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Top 10: Nigerian Fashion Designers

Fashion, from ages past, has been an aspect of culture that evokes the very spirit, nature and power of the people that own it. The Nigerian spirit and culture has always been a very vibrant, colorful, flamboyant and an irrepressible one. This fullness of life and diverse richness is hard to capture, tame and reintroduce into the current trends of the fashion world but some unique fashion icons has been able to do just that.

By Stephanie Iwuaba.

Fashion, from ages past, has been an aspect of culture that evokes the very spirit, nature and power of the people that own it. The Nigerian spirit and culture has always been a very vibrant, colorful, flamboyant and an irrepressible one. This fullness of life and diverse richness is hard to capture, tame and reintroduce into the current trends of the fashion world but some unique fashion icons has been able to do just that.

All over the world, the Nigerian culture is being borrowed because these kings and divas has been able to share our love for life, not smothering it with the western fashion, but introducing it as its own strong voice. Below are our top ten Nigerian fashion designers. I choose to call them conquerors!

Deola Sagoe

This Nigerian diva is a believer of an age old colorful tradition which she translates into the many layers and complexities of her remarkable designs.  Deola’s celebration of the African glamour and prints has gained her international fans like Oprah and Will Smith. She has also gained a lot of recognition for her work with awards such as the MNET/ Anglo Gold African designs 2000 awards.

And 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), degrees from the University of Miami, University of Lagos and Masters in Finance and Management. Her works speak for themselves. She has also been able to give back to her people through the program “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food” which was initiated by the ‘United Nations World Food Program’. She continues to celebrate Nigeria.


Zizi Cardow

A multi-award winning designer, Zizi Cardow has been able to sell to the international scene, our cultures and fabrics. Since she launched her label ‘Zizi’ in 2000, her list of awards is over flowing and keeps growing. Zizi’s designs have walked many a catwalks from Milan to Paris, Cape Town, USA and beyond carrying with it the true Nigerian vibrancy and flavor.

She has gained as clients and fans, a lot of Trendsetters and first ladies. Zizi was, in November last year, awarded a chieftaincy title to celebrate her as an ambassador of the society. She has given back so much to the world through so many mentorship programs and has also been rewarded for these involvements with awards like African Role Model Leadership Gold Award (2007), Pillar of National Development Gold Award (2007), Nigeria Enterprise Award for Excellence (2008) and Great Legend of Africa Gold Award (2008).


Folake Folarin Coker.

Folake Coker is the founder of the world famous brand Tiffany Amber. At an early age Folake was exposed to different cultures. 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. She has been globally recognized because of the depths of her colorful 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, successfully, a true international brand.

She has given back to her roots through projects like ‘Made in Africa’ created by Vogue Italia in partnership with 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 colorful, 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 favorite quote of mine is: “My job is not dictating to women what they should wear; it is presenting them with beautiful options.”-Duro Olowu, The Independent (London).


Ohimai Atafo

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 year. 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.


Frank Oshodi

He is one Nigerian designer who is a true picture of the dynamic diversity which is Nigeria. Starting his career as a model for many fashion houses like Dakova to Nikki 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.


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! Yes, Ade Bakare’s creations have that effect on every lady. With fabrics that flow and finishes that are nothing but perfection, Ade Bakare is one of the Nigerian designers that make Nigeria proud. He started his line in London, making clothes for boutiques in the UK and France. He 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 called Ade Breeze to his many achievements.

He has won so many awards among which are awards from Brides (a Conde Naste publication) and The Paris academy. As his way of giving back to the fashion community, he has written a lot of fashion articles and currently writes his column ‘Camera Obscura’  for Le Vogue.


Lisa Folawiyo

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 bejeweled 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. She has also ventured into the production of her own line of fabrics and accessories ranging from jewelries to purse and much more. 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, Nnsuka 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 etc. She has been reviewed internationally in Media houses Gotham,, Women wear Daily and more. Among her celebrity fans are Beyonce, Tasha Smith, Kelis and Eve.


Lola Faturoti

This Ondo princess has become quite a sensation in New York. She said “I got interested in fashion because my grandmother was a designer, she designed Nigerian traditional clothes. That was my first introduction to fashion.” So 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 so 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!


