She is fearless and daring. She tries, compilates, assembles, she accessorizes and stays true to herself. With her innovative personality and her edgy sense of style, Didi Akinyelure, the British-Nigerian head and mind behind the brand April & Alex, empowers women through dramatic and detailed pieces. And for SS21, eyes beware, A&A strikes. Hard.
April & Alex, a UK-based contemporary womenswear brand named after Didi's two children, one of which sketched the Tami dress for SS21, was created to put fashion-forward on the scene for good. A brand imagined for the true fashionista, individuals who ooze confidence and are never afraid to be heard nor seen. A brand "that is just about having that nature to be fearless".
Didi's inspirations? Effortlessly stylish women who stand up for themselves and their beliefs, who embody the type of clientele April & Alex has in mind; from Beyoncé boldness to Meghan Markle's firmly-grounded mind or Michelle Obama's confidence. Yet her first and closer to home inspirations are her grandmother with her unique fashion choices and her mother, owner of a tailoring business that allowed Didi to breathe fashion growing up. And taught her that "trends come and go but style never goes out of style".
An Award-winning journalist, creative director and a fashion blogger in her earlier years, Didi has the eye for detail and she puts it to good use.
And when you see the SS21 collection, you quickly understand that that risk and an extroverted mindset had an undeniable impact on the collection. Only strong figures and inspirations make up the concept of "Audax". Edgy styles. Mind blowing roundness in shapes and clean-cut, feminine, strength-bearing volume that scream bold and fierce.
Something in Didi's mind whispered for her to offer something out there, extra and exaggerated to the world and she fairy-powder-sprinkled her own fashion sense of style to get this marvelous collection. Between very shiny and very matte fabrics, huge puff sleeves, and shoulder pads, each SS21 garment boasts dramatic aesthetics and each are one-of-a-kind.
This season is an April & Alex London Fashion Week debut in the form of a successful virtual fashion film for Fashion Scout followed by her Paris Fashion Week launch hitting the runway on October 3rd.
The daringly innovative designer, who keeps a striking appeal throughout all of her collections, made the most out of the lockdown situation to brainstorm with inspirations from previous travels. Indeed, with ten years' experience as a journalist behind her, "It's a lot of inspiration here and there that you need to take pictures of and that sort of stays with you".
To say that bringing out Audax to the world this year was a challenge is an understatement. "Everything was done online. Everything had to be done between three months and it was all done remotely, even down to picking fabric. Speaking to the team was done online, the sketching, the manufacturing". With samples being sent back and forth without being able to "go to the fabric showroom and get the feel of the fabric" and while working remotely presented the challenge of not even being able to meet some of the people in the process of creation, she achieved putting out eye-catching silhouettes for any woman carefree enough to wear an April & Alex piece. A toast to the boss lady and her budding bold brand.