Ann Mumbi: Can you describe D&D Clothing Company, the idea, and concept as if I knew nothing about it or the market it is in?
Dennis Osadebe: D&D Clothing is an international fashion brand with an African soul. We don’t just do fashion, we create an African Fashion Movement that will reach every home. We have achieved big success because of the belief and hard work of our D&D family. We create 6 amazing collections per year for males and females and divide our products in 3 directions business casual, Urbach chic, and glamour.
Our main goal is to be represented in different countries, where people are proud to wear MADE IN AFRICA. Being the number 1 brand in the Middle East, gave us the possibility to produce our own fabrics that have a special story. Our own production is located in Kenya, from where we distribute items to all showrooms and shops. Started far from home with a lot of difficulties We are finally back in Africa because that’s where we belong to! AFRICA IS HOME!
AM: What were you doing before D&D Clothing Company, and what motivated you to start the business?
DO: I (Dennis Osadebe) was into the entertainment business in Nigeria, I’m the one who brought Nollywood to Asaba! But I wanted to grow outside Africa, I know we can do it. I see so many talented people in Africa and they need to be out there to expose!
AM: What techniques do you use? Tell us about the process.
DO: If we are talking about production techniques – we use only the latest technology of production. It’s about IT control, it about the latest machines for patterns, for stitching. We are very keen on everything the best, and invest a lot in production and people.
AM: How did you learn/master this technique and why do you use it?
DO: We try to learn from the best, of course, as well you never learn better than from your own mistakes. But we learn from others as well
AM: What challenges did you face?
DO: The main and the biggest challenge for any business is a team. It’s not easy to find people who will be there with you in water and fire. But it’s possible. So we always keep looking for the best team.
AM: How did the obstacles make you feel?
DO: There is nothing you cannot do in this world. So you only become stronger.
AM: What were your achievements?
DO: Our main achievement is to win 3rd place in the World Fashion Awards, which we are very proud of. we were the first African company ever that took place and we were right after Italy. which gives us so much courage to do more, we are limitless.
AM: Favorite moments?
DO: Once per year, we do African Fashion Party, that’s such an amazing moment, where we invite our customers, all team and partners from different countries, and we make a crazy party in African style with all D&D Clothing dresses.
People can choose any of the designs, we create them and it becomes one of the favorite moments of the year not only for us but for our customers as well.
Check our latest in Dubai
The next one we are planning to make it in Kenya!
AM: How do you get dressed in the morning?
DO: I have a plan for my dressing for one week, and of course, I wear only my own brand. As well once per month or two, I have days when I test our new designs, It’s the biggest test control in our company! I’m very strict about dressing, it should not be only stylish, but it should be comfortable, you should feel on top of the rook on it.
AM: What’s your take on the Kenya fashion industry?
DO: We have seen a lot of talented people in Kenya, amazing designers, models, but they are lacking practical education. I hope in the future we will create a base and education for designers to blow all over the world.
AM: How different is the Kenya fashion industry compared to East Africa and Africa’s fashion industry at large?
DO: I think the main difference is opportunities, in East Africa, it is so easy to blow if you do professional things, Not only in fashion, a lot of opportunities that people don’t see.
AM: Any future collaboration with Kenyan or International fashion designers?
DO: We hope in the future to collaborate with talented fashion designers
AM: If you were given the opportunity to work with a local or international fashion designer who will you love to work with?
DO: We would work with Philipp Plein. I hope next year we will do something together.
AM: What are your thoughts on fashion in Africa?
DO: I think it’s at the peak of demand now. It’s a culture that did not die like in any other country. Where do you see people in Europe wearing traditional clothing?
Even by the way officially they don’t even have anything traditional. So African fashion will be growing only all over the world.
AM: What has changed during this period of Covid-19?
DO: The main challenges are to change the business strategy for the next 1-2 years. Keep all the team while the profit was reduced. But it’s a good time to do more.
AM: How has D&D Clothing Company adopted the new technology virtual fashion show during and after the Coronavirus pandemic?
DO: VR fashion shows is not a new technology but it’s something that people have seen just now, during covid. New technology is for example Augmented reality. Its future fabrics with molecular structure, different Self-healing materials with the ability to heal after being wounded. That’s the new technologies.
AM: How are African fashion designers influencing fashion in the western world?
DO: They are influencing by their creativity. Our African people are more creative than westerns. So if you see African person in the western world, they have every chance to be number 1
AM: What can the Kenyan fashion industry learn from the western world?
DO: They can learn how to do business. Management, timing, any operational area, sometimes I can request for information or quotation from the company and they will send me after 3 days.
Like you are begging people for you to send them money. You will never see this kind of way of doing business in the western world.
AM: Over the last few years have you noticed any significant changes with the African fashion trends?
DO: African fashion will always be trendy
AM: When dealing with Africa is it important for the fashion world to be ethical and socially responsible, and put in place strong corporate social responsibility governance?
DO: It is important, but if you will check, it’s not so easy to do in Africa like to say.
AM: Tell us about The JW Show or Kenyan Fashion week and your experience at the Show.
DO: Amazing creative guys, I adore their ideas, they have a big future.
AM: Where can we find your designs?
DO: You can find our designs on our website danddclothing.com
AM: Share with us your social media platforms or a website
DO: We can be reached through our social platforms.
AM: What does eCommerce mean to you and your business?
DO: It’s a must. If you are not online – you don’t exist.
AM: Do you think eCommerce is important for African fashion designers that are trying to get recognized and reach a global market?
DO: Highly important. It’s a must. You supposed to start yesterday
AM: How does your strategy change when running an online store to an offline store?
DO: The strategies by themselves are different for online and offline stores.
But offline is dying, The companies that have been on the market for more than 240 years now like Debenhams they just shut down and filed for bankruptcy. And in Africa after 5-7 years, people will stop buying offline.
AM: Where do you see African fashion in the next 5 to 10 years?
DO: I see it number 1 by popularity among all people in the world
AM: What 5 pieces of advice would you give to young African fashion designers wanting to enter the fashion industry?
- Don’t be afraid
- Show, don’t tell
- Do everything and anything
- Don’t do it alone
- Don’t listen to anyone
AM: Is there anything else you would like to add?
DO: I would like to say that I’m proud to be an African and I want all people around the world to be proud of wearing MADE IN AFRICA. And all of us have a chance to do it!