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Men You Should Know: Mai Atafo

Ohimai Atafo, popularly called Mai Atafo, is a Nigerian fashion entrepreneur. In clear terms, he is a bespoke fashion tailor. He is the founder of “Mai Atafo Inspired” (MAI), a fashion house situated off Admiralty Way in Lekki Phase 1.

Background

Although an indigene of Edo State, Mai was born in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. He attended the University Staff School, Benin, and then Federal Government College, Ido-Ani, Ondo State. Thereafter, he studied Agricultural Economics and Extension at the Edo State University, where he bagged a 2nd Class Upper degree. He also holds a Master’s Degree in Information Technology, from City University London, England.

Mai Atafo returned to Nigeria seven years later, precisely in 2002, and worked as a marketer at British American Tobacco Nigeria. He later joined Guiness Nigeria as their Brand Manager in 2007. During the years he worked at Guiness, he ran his clothing line on the side. To further bake his fashion skills, he enrolled at Savile Row Academy, Leeds, UK, to train as a tailor. He soon resigned from his seven figures paying job and put a call through to Betty Irabor of Genevieve Magazine, requesting for a freelance job offer. He freelanced as a fashion editor with Genevieve Magazine and at the same time, worked at Spice TV.

Mai Atafo Inspired

His fashion line MAI gained popularity over time owning to the classic, clean-cut, well-tailored details his designs have, as well as his clientele base, with such celebrities as Omawumi, Banky W, Jay Jay Okocha, former Miss Nigeria (2005) Omowunmi Akinifesi, IK Osakioduwa, amongst others patronizing him. In addition to this, he has styled several other celebrities on various shows such as Wale Pasuma and Yemi Blaq. He also styled (Dunni) Adesua Etomi in The Wedding Party (Prequel) movie.

In 2011, he launched another arm of his fashion business – Weddings by MAI. Weddings by MAI focuses to bridal wears and accessories, which includes brides, grooms, little brides, bridesmaids, and grooms men.

So far, Mai Atafo has won several awards: The Covenant University “Redefinition Fashion Contribution” (2010), Thisday Style Best Dressed men, Mode Men Magazine Fashion Designer of the Year, Allure Most Stylish Man of the Year, Mode Men Best Dressed Man of the Year (2010), City People Fashion and Style Hottest New Designer (Male) and Special Recognition Award, GLITZ Designer of the Year (2013), FAB Magazine Fashion Brand of the Year (2010), Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week, and Menswear Designer of the Year (2015).

Bespoke fashion pieces from MAI have been featured on various runways such as: Arise Magazine Fashion Week (2012) runway, Virgin Atlantic Fashion Show (2010), and the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (2012).

Mai Atafo is married to Christine Atafo.

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