Fashion In Nigeria: Fashion Designers You Should Know
By Joburg Post
One of the greatest fashion powerhouse’s in the African continent is Nigeria, with a number of fashion designers winning accolades for their work globally. Their work exemplifies the Nigerian ethos, culture and overall diversity, for the world to see. Here are some of Nigeria's best designers you should keep an eye out for.
Folake Folarin-Coker is the founder of Tiffany Amber, a world-famous iconic label whose journey began in Lagos in 1998. Born in Lagos, she did her schooling in Europe (England, Scotland and Switzerland), where she got an opportunity to interact and engage with various cultures while still at a young age.
Folake’s tasteful and colorful creations have earned her global recognition, making her the first African fashion designer to showcase her talent at the New York Mercedes Fashion Week two years in a row. She has also been widely featured by International media houses such as CNN, and in 2013, she received an Enterprise Award at WIE (Women, Inspiration and Enterprise) Symposium. In addition, she has made it onto the Forbes Power Women in Africa list.
London-based, Nigerian born, Duro Olowu, shares both Nigerian and Jamaican roots and is a household name in both the Nigerian and global fashion industry. He is, undoubtedly, a well-respected Nigerian fashion design personality, famous for his unique and colorful African prints. He’s super talented in working with patterns, and his designs incorporate the rich culture, spirit, and diversity of the Nigerian people.
At the African Fashion Awards in 2009, he was named the Best International Designer and was one of the six nominees for the Swiss Textile Federation’s top prize of 100,000 Euros. Both British and American Vogue in 2005 named his waist patchwork “Duro,” as the “Dress of the Year.” One of Olowu’s famous quotes is, “My job is not dictating to women what they should wear; it is presenting them with beautiful options.”
Deola Sagoe is a renowned Nigerian fashion designer, entrepreneur and founder of The House of Deola Sagoe. Her unique approach of designing lively and colorful prints has earned her a global following including notable personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith, who have recognized her for her celebration of African prints.
Aside from showcasing her couture collection at Cape Town and New York Fashion Weeks, Deola won the MNET/Anglo Gold African Designs 2000 Award. United Nations World Food Program appointed her Nigeria’s ambassador to the program, “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food.” This was aimed at raising funds to reduce, by half, the number of starving people in the world, especially children by 2015.
Mai Atafo is a well-known Nigerian male bespoke designer. He rose into the limelight after launching his brand, Mai Atafo, which has been successful both on the local scene, as well as global fashion scene. His aim throughout his career has been to uniquely showcase the personality of a confident and elegant Nigerian gentleman.
Atafo also launched his fashion line, Weddings by Mai, in 2011 with his designs being showcased at various high-profile events. Atafo has bagged numerous awards during his career to celebrate and appreciate his excellent craftsmanship. Some of the awards he has received include being the winner of City People Fashion and Style’s Hottest New Male Designer two years in a row, LFW Menswear Designer of the Year, Mode Men Magazine’s Fashion Designer of the Year, and Allure’s Most Stylish Man of the Year.
Ade Bakare is an established Nigerian fashion designer whose impeccable African designs have caused ripples around the globe. Having been in the fashion industry for two decades, his super elegant designs are popular, making him a household name in both Nigeria and London. His work is a perfect example of female sophistication.
Bakare’s work has been showcased around the world in places such as New York, Vienna, Mozambique, Morocco, Paris, and Cape Town. Aside from having numerous English personalities and celebrities wearing his pieces, he also has first ladies, senators, and minister’s wives as clients. He has also been involved in numerous programs geared to inspire upcoming designers. The Ministry of Youth and Culture recognized Bakare for this role in supporting young and upcoming fashion designers.
Bakare has also received awards from the Paris Academy and Conde Nast Publication. His dresses are known to be classic with a modern twist while spanning various types of fabrics. Bakare is well-known and celebrated for his famous and luxurious female gazar and organza sweep coasts.