Soares Anthony

Definitely a designer to watch out for, this young Lagosian has created pieces that can make an ordinary Nigerian man look like a multimillion dollar businessman.  His very suave men clothing line ‘Soares Anthony’ is dedicated to creating a picture of sophistication and opulence. He is inspired by Nigerian fabrics with the tailoring of Japanese excellence. Not only are his styles unconventional, they are also very attractive in a masculine kind of way.

Soares Anthony, a bachelor’s degree holder, has been working earnestly and his efforts have paid off with awards. His pieces have been won by very affluent politicians and have been distributed to London, France and the USA.  He also owns a fashion magazine called SG2 which celebrates Nigerian fashion. Soares has been giving back to the Nigerian fashion industry by running a program that helps teach young Nigerian designers what they need to make their work of competent international standards. It will be a delight to watch him grow to his heights.


There it is. Top ten Nigerian fashion designer who love and celebrate our culture through fashion!



About the Author

Stephanie Iwuaba is a fashion blogger and designer from Lagos, Nigeria currently living in San Diego, USA. She has always had a flair for fashion and is constantly addicted to learning new fashion tricks and trends. She has successfully started her clothing line ‘Goshtibles’ in the USA and is committed to helping others discover the secrets to constantly looking flawlessly fabulous. Stephanie is inspired by renowned fashion diva, Kimore Lee Simmons for her fashion trend setting and more importantly for her business prowess. You can follow Stephanie’s group Trendstarters’ Lounge on Facebook for different new and exciting fashion trends. 

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  1. Ciwab

    19th July 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Nigeria is in the house!!! We have a lot of gift people in Nigeria.. I love it.

    • Steph

      24th October 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Love!

  2. Veleka Boyd

    19th July 2012 at 6:31 pm

    Seriously, I didn’t know Nigerians were on the fashion scene like that. This is beautiful! Now to mainstream it!

    • Steph

      19th July 2012 at 7:20 pm

      Of Course we are Mrs Boyd! We have a too strong fashion culture not to be. Thanks for your comment!

  3. Onyinyennubia

    19th July 2012 at 8:27 pm

    great work, Steph. i love it

    • Steph

      19th July 2012 at 9:33 pm

      Thanks darling! Naija all the way!

  4. ujueros

    19th July 2012 at 10:17 pm

    wow!!! am speechless lil sis, this is a master piece…keep it up!!!

    • Steph

      19th July 2012 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you so much sis! For the love of my dear country!!!

  5. Omegiee

    20th July 2012 at 9:16 am

    I love all these designers. And looking forward to the writer being on the list very soon….,

    • Steph

      20th July 2012 at 5:22 pm

       Lol, Thanks Omegie! Very soon I will be worthy enough to get that list very soon! I promise!

  6. Emmanuel

    3rd August 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Hi Steph, thanks for this article. I am working on a major Image Consulting training called IMAGE 50, and will have some of these renowned practitioners as facilitators. i’d love to share more thoughts with you on that, if it is ok with you,, 

    • Steph

      24th October 2012 at 5:14 pm

      Thanks Emmanuel. So sorry I read this too late. Let me know if there is any other thing I can help you with. Thanks.

  7. virtue

    9th September 2012 at 5:52 am

    Kudos, splendid work indeed be my splendid applause if we can get records of our designers contributions to fashion world. Like who originated/ popularize the ankara patch works, use of local fabrics for casual wears nd the modern day iro nd buba (combine wit organser, stones nd. Lacy bias)

    • Steph

      24th October 2012 at 5:10 pm

      Thanks Virtue!

  8. Chibuzo

    23rd October 2012 at 10:34 am

    Good morning, I make customized label for fashion designers.

    If u are interested kindly give me a call via my telephone numbers 07034886269 or 08189443960.


  9. Emak's Couture

    10th November 2012 at 7:28 pm


  10. Ibukun Owolabi

    20th November 2012 at 10:05 pm

    Thanks for this piece, it so informative. I want to work and develop a career in fashion as a designer. I draw designs and not looking to set up a collection.

  11. Sstar

    18th June 2013 at 10:32 am

    Nice nice, this is an insightful read!! Naija is going places!!! It will be more insightful if their websites were included in the article to see their works. Welldone!!!

