Nigerian designers have been moving differently in recent years. That much is undeniable as we continue to see more eye-catching designs, more bespoke outfits tailored to perfection, more breathtaking pieces that Nigerians can actually relate with and wear proudly, even on global stages.

We are constantly being treated to superb offerings from various designers creating solely with Nigerians in mind. And it looks like it will only get better as there doesn’t seem to be any sign of them slowing down; not the famous, well-celebrated brands, nor the creators bursting onto the scene in epic fashion.

Enter, Melodia NG and their hugely successful Alexis Dress

One of Twitter NG’s best stories of late 2020 and 2021 so far has been the emergence of The Alexis dress, and its mindblowing reception.

These fabulous ready-to-wear are created with various patterned fabrics of different colour themes. Each one is designed with a high neck and a signature ruching on the side which can be string-drawn to ride all the way up the thigh depending on how sexy the wearer is feeling at each given time.

When I reached out to Melodia Ebete, the brand’s founder and creative director, she tells me about starting out after university out of a penchant for "dressing women in her head... putting fabrics and colours together and imagining how’d look on women." What we see now as the Alexis dress, she says, is one manifestation of those vivid visualizations she used to have.

Then I asked her a few other questions and it went like this...

How has the Alexis Dress’ explosion been for the brand?

“I should say first, that the ‘explosion’ though unplanned has been phenomenal. When I started Melodia, it was my dream that at least one Melodia dress be hung in a woman’s closet and I can say this is literally happening - perhaps through the Alexis Dress going viral. Of course, this means that we have to put in more work hours, more hands were brought on deck and a lot more goes into logistics. But overall, it’s been an amazing experience.”

I know your brand does more than ready-to-wear outfits. Tell me about that.

“What a lot of people do not know is that Melodia started out making Asoebi. For the longest time, it was asoebi and after a while, we decided to branch into modern, aesthetically pleasing ready-to-wear pieces which in the long run, birthed the Alexis Dress, the FK jumpsuit and the Sally two-piece. This means that asides ready-to-wear, we still do asoebi pieces. In fact. We never stopped.”

What’s being worked on at the moment?

A lot of focus at the moment is ensuring that a lot of logistics issues are sorted and we can deliver dresses in record time. Asides that, there is always a new design in the works. The truth is that I'm always sketching designs, looking out for distinct prints, trying my hands at different cuts and working with a team that is able to buy into my creative bursts.

You tweeted against the sexualizing of your customers on social media. And as a brand in the women's fashion space, your opinion is obviously relevant on such subjects. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on the intersection between women wearing clothes that make themselves feel sexy and the sexualization that could result from that.

“One of the things that inspired me to go into fashion design was the African woman. The African woman fascinates me; her body is beautiful and I saw how prints could make it even more so.

So when we put up pictures and the first thing people do is sexualize these women, it sits wrongly with me. No matter what a female is wearing, there should be no judgement - no over-sexualization of the woman. All women should have the ability to decide what to wear and when to wear it, free of judgement and condescension of others. I believe that every woman’s definition of sexy is different.”

The Alexis dress retails at 13,000 at the time of this piece and can be purchased here.