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We catch up with co-founder Sylvia Enekwe-Ojei, who tells us how authenticity drives her brand.

By Lindsay Samson

June 17, 2022

It’s long been hypothesized that twins share a particularly unique psychological connection that is comparably more intense than the bonds between siblings who did not share a womb. For twin sisters and founders of Nigerian fashion brand Gozel Green, Sylvia Enekwe-Ojei, and Olivia Enekwe-Okoji, this certainly seems to be the case. Raised in Enugu, a state in the southeast of Nigeria, both demonstrated an innate proclivity toward fashion early on, which drove them both to pursue degrees in Art and Economics at the Igbinedion University Okada and, ultimately, led to them joining forces in the creation of their brand.

“Two is always better than one,” Sylvia tells Industrie Africa. “Working with my twin sister makes things easier, definitely. Often, our ideas mirror the other, so there is very little friction between us regarding the design process. We think alike, our tastes are similar, and we’re guided by the same aesthetics. As a result, there is a strong level of trust, which can be very freeing. Our bond is almost like an unspoken contract; she’s not just a partner, she’s my sister.”

But the bond between Sylvia and Olivia isn’t the only familial element that drives the brand; their parents, both of whom have enjoyed successful careers in the creative industries, have had and continue to have an immense influence on the creative and design processes of their collections.



Sylvia Enekwe-Ojei and Olivia Enekwe-Okoji. Photo: via Haute Fashion Africa.

 “We grew up in a very artistic, art-loving family,” explains Sylvia. “Our dad was a renowned theater practitioner, and our mother had studied fashion at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology—so every piece by Gozel Green is inspired by our father’s words, poems, and short stories. Our mother guides us in our design process; we send her sketches, and she helps us from inception up to showing the collections.”

Founded in 2010, Gozel Green has since solidified itself as one of Nigeria’s labels-to-watch. Since its establishment, the twins have shown their collections notable events around the world, including Milan Fashion Week and Lagos Fashion Week. As a result, they have been nominated for many awards, including The Future Awards Africa Prize for Fashion and Design and the Jaguar Fashion Award. The brand was also featured in Vogue Italia’s The Next Green Talents (a scouting project led by the publication) in 2018, and that same year was listed as one of the Top Ten Fashion Brands at Arise Fashion Week.

Driven by a mission to tell African stories in an unconventional, original, and artistic way, every collection of garments produced by Gozel Green visibly draws inspiration from the natural landscape of Enugu. This is ‌evident in the sisters’ boldly playful use of color, something Sylvia tells us is a defining element of the brand. From the region’s rolling hills, lush greenery, and gorgeous climate to the red earthen, beige, and burgundy colors of the sand, all these aspects of the environment in which they were raised come into play during the conceptualization of a collection, collections that Sylvia describes as for “the woman who is not afraid to stand out.”

Gozel Green SS'21 Collection. Photo: via @gozelgreen.

Gozel Green SS'21 Collection. Photo: via @gozelgreen.

Gozel Green SS'21 Collection. Photo: via @gozelgreen.

“When you see a Gozel Green piece, you will see a unique, artistic, original collection,” she says. “It’s a brand for strong women, for the woman who is not intimidated by being noticed.”

As the name suggests, Gozel Green is committed to production practices that prioritize sustainability. By utilizing upcycling methods and incorporating scraps of fabric that would otherwise be discarded into their work, they aim to minimize the waste the fashion industry creates as much as possible. “This is something that really comes from our childhood,” Sylvia states. “Because our mum was a fashion designer, we would use her offcuts to make our own dresses for our dolls. In our latest range, upcycled cutoffs were a primary element, and in the future, we will focus on working with fabrics that are 100% sustainable.”

Retro Girl Denim Shirt Dress. Photo: courtesy of Gozel Green.

Classy Girl Occasion Dress. Photo: courtesy of Gozel Green.

Chic Girl Hollow Top and Smart Girl Scallop Skirt. Photo: courtesy of Gozel Green.

Called “True,” their most recent collection—which was met with acclaim at last October’s Lagos Fashion Week—reinforces the message of authenticity that Sylvia tells us is the bedrock of the brand. To create pieces that appealed to a diverse array of women, Sylvia and Olivia based their garments on various fashion archetypes. As a result, each piece is designed to communicate to a certain kind of woman, including 'The Cool Girl,' 'The Chic Girl,' 'The Artsy Girl,' and 'The Smart Girl.' “This collection advocates for you to be your true self,” Sylvia says. 

From scalloped skirts and patchwork jackets to denim shirt dresses and matching sets, the collection’s contemporary silhouettes seamlessly merge with unexpected fabrics, including crepe, denim, and satin. Each piece embodies elegance and versatility that makes it easy to transition from day to night, taking its wearer straight from the office to a dinner party. For Sylvia, the collection’s positive reception signifies a clear evolution of the sensibilities of the Nigerian shopper.

“When we started the brand, the Nigerian fashion industry didn’t really understand our aesthetic or the deconstruction element, so the audience wasn’t really there for us yet,” she says. “Over the years, however, I think people started to see the reception we got from the international fashion community, and that started to change. We now have very loyal, trusted, passionate clients who understand our aesthetics and that African designers have original voices for storytelling and rich cultures. So things are changing and growing, and both Olivia and I are proud to be a part of that.”

Shop the Designer

Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt
Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt
Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt
Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt
Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt
Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt

Gozel Green

Arty Girl Elastic Denim Skirt

$176
Chic Girl Hollow Top
Chic Girl Hollow Top
Chic Girl Hollow Top
Chic Girl Hollow Top
Chic Girl Hollow Top
Chic Girl Hollow Top

Gozel Green

Chic Girl Hollow Top

$240
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt
Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt

Gozel Green

Smart Girl Scallop Slit Skirt

$240
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set
Sassy Girl Hollow Set

Gozel Green

Sassy Girl Hollow Set

$440
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt
Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt

Gozel Green

Jazzy Girl Patchwork Skirt

$280
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top
Jazzy Girl Top

Gozel Green

Jazzy Girl Top

$176