    I also design with african fabrics, check my site Cheers

  12. Pingback: Deola Sagoe is one of Nigerian Top Fashion Designers

  13. ANNIE

    21st June 2014 at 12:59 pm


  14. Tessa

    30th October 2014 at 10:06 am

    Love Frank Oshodi
    He’s like Ralph Lauren
    He makes an already elegant woman conscious of her elegance
    His clothes speak.

  15. Cecilia Kadiri

    18th January 2015 at 6:46 pm

    Nigeria is blessed with intelligent and very creative people. We must make good use of these God’s Gift all the way. I Love all the designers and l say more grease to their elbows!

  16. Mbaji Ikenna Sampson

    19th January 2015 at 8:15 am

    Well rated I must the profle description respectively.we are inspired.good job dear.


    22nd January 2015 at 8:15 am

    Wowoooo! Most Nigerians, are blessed with fashion innovation. Creating designs with our local fabrics. I love it, keep it moving.
    I, also create and design with African fabrics

  18. Realyone

    3rd March 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Wow great works from the F-Designers!
    Up_coming Nigerias can follow dia possitive steps…

  19. Realyone

    3rd March 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Wow great works from the F-Designers!
    Up_coming Nigerians can follow dia possitive steps…

  20. happy eghe

    10th March 2015 at 4:12 pm

    I model for local fabrics nd bridal gowns,you can contact me through;bb pin-23B13145 or

  21. Joyce

    30th March 2015 at 1:48 am

    I just completed my fashion designing course and av been doing my tin. I really love to learn more from good designers. But everywhere I go 4 intern, dey do freehand cutting and I don’t wanna lose my pattern drafting skill. Pls if any designer can take me in I ll be grateful. A email is, 08074373849. Thanks

  22. fashion online Nigeria

    30th March 2015 at 12:56 pm

    If some one desires to be updated with latest technologies after that he must
    be go to see this website and be up to date daily.

  23. Gift Udoh

    3rd April 2015 at 7:54 pm

    Sir Steph, U’ve done alot of great work here, pls I will like to do my I.T with u, will u accept me pleaiss! Ple ur reply, my number 08149663370. Thanks

  24. Tammy Belema

    11th April 2015 at 1:39 pm

    steph Hw are u, am a designer .fm port Harcourt, BDS DESIGNS. Hw do u rate ur best designers so i can conpitty for it.

  25. Abiola j Olowookere

    17th April 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I will to enrol in a degree course in fashion desigh,majorly in clothing and hair making ,how do i go about this? i want something more of accedmic that is affordable,
    Or is it only in foregn country that one can gain access to such opportunity?

  26. nonso

    11th May 2015 at 5:22 pm

    Have you heard of “House of Borah”? She is fast carving a niche for herself in the fashion scene in Nigeria and beyond. I was very suprised she didnt make your top ten list. She has an amazing midas touch effect on any sweet fabric she designs. Her gowns are so exquisite and uniquely designed

  27. Frank

    19th May 2015 at 12:02 pm

    Nice piece of work Steph, kudos! The Nigerian fashion industry is growing exponentially and the designers list as well, your top ten list should be reviewed yearly n updated cos Your Native African Boutique @fnbdesgns should av made it on d list by now. Visit to know more.

  28. Pingback: Top 10: Nigerian Fashion Designers | Boston Brighton

  29. Ijeoma Okoli

    23rd July 2015 at 11:44 am

    ur superb, im speechless of what i saw here. pls i ‘m a graduate, i need a job, please help me. my number: 08067703300, 08136089864 Thanks.

