For those who haven’t caught wind of the exploits of Nigerian-born Los Angeles based designer Bryant Ugonna Irele, he is the founder of Lykos Gonna – a fashion forward brand that is shaping streetwear on an incredible scale.
Speaking to the Vanguard, he sheds some light on his life, career trajectory and fast growing brand ‘Lykos Gonna’
Kindly introduce yourself ?
I’m Bryant Ugonna Iriele, a fashion entrepreneur and businessman with a deep admiration for fashion in its various manifestations.
Growing up did you have an interest in fashion as a kid and who were your early fashion influences?
I have always had an interest in fashion from an early age. Style helps us communicate and express what we want as individuals. It’s part of us; it’s who we are and our heritage.
How did Lykos Gonna come about ?
I founded Lykos Gonna during my college days, although I always felt a need to see how creativity could bring people together. So it seemed like a good way to achieve that.
You studied industrial and management system engineering in university, at what point did you realize you would go in a different direction from what you were studying?
Going a different direction wasn’t premeditated but I believe in today’s environment; we need anything that can be of great help and I wanted to utilize my Industrial engineering skills with fashion.
What’s Your Motivation?
Being in a happy state of mind and my family, I come from a family that’s shown support to each other in whatever way they can. I believe one can achieve whatever goals they set to succeed if they go after it and believe in themselves. I have come to realize that being patient is one of the keys to success. When your patient, you’re more likely to take on the right steps to achieve success.
Why did you choose fashion designing as a career?
Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be part of the manufacturing industry, and one of the ways I could achieve that was through the fashion industry.
In your opinion, what are the skills that are necessary for becoming a successful fashion designer?
God is a massive influence with my success in fashion. Every other thing comes after. I.e.confidence, patience, and gratitude. All this one can acquire while serving God. God makes everything possible as long as we put him first in anything we desire to accomplish.
To you, what are the most important facets of the fashion industry?
The most important thing in the fashion industry is identity. First, understanding where you are coming from, being aware of where you currently are, and where you want to be in the future. You create a plan. Which sometimes changes, but the goal doesn’t.
What milestone achievement do you have in mind to attain with Lykos Gonna
It is my belief that success should be infinite so I don’t create milestones because they too can be restrictive. I want people to be able to recognize the brand and then like it for what it represents.
You’re a Nigerian designer operating outside the country, how do you stay connected with homegrown/local trends or do you overlook those entirely?
There is a saying that the fruit doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Nigeria is a huge chunk of me; I can share my culture because that’s who I’m; being a designer, you can design an enterprise that can operate anywhere on the globe.
What’s the difference between fashion and style to you?
Fashion is what companies put together, and style is what an individual creates. Both are God-given gifts.
Looking back, is there anything you would’ve done differently?
Yes, seeking help from people who are in the industries I’m looking to be a part of and learning from their personal experiences because they would definitely have a thing or two to teach me.