Without a doubt, the fashion industry in Nigeria is booming and gradually becoming the leading centre for African fashion.
It’s important to recognize those that paved the way for the present success; these are the 5 fashion designers who have made a profound impact on the fashion industry.
Deola Sagoe is a haute couture fashion designer from Ondo State, Nigeria. She is a fashion visionary who has been thrilling fans and followers with her craft for the past 25 years.
Deola has left a global footprint across the various continents. Using African hand-woven materials in which she brings to life, a range of distinct cultures; contemporizing almost-lost traditional African techniques, Deola’s designs present a unique vision and attitude for the well-rounded modern woman.
Deola’s mother had been running a small tailoring house called Odua Creations which was known for producing meticulously embroidered traditional Nigerian menswear. In 1989, Deola joined her mother with a view of expanding the label’s repertoire to encompass more contemporary designs for the ever-developing, cosmopolitan Nigerian society. The following year, Deola began designing under her name.
Deola became the first black woman to present a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated fashion week back in 2004. Her globally appealing style has earned her an enviable clientele that ranges from Africa’s first ladies to celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey.
Ade Bakare Couture was established in 1991. Ade Bakare’s designs have been described as classic with a touch of modernity.
His line of clothes have graced the backs of lots of English celebrities and aristocrats, he has also opened a boutique in Nigeria where he is equally seen in esteemed circles, designing for first ladies, senators, wives of ministers, Royalties and professional women.
To show his dedication to the motherland, Ade Bakare has embarked on a couple of ventures that are geared towards encouraging the efforts of new and young designers. In recognition of his effort for his support in empowering young fashion designers in Nigeria, he was given an award by the Ministry of Youth and Culture in Abuja.
Since starting out in 2000, Zizi has gained clients and fans, a lot of trendsetters and first ladies, while her works have been featured in all local and some international media.
After her first year of breaking into the Nigerian fashion scene, Zizi won the prestigious designer of the year award at the Nigerian fashion show in 2001. This award launched her designs into the African (South Africa) and European market (Italy, France and Britain).
In 2010, she celebrated ten years in the Business of fashion on May 15th, 2010 and was honoured by her hometown in 2011 in recognition of her immense contributions towards the growth of the community.
Born in Lagos to a Nigerian father and Jamaican mother, Duro Olowu spent his childhood travelling between Nigeria and Europe. From an early age, his enthusiasm for fashion was inspired by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women that surrounded him.
On his return to London, Olowu pursued his true vocation, a career in fashion, starting his eponymous label at the end of 2004.
His first collection was an instant hit with fashion editors and buyers worldwide and an international sell out in its worldwide stockists at the time, including Barneys in New York and Harrods in London
Nigerian veteran designer who has got a name so big that the first lady of America Michelle Obama wears him, Duro Olowu can take African patterns and colours and make a unique, classy, elegant and bold fashion statement with it.
Folake Folarin-Coker is the creative director of legendary label Tiffany Amber.
Tiffany Amber was launched in Lagos in 1998 and has become an iconic label in the Nigerian fashion industry.
In 2008, she made history as the first African-based fashion designer to stage a show twice at the New York Fashion Week. She was the first recipient of the ‘Designer of the Year’ award at the African fashion week in Johannesburg in 2009 and was also awarded ‘Fashion Brand of the Year’ at the ARISE Fashion week in 2011.
In 2013, Folake made the Forbes Power women list.