Nigeria has a huge fashion industry. One estimate values it at about $4.7 billion. It could be larger; a large part of the market is dominated by tailors and small-time designers in the informal sector. These businesses, along with the more established names, take up at least 15% of sub-Saharan Africa’s fashion market.
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Of the more well-known brands in the industry, Jewel by Lisa is one that strikes a good note with many fashion enthusiasts. For well over a decade, the womenswear and accessories maker has worked its way into the hearts of numerous customers and captured the public’s attention with its stylish labels.
The brand’s clothes are based largely on the local Ankara textile and traditional designs, fused with modern, international fashion influences. A lot of Jewel by Lisa’s success comes down to this blend, which the company’s skilled weavers are masters at.
Lisa Folawiyo started the company in 2005. This was after she decided to leave her job as a lawyer; she says she had felt dissatisfied with work after a few years and opted to pursue an alternate career—one she had a flair for.
That decision led her to launch a fashion business, by designing and creating clothing from Ankara fabric. From those small beginnings, she has built a company that employs several fine craftspeople and sells its wares across the world.
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Today, the Jewel by Lisa brand is part of a broader group of fashion business interests that also includes the J Label (Diffusion collection) and Pretty Precious (a collection for children). Visual samples from these collections can be found on the brand’s website, as well as on its Instagram page.
These collections feature a variety of clothing, from flowing wears to full stylish tops, elaborately designed skirts and trousers, and sleeveless gowns. They all have the touch of traditional designs and carefully made embellishments on them, and can also fit in nicely with a broad range of cultural contexts.
Jewel by Lisa has gained prominence both locally and abroad. It has made appearances at fashion shows in Lagos, Johannesburg, Paris, Milan, and New York. Media exposure has followed too, with features on the BBC, New York Times, the Financial Times, Vogue, and Style.
Lisa Folawiyo looks forward to making her brand even stronger. Competition stiff, but she’s carving out a solid space in her niche. In time, Jewel by Lisa could be one of the top fashion brands in Africa, and perhaps, the world.
Featured Image Source: OnoBello
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