#Throwback Thursday: Lanre Da Silva Ajayi speaks on how she deals with her critics

This week at tw, we stumbled on this picture of Adesuwa Onyenokwe and Lanre Da Silva dancing during a photo shoot. The playful energy between them is infectious, and it is easy to tell that they had a fabulous time in front of the camera.

This picture made us go back to the November 2013 edition, where Lanre opened up to us on many issues including her one of a kind designs, her shade throwing critics, and her super talented team.


On her critics

Hard work, a vision and a sprinkle of fortuitous moments got the woman and the brand to this point of success, but not everyone attributes her success to her handiwork. There have been suggestions that her connections got her to where she is today – but people “throwing shade” (i.e. admiring her success and discounting it at the same time) has been part and parcel of the industry almost since it began, and she refuses to let such things throw her off-kilter. “You never let it get to you,” Lanre says.  

We have provided brief excerpts from the cover story below.

On her clothes

LDA has made strides that few African designers have achieved, and she has done it without sacrificing taste, originality, or refined sensibility. Her aesthetic is a marriage of old world charm and the contemporary that appeals to someone who is into couture. “I think the brand appeals to someone who is into couture…The LDA woman is a woman who embraces colour, and loves to be classy and edgy at the same time,” Lanre says. The classic, almost demure designs are at once edgy and yet quiet, a tough line to tread successfully. Lanre has made it her signature and her success is more than evident. “I am very particular about boldness, I want my designs to be edgy and yet bold.”

On her team

Much of the success of LDA as a brand stems from her ability to understand that she does not know it all. Lanre’s surrounded by people she trusts explicitly, and they are often direct and blunt in their opinions. The cordiality and professionalism in her relationships with the people that are a part of her team, who exhibit an honest ad unfettered directness is somewhat refreshing and rare, especially in a society where gains in respect come at the cost of honesty. “Trust is important to me, very important. In anything at all, you need people that actually see where you are going, where you are taking your business, and believe in you – and I believe in them as well. It helps with flexibility, and I’m very accessible.”

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