Fashion in Nigeria; the Historical Perspective

Fashion in Nigeria; the Historical Perspective

Fashion is a popular artistic expression in a certain time and context which cut across clothing, footwear, lifestyle, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, etc. with a lot of key professional players; ranging from clothing designers, fashion stylists, fashion photographers, makeup artists, hairstylists as well as fashion journalists.

Fashion Design had changed from being a means of life hood for the uneducated male and female child who needed some skill to get by in life. Today, the highly educated in all nook and crannies of the country are involved in the fashion business and Nigerian fashion brands are being showcased in reputable places around the world. Even brands that aren’t in the fashion industry had invested so much in the fashion industry of Nigeria.

The Nigerian fashion industry has developed more participants, exposure, presence, and earnings. Part of the exposure is the Fashion weeks (Lagos Fashion and Design Week, GTB fashion and Design week etc.

The Lagos Fashion Week (LagosFW) is a fashion platform that drives Nigerian and ultimately, the African fashion industry; by bringing together buyers, users and the media to view the current collections of local and international designers in Lagos. Hence a lot of fashion aficionados and influencers, as well as headliners, attend these shows.

Apart from local awareness and recognition, numerous Nigerian fashion designers have won accolades for their exemplary work and roles in showcasing the Nigerian spirit, culture, and diversity.

In a bid to support local fashion designers, in 2017, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie an Award-winning author launched a “Wear Nigerian Campaign,” where she decided to wear a dress in Nigerian brands in all her public presentations. The motive was just to excite and inspire people to buy Nigeria made wear.

Nigerian that has set Nigerian and African fashion on the international map.

Folake Folarin–Coker

Folake Folarin-Coker is the founder of Tiffany Amber, a world-famous iconic emblem. Born in Lagos, she schooled in Europe  where she got a chance to associate and engage with several cultures while still at a tender age

Her interest in cultures steered her love and interest to focus on unique fashion designs that attract women of various punches and preferences. Folake’s tasteful and colourful creations have earned her global recognition, making her the first African fashion designer to showcase her skill at the New York Mercedes Fashion Week two years in a row.

Related Post: Fashion in Nigeria; some hairstyle you never knew existed. 

She has also been extensively featured by International media houses such as CNN, and in 2013, she received an Enterprise Award at WIE (Women, Inspiration and Enterprise) Symposium. Besides, she has made it onto the Forbes Power Women in Africa list.

Duro Olowu

Duro is undoubted, a well-respected Nigerian fashion design personality identified for his unique and unusual African prints. He shares both Nigerian and Jamaican origins. His interest in fashion began when he was only six years old and went on throughout his childhood.

Olowu’s skill has earned him global recognition with top clients to his name such as Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, Uma Thurman, and Linda Evangelista, among others.

Despite being a lawyer by profession, fashion was Olowu’s, first love. During his career, he has bagged numerous awards further raising his profile in the global fashion industry. In 2005, he was the first designer to be named New Designer of the Year at London Fashion Week without staging a catwalk display.

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

Deola Sagoe is a renowned Nigerian fashion designer, entrepreneur and founder of The House of Deola Sagoe. Her novel approach of designing lively and colourful prints has earned her global following including notable personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith, who have identified her for her celebration of African prints.

She is a woman with many layers and this is displayed in her multilayered designs. Her signature designs, attitude, and elegance draw their inspiration from fabrics with a traditional Nigerian touch and western aesthetics.

She designed the label, Odua, for her mom, who played a major role in universalizing her in the industry. Her recent works include hand-dyed Adire fabric, which is made by Yoruba women. Her fame spans beyond the African continent, earning her recognition and respect.

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.

Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo is a self-made Nigerian fashion designer who is famous for the way she creatively blends traditional West African fabrics with modern tailoring methods. She is recognized for her label, Jewel by Lisa, which she launched in 2005, and has since expanded to become a global fashion brand with showrooms in New York and Nigeria.

She uses Ankara, a traditional West African fabric, to produce captivating and luxurious custom prints. She has her fabric line that also produces accessories such as jewellery and purses.

Aside from Nigeria, her collections have been showcased in the UK, US, and South Africa. She has participated in New York Fashion Week 2010 and Paris Fashion Week 2010. And she had been recipients of some awards; winner of the African Fashion Award in 2012, and she was featured in Vogue Italia in 2012.

Soares Anthony

Soares Anthony is a young, energetic, and talented fashion designer who focuses on his men’s clothing line. His work draws inspiration from local Nigerian fabrics coupled with Japanese tailoring designs. His designs are masculine, yet stylish and trendy by way of transforming an ordinary look into a sophisticated design that embraces class.

He developed an interest in fashion when he was a young boy where he spent his time sketching and drawing. He loves to work with colours, and his impressive talent has seen his pieces worn by famous politicians and celebrities.

His pieces are also sold globally in the UK, US, and