The Nigerian culture, especially in terms of clothing has adopted the beautiful styles and desgin set by these fashion kings and queens who have been able to portray our culture without smothering it with the western fashion, but bringing out its own strong voice through their designs. Below are our top ten Nigerian fashion designers rocking the industry today.
DEOLA SAGOE , This amazing designer is one of the pioneers of contemporary Nigerian fashion. Interestingly, she made a name for herself by designing her mum’s label, “Odua” for ten years. The leading lady of African fashion is an Haute couture fashion designer from Ondo State in Nigeria.
Deola, the incredibly industrious and talented designer launched her eponymous brand in 2008, which is now a household name in Nigeria. She was one of the first designers to make Nigerian fashion modern and she is known for her glamorous pieces.
In her own words, she is a woman with many layers ‘much like the multilayered designs I craft.’ These layers consist of motherhood (mother to three wonderful children:Teni,Aba and Tiwa who now have a clothing line ‘CLAN’), degrees from the University of Miami, University of Lagos and Masters in Finance and Management.
Deola inform, “I try to fuse African cultural style with a modern approach to design. I love the dynamism of creating modernity out of something that is steeped in history. I think it’s what gives my collection such a cultural mix.”
Ade Bakare With twenty successful years in the fashion scene, Ade Bakare is a name too familiar to most London and Nigerian high society belles. ‘Evening gowns so elegant, day gowns so exquisite and wedding gowns so lush, it’s a picture that makes a heart bleed’ , Ade Bakare’s creations have that effect on every lady. With fabrics that flow and finishes, Ade Bakare is one of the Nigerian designers that make Nigeria proud. He started his line in LondFees for All Degree Courses .
Adeleke on, making clothes for boutiques in the UK and France. Finally opened salons in London and Nigeria which has since been tending to his high end clientele till date. He has also added a perfume line called Breeze and a jersey line and named it Ade Breeze to his many achievements.
Over ten years ago the warm and pretty Lanre Da Silva Ajayi’s clothing line was founded; it took the brand only a short while to make huge impact and soon became famous. Every design from LDA always brought it a wave of nostalgia and the
desire to step out from the crowd and stand out.
The truth is, no matter the LDA outfit you want to rock, one look at Larne Da Silva Ajayi’s pretty face and perfect smile, you know there’s nothing to worry about, because the outfit is sure going to be perfect like her smile.
Folake Coker is the founder of the world famous brand Tiffany Amber. At an early age Folake was exposed to diffent culture.
Born in Lagos and schooled all over Europe (Switzerland,Scotland and England), she developed a curiosity for cultures, which she later channeled into her love for fashion. The first Tiffany Amber collection was shown in 1998 and the brand is still a contender in 2015.
She has been globally recognized because of the depths of her colourful creations and it’s the potency of these creations that has made her the only African designer to grace the Mercedes Fashion week in New York two years in a row. It is the reviews from international media agencies like CNN that has stamped the brand as a successfully international brand.
She has given back to her roots through projects like ‘Made in Africa’ created by Vogue Italia in partnership with Yoox.com as a way of selling the African market to the world.
Her designs are unique pieces for the everyday woman. A wife, a mother, a lawyer, a businesswoman and a designer, she is an African heroine!
Duro Olowu With a name so big. The first lady of America, Michelle Obama, wears him; Duro Olowu has got to be the King of Nigerian fashion! He has truly taken everything that is the ancient Nigerian culture, spirit and turned that uniqueness into a classy, elegant fashion statement.
His designs have been characterized as colourful, controversial combinations of African prints in a classic seventies tailoring.
Absolutely gorgeous! These wonderful creations have gained him clients like, Michelle Obama, Uma Thurman, Linda Evangelista and the list goes on. Based in London and of a Nigerian-Jamaican heritage, this lawyer by profession has allowed his rich cultural exposure to be the stepping stone to his success.
He has received lots of awards and has enjoyed a lot of recognition globally. His favourite quote “My job is not dictating to women what they should wear; it is presenting them with beautiful options.”Duro Olowu.
Ohimai Atafo is an award winning Nigerian male designer and owns Mai Atafo Inspired clothing outfit. Due to his designs that aim to portray the Nigerian Man’s unique personality, he was accredited as the Hottest New Male Designer at the City People Fashion and style Award last two years.
The buzz surrounding his name has continued to resound as he came out with amazing designs at the Arise Magazine Fashion Week 2012 in Nigeria. With his wedding line ‘Weddings by Mai’ and creation like Funke Akindele’s wedding gown, he has also stolen the hearts of his female fans as much as he had that of his male fans. Having being in the business of fashion for five years, Mai is creating giant waves and is definitely not slowing down.
He is one Nigerian designer who is a true picture of the dynamic diversity which is Nigeria. He has been in the fashion industry since 1989, starting his career as a model for many fashion houses like Dakova to Nikky Africanna and TV commercials like Macleans then becoming a model manager.
Frank Oshodi has since ventured into areas like choreography and finally found his niche in makeup with his label, House of Bunor and Fashion designing. His name reached the household mark when he was selected by Silverbird to be the make-up artist and designer that finally led Agbani Darego to her reign as Miss World 2001. Since then the name Frank Oshodi has been associated with simple elegance and effortless beauty.
He has since spear headed events that brought Nigerian fashion to the forefront with programs like the West African Fashion Week 2008. He still remains a force to reckon with in the Nigerian fashion scene.
Most Nigerian women are familiar with the name Lisa Folawiyo, the creative mind behind ‘Jewel by Lisa’. Her niche is the transformation of the Ankara wax prints into a bejewelled treasure. Prints from the fabric is cut and delicately embellished for an added elegance to what can only be known as the Nigerian ‘national’ fabric. You cannot mention Nigerian/African fashion without giving JBL a special mention.
She has also ventured into the production of her own line of fabrics and accessories ranging from jewelleries to purse and muchmore. Her diffusion line ‘J Label’ promotes the Nigerian culture and flare with the combination of Afro Pop and urban cool designs that is very amazing , a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and a self-made designer, her natural flare for fashion and unique sense of style has led her to great heights.
She has showcased internationally in the New York Fashion week 2010, Paris Fashion week 2010. She has alao been reviewed internationally in Media houses Gotham, Style.com, Women wear Daily and more. Among her celebrity fans are Beyonce, Tasha Smith, Kelis and Eve.
This Ondo princess has become quite a sensation in New York. She said “I got interested in fashion because my grandmother was a designer, i designed Nigerian traditional clothes and that was my first introduction to fashion” she said.
With this inspiration from her roots, she came to New York, to take the fashion scene by storm. Inspired by the Obama campaign, she created the Obama print dress with the words ‘Olowa gba President Barrack Obama’ boldly printed on it.
This brought her into the fashion lime light in the US. Her ability to mix prints and create clothes that speak vividly of her origin is Lola’s niche. Raised in Ondo and later schooled in London, Lola after working in many clothing stores in USA, relocated to Milan to fine tone her talents and has since been a name in Nigerian fashion.
She is full of the African rhythm and inspired by the passion for African fashion!
This is one clothing line that clearly stands apart from the rest. Yemi Osunkoya of Kosibah is a bridal and evening dress couturier. He has made quite an impressive reputation for himself, churning out consistently some of the most breath-taking classical dresses that come in flattering silhouettes.