Average reading time: 7 minutes.
If you had asked the brothers behind 101 Avenue what they wanted to be when they were children, the answer would not have included content creation or fashion – yet the creative industry is all the better for their change of heart. Having first customised the clothing given to them as their Christmas gifts (and receiving an angry reception from their father), years later, it is being in this creative flow that has brought them their success as content creators and fashionistas. Read on to discover how fashion took them from Christmas gifts to the catwalk.
Can you tell us a little bit about your background? What made you decide to start working in fashion?
Oghenero: We were both born in Udu, Delta State, Nigeria. Back then, there was no technology. You couldn’t just put stuff out onto the internet, or look at stuff on there like we can do today. Growing up, we had interest in different things, we wanted to become a lawyer and a basketball player or maybe go into the military.
Oghenenyerhovwo: Oghenero is very fashionable, and many people looked up to him. People always complimented him. He put clothes together and everyone watched how much he enjoyed dressing. He was always customising his clothing. He never likes clothes the way they are. And that influenced us too. We remember that for Christmas when we got an outfit with jeans, Oghenero didn’t like the jeans – so he ripped them, he changed them, and customised them for himself into something he enjoyed wearing. My dad would get so angry about that! He’d see what we did as spoiling our clothes.
So that was how it started for us. We enjoy making something different, and looking different to every other person. It’s not something we made a decision about. It’s just something we like doing.
How did 101 Avenue start? How did you move into your limited, custom-made Nike Air Force 1’s?
Oghenenyerhovwo: We started 101 Avenue by selling sneakers. When the pandemic hit all of the drops were so slow, and at points there wasn’t even a drop. So we had to figure out something to do. Then all of a sudden, my brother just started customizing. It was just natural. It just came in. I decided that I just wanted to customize these Air Force 1’s to go with this outfit – and it grew from there.
Oghenero: You want to be able to put on a sneaker that no one has ever had, and you wanna be able to like inspire people. And the biggest thing for us is when people put them on and they’re so happy to wear them. It’s great to see something that you’ve created inspire others around you. When you put on something fly, you know that it makes you stand out, it gives you that confidence to move around. You can be in any room, you can talk to anybody you want to talk to, it gives you that stance.
What has been the biggest challenge that you’ve faced in your creative career? How did you overcome it?
Oghenero: There are challenges in everything that you do. But we don’t stress about them. We embrace them. If you don’t have challenges you’re doing something wrong! Currently one of the challenges for us is to find the right type of materials that can turn our ideas into reality and match our vision – especially finding the right resources and fabrics. This is something that we are working hard to conquer, and it is leading us to discover many genuine people, those who can take us to the next level. So we are actually excited about that.
What has been the highlight of your creative career so far? What made it the highlight for you?
Oghenenyerhovwo: I know we have more exciting things coming, so we don’t even feel like we even have a real highlight yet. But if I had to pick something, I came across MaXhosa in 2020 when their store opened at the Waterfront. Before the drop of their recent collection, I got a message from them that they wanted me to model for their runway show. It was quite an exciting thing for me.
Do you have any advice for the youth who want to go into the creative industry?
There is no appropriate time to start. You don’t have to wait for it. Just start with what you have. Jump into it before you even think of the depth. Just jump into it and do whatever you want to do. There’s always growth, so enjoy the process – because you have to start from somewhere.