Who remembers a recent Instagram post where a popular Nigerian celebrity talks about being surprised by the fact that Lagosians in general are now looking “fresh and fabulous”. I share this same sentiment because I’ve observed that many Nigerians are now buying into the idea that looking good is good business. And of course, what better way to look good than engaging quality fashion designers to deck you up in the latest trend in the fashion industry. These fashion designers make the world decide what to wear, they change the fashion landscape from time to time, and they decide what trends. Where is the fashion industry in Nigeria headed and who are the best among these fashion designers in the country? Read on as we rank the top 10 fashion designers in Nigeria.
1. Duro Olowu
Duro Olowu is one of Nigeria’s foremost fashion designers, known and respected both at home an internationally for making the most stylish dresses, skirts, pants and other types of clothing. He is a personal favorite of Michelle Obama. Born in Nigeria, Duro lives mostly in the United Kingdom but that doesn’t stop him from offering outstanding African prints, Nigerian attires to the fashion world. Duro’s wonderful and trendy clothing lines is recognizable and in high demand worldwide.
2. Folake Folarin-Coker
Another top top fashion designer in Nigeria is Folake Folarin-Coker. She is the founder of the internationally acclaimed clothing label, Tiffany Amber. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Folake schooled across Europe where she was opportune to mix and interact with people from different cultures at an early age. Folake is a Master’s degree holder in Petroleum law but that didn’t stop her from going after her one true love, which is her love for fashion designing. Folake’s creations are tasteful and colourful, and has earned herglobal recognition. She became the first African fashion designer to showcase her creation at the New York Mercedes fashion week for two years in a row.
3. Deola Sagoe
Della Sagoe is an illustrious fashion designer. She is the founder of the house of Della Sagoe. Her reputation for creating lively and colourful prints has earned her following from international stars the likes of Will Smith and Opera Winfrey. The Master’s degree holder in finance and management launched her career in 1989, and since then, she has shot right to the top of the fashion design industry in the continent. Her signature works are a mixture of elegance and attitude, and they take inspiration from fabrics of both the Nigerian traditional elegance and western aesthetics. Deola Sagoe has showcased her designs at the Cape Town fashion week, and the New York fashion week. She is a winner of several awards including the MNET Hold African Awards design 2000.
4. Lisa Folawiyo
Lisa Folawiyo is the founder of the label, Jewels by Lisa which is now a global brand since it was launched in 2005. She is widely famous for creating traditional West African fabrics using modern tailoring techniques. She mostly uses Ankara to create extravagant custom prints. She has a foreign clientele that includes top international celebrities like; Beyonce, Tasha Smith and Eve. Jewels by Lisa has been showcased in the US, UK and South Africa. She won the African fashion award in 2012, and that same year she featured in Vogue Italia. She appeared on a prestigious list of top designers making a global impact by BOF in 2015.
5. Soares Anthony
Soares is a young fashion designer who focuses on local Nigerian fabrics coupled with Japanese designs. Some of his local clientele includes a lot of Nigerian politicians and celebrities. His collections are also sold globally in places like the United States, UK and France. Soares Anthony is surely one designer to watch out for in the future.
6. Lola Faturoti
Lola Faturoti is an internationally renowned fashion designer. She was born in Ondo state, but moved abroad to school in London before settling in New York in the 90s. Lola was introduced to fashion designing by her grandmother who was also a fashion designer. “I got interested in fashion because my grandmother was a designer. She designed Nigerian traditional attires. I helped her with some of the work which I hated at the time, because I wanted to be playing instead of picking out seams!” She said in an interview. While in New York, she was hired by Charivari boutique where her potential and unique passion for fashion caught the attention of the president who helped her launch her first fashion collection.
7. Frank Oshodi
Frank Osodi has extensive experience in the fashion world that span’s over 25 years. Frank began his career as a model and was employed by top fashion houses such as Nikki Africana and Dakova. He launched his make-up label “House of Bunor” and was subsequently hired in 2001 to be Agbani Darego’s designer and make-up artiste. That was the big break he needed as Agbani won the Miss World 2001 beauty contest. Frank Oshodi has played a major role in events such as the West African fashion week 2008. He is now a force to be reckoned with on the global scene.
8. Zizi Cardow
Zizi is widely known for successfully showcasing the Nigerian fabric and culture on a global level. Her label “Zizi” has been instrumental in promoting the West African Ankara fabric, and now it is virtually seen on most red carpets across the globe. Zizi is a multiple award winner and has had her designs featured on many international events in Milan, New York, Cape Town among others.
9. Mai Atafo
Mai Atafo is a well-known designer in Nigeria. Since he launched his brand, he has designed for several Nigerian celebrities such as 2face, Davido, Mercy Johnson and Stephanie Okereke, just to name a few. Ohimai Atafo launched “Weddings by Mai” in 2011 and his design has been showcased at many events across the globe. He has won several awards including; the Mode men magazine Fashion designer of the year, and Allures most stylish man of the year.
10. Ade Bakare
Born and raised in the UK, Bakare is a Nigerian designer with impeccable African designs. He has been in the industry for over 2 decades since launching his label in 1991. His collection includes stylish evening gowns to wedding gowns, hats and fragrances. Ade Bakare’s work has been showcased in places such as New York, Venice, Cape Town, Maroc, and other exciting places across the globe.