Yemi Osunkoya: King of bridal couture
Yemi Osunkoya is the award-winning designer behind the Kosibah label. Kosibah specializes in contemporary and elegant couture bridal, evening and formal day wear using luxurious fabrics and sumptuous embellishments.
Yemi established the Kosibah brand in London in 1991 and naming it in honour of his mother, Cosiba (the name is of Republic of Benin origin; of a female born on a Sunday).
Yemi Osunkoya’s signature use of corsetry and boned bodices cleverly recreates the classical and elegant hourglass figure, producing gowns that curve, shape and flatter the wearer. All gowns are made to measure and made to order. With meticulous attention to detail, the designs are made from individual body measurements.
Celebrated clients include Louise Rose, leading actress of Universal film Life & Lyrics, Alesha Harvey, Sheila Ferguson formerly of the Three Degrees, Hollywood actress Indra Ové, Miss World Agbani Darego, and singer Stephanie Benson. Kosibah’s clientele is truly worldwide, although particularly well represented in the UK, Nigeria, and the USA.
In an interview during the Lagos Bridal Fashion Week runway show where the couture dressmaker recently showcased a collection, he spoke about his work ethic which he described as driven and compassionate and how he has learnt over time learnt the importance of developing and nurturing networking relationships with vendors in businesses related to his; saying it’s been vital both to the growth and sustainability of his business and helpful on a personal level.
Yemi Kosibah also said,“My greatest fear was that people may not like my designs and patronize my business. I overcame it by initially accepting every commission that came my way, from evening gowns, wedding dresses, tailored suits for women as well as formal and casual menswear. Then, I realized I hated doing menswear. I also realized that, because of the labour-intensive, bespoke nature of the way I was trained, casualwear was too time-consuming to be viable business-wise. Organically, I began to specialize in bridal and evening wear.
“I have dressed] two members of the British Parliament and two daughters of a Peer to the British realm, both at the Palace of Westminster. [I was invited] to St James’s Palace to meet HRH Prince Charles as one of the African diasporas in the UK doing great things in their line of business. I’ve also dressed daughters of Nigerian and Ghanaian Royalty. I appreciate and have been humbled by all these opportunities.”
Images from: Yemi Osunkoya.