Last week, we looked at the biggest men in Nigerian fashion worth following on Instagram.
Now let’s get to know some of the stylish women who are changing the fashion game in Nigeria.
The Gozel Green twin sisters, Sylvia Enekwe and Olivia Okoji, are known for their story-driven brand. Every Gozel Green collection tells a story. They first came into the Nigerian fashion scene in 2014 when they show-cased their first story-driven collection, “Broken Pot and Other Stories” at the LFDW Fashion Focus show. The collection was made in honour of their father, Onuora Enewke, who they admire for his artistic work as a writer. They are currently based in Lagos but were raised in the eastern part of Nigeria, in Enugu. They credit their artistic prowess to their art-loving parents – their father is a writer and playwright and their mother is a designer. After they both earned a Bachelor’s degree in Stage Arts and Economics at the Igbenedion University Okada, Nigeria, they went on to open their fashion line, Gozel Green, in 2012. The Gozel Green brand stands out because each collection comes with a beautiful blend of colours and always has a story to tell. One of their most recent collections – which was displayed at the New York Fashion Week – tells the story of their childhood in the eastern part of Nigeria where they witnessed the regal performances of heavily adorned masquerades dancing to traditional beats. Their brand remains originally African while incorporating western styles into the mix. They have a respectable clientele which include women like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and LFDW fonder, Omoyemi Akerele. Follow them on Twitter.
Lisa Folawiyo is recognized for her colourful collections that are deeply rooted in African tradition but have a modern flair. Since her label was established in 2005, Folawiyo has paved the way for Nigerian designers to achieve international recognition for their work. She delights in taking African prints to newer heights and making them appealing to an international audience. Prior to her contact with the Nigerian fashion scene, Faliwiyo was originally a lawyer and had no formal training in fashion. She launched her own fashion line which was formerly known as Jewel by Lisa. Her collections are designed from Ankara textiles and they are decorated with beads, sequins and crystals all made in Nigeria. In 2012 she won the African fashion Awards after being nominated alongside Maki Oh and Kofi Ansah, two other prolific designers from the Nigerian fashion scene. Her success is credited to her unique style. Find her on Twitter.
Deola Sagoe is the founder of The House of Deola Sagoe. She has been at the forefront of Nigerian fashion since 1989. She comes from a family of entrepreneurs and owners of the Elizade empire. Her interest in fashion sprang up while she was studying business administration at the University of Maimi, Florida in the mid 1980s. After she graduated in 1987 and returned to Nigeria, her father encouraged her to join the family business. Meanwhile, Deola’s mother had established a major fashion label which she had taken interest in. The label predominantly produced traditional menswear. However, she was still urged by her father to join in the family business while continuing her work in fashion. She got a big break in the fashion world when she won the M/Net Anglo Gold Design African Award. She was one of the four designers selected from Africa to showcase their work at New York Fashion Week in 2000. The reason for the recognition was the fact that she was the only designer to showcase designs with a blend of authentic African fabrics from antiquity and contemporary designs. This was the avenue for her haute couture to gain global recognition. Since then, her collections have been modeled all around the world. Her glamorous collections are showcased on all her social media accounts; on Facebook and Twitter.
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In 2008, Tifanny Amber was launched by Folake Folarin Coker, a lawyer who schooled in Switzerland, Scotland, and England. Despite her credential in Law, her love for fashion has been paramount to her. Born in Lagos, Folake spent most of her childhood in Europe. Her Tifanny Amber brand revolutionized the Nigerian fashion industry taking it global. In 2008, Folake Coker became the first African based designer to showcase her collections for two consecutive shows at the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York. In 2009, Folake added two other brands under the Tifanny Amber brand name: TAN by Timber Amber (a Diffusion brand) and Folake Folarin (a couture line). The fashion icon received the title of Designer of The Year at the inaugural African Fashion Week (AFI) in 2009 in Johannesburg and in 2012 she was invited by Franca Sozanni, Editor of Vogue Italia, to be a part of the Fashion For Development Project. In 2013, she made it to the Forbes Africa annual list of “20 Young Power African Women” alongside women like Tara Durotoye – the founder and CEO of House of Tara – and Medical Doctor Ola Orekunrin, the founder of the Flying Doctors. Folake would later go on to launch her home line, Tiffany Amber, establishing it as complete lifestyle brand.
Amaka Osakwe had always had a clear picture of what she wanted to be in future – a fashion designer. Her father, who was not initially in support of her intentions to attend fashion school, would later boast about his daughter’s achievements when she took him to the white house years later. Born in Lagos, Amaka uses her fabrics to tell the story of liberal-minded women in a conservative society. Her story-driven brand – Maki Oh – depicts women not afraid to stretch out of their comfort zones and express themselves however they deem fit. She attended the Arts University College in Bournemouth, England, where she obtained a BA in (Hons) in fashion studies and because of the vast experience she gained from the school, she urges Nigerians who have an interest in fashion to attend too. Amaka is famous for using Nigerian fabric – paintings in her Maki Oh designs and blending them with modern aesthetics. She believes cultural heritage must be kept alive through her artisanal collections. In 2012, the Maki Oh brand debuted with a collection titled “Everything in Proportion”, which showcased artistically crafted traditional motifs immersed with contemporary elements. The Lagos based designer’s expertise has earned her an international clientele including the likes of Lupita Nyong’o, Beyonce, Alek Wek, Kerry Washington, Solange and the former first lady of America, Michelle Obama. Her label, Maki Oh, has earned features with prestigious magazines like Vogue, Glamour, The New York Times, Forbes, amongst others. Amaka Osakwe deserves to be on this list because of her dedication to preserving the African cultural heritage in her designs that have gone global. Find Maki Oh on Twitter and Facebook.
FALL ‘18 ALAKOBA: (Yoruba) ɑ:lɑ:kəʊ:bɑ Definition : I. is an individual that gets others in trouble II. is a person who knowingly or unknowingly gets others in a bind – by association or by being in the person’s vicinity. III. is when you’re in a canoe in the middle of the river, and someone starts singing “Mami water power- powerless power” Synonyms- kobalizer . This Fall, the Maki Oh woman finds herself unwittingly weaving herself out of the Alakoba’s words. Words that speak of the intimate unadorned desires of the African woman- lingerie, sexual freedom and daring seduction. As though all exist framed in a single narrative of lust. For Fall, our journey explores and unravels the Alakoba’s single story by creating an accurate narrative. Here, our muse returns home from work on a clear-skied Thursday evening, slips into comfortable garb and unveils a ‘lazy sensuality’ The shapes and textures take direction from the apparel of daily life’s comfort wear: robes, towels, wrappers, sweatpants etc. All set against a Maki Oh lens. The collection, through its starker material contrasts, allows for voyeuristic glimpses of how these intimate moments of expression are devised. It plays with the perception of sensuality and seduction existing in the fabric of comfortable garments that are usually worn daily at home. After-work tweed jackets are unlined and unfussy, Leather- instead of silk, is paired with lace as negligée and silk skirts are gathered and ruched to illustrate the fragility of wrapping only a piece of fabric around her body. Colours are muted to express clear, simple intentions. Adire’s indigo is left in it’s traditional blue hues, while bronze adds nectar. Our muse speaks only for herself – and a simple, quiet and comfortable allure. 📷: vogue.com
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