  30. Kenneth beryl

    19th August 2015 at 9:52 am

    I have so many sketch of design if u are interested u call me with this no 08161399622 thanks

  31. Glory

    30th August 2015 at 9:37 pm

    Good job, pls am in Abuja I will like to learn more about fashion design, I wouldn’t mind if you can connect me with good designer. Here is my no 08050410278

  32. Martha

    23rd October 2015 at 11:17 am

    Hi pls i have passion in becoming a fashion designer. I need to be very exposed on this. My number is 08187424178 Martha

  33. Igwegbe Lawrence

    4th November 2015 at 9:29 pm

    Thanks for this exposition of our own. We must celeberate our stars as they keep blazen the trail. I love beautiful designs, but while we have some of the best on earth but not all are in full apprecition of what internet is capable of doing to their businesses. I specialize in designing budget-friendly world-class weblogs with proper SEO formating. Latest design:

    if it’s possible to get me hooked up with some of your featured designers i will appereiate it. 2348136889032

  34. Austin

    19th November 2015 at 6:25 pm

    Nice Article… Am a Fashion Designer based in Lagos… I specialize in unique ‘handmade’ men’s clothes and Women’s dresses … You can reach me or whatsap on 08034156305.

  35. Clive

    2nd January 2016 at 9:20 pm

    this is so wow splendid work

  36. Akanji Ismail Gbolahan

    4th January 2016 at 11:44 pm

    hello ma am a fashion designer that base on all kind of natives shirt and trouser wears if you can help me i will be glad here is my contact numbers 08024249092 / 08060423210

  37. akande ridwan olamilekan

    13th January 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Am fashion design I need some help

  38. akande ridwan olamilekan

    13th January 2016 at 10:18 pm

    I need you to help me ma,/sir any things you can do for me sir contactl me:07036322852/09084667422

  39. JideOlokpade

    17th January 2016 at 10:40 pm

    I am very surprised that Figaro Wear is not listed here, Figaro Wear is known in Nigerian youth circle, especially university.
    You guys should review your list and re-shortlist the top ten

  40. Fumni Oshodi

    17th January 2016 at 10:45 pm

    Yes ooooooo that used to be my best designer Figaro wear

    • Osagie Akerele

      7th July 2016 at 11:58 pm

      There were some great Nigeria designers clothing i bought in lagos in december last year and I need to do some few shopping for the designers my wedding next month.
      Please where can I get Mai Atafo, Figaro Wear and Nikki Africanna designers to buy in abuja.

  41. joelsob

    28th March 2016 at 1:35 pm

    Am joelson am a fashion design I really need to know more and see more

  42. Dr. Olumide Fagbele

    15th June 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Figarowear is still very much one of the best products, besides its was a great experience using most of their designers at my wedding in dec 2015, though expensive but their shirts re really hot

  43. Osagie Akerele

    8th July 2016 at 12:01 am

    You are right bro! Mai Atafo and Figaro Wear are great designers for Nigerians by Nigerian

  44. Steve Chydor Okafor

    20th June 2017 at 11:00 pm

    It’s that feeling of absolute cuteness, when you are so confident in yourself and can’t wait to show off.

    ChydOr-lee Couture is one of your best designers in town. Let’s style you for your events or design your outfits to a perfect fit. Contact us for Suits & blazers (wedding & office suit), Casuals, Traditional wears, Corporate wears, Shirts, Trouser pants etc…

    Kindly reach out to us via the following contacts:

    Phone: +2348037101828, +2348178700828
    WhatsApp: +2348037101828,
    Twitter: @chydorlee_c
    Instagram: chydorlee_couture

    Your confidence in us is our pride.

    Steve Chydor Okafor
    MD/CEO ChydOr-lee Couture.

  45. Steve Chydor Okafor

    20th June 2017 at 11:01 pm

    It’s that feeling of absolute cuteness, when you are so confident in yourself and can’t wait to show off.

    ChydOr-lee Couture is one of your best designers in town. Let’s style you for your events or design your outfits to a perfect fit. Contact us for Suits & blazers (wedding & office suit), Casuals, Traditional wears, Corporate wears, Shirts, Trouser pants etc…

    Kindly reach out to us via the following contacts:

    Phone: +2348037101828, +2348178700828
    WhatsApp: +2348037101828,
    Twitter: @chydorlee_c
    Instagram: chydorlee_couture

    Your confidence in us is our pride.

    Steve Chydor Okafor
    MD/CEO ChydOr-lee Couture.

  46. lfeoma

    20th August 2017 at 2:53 am

    Pls,im a huge fan of your works and I draw,sketch wears in particular,pls contact me whenever you need such services,(08170513643) thanks

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    4th November 2017 at 5:13 am

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    you can earn additional cash every month because you’ve got hi quality content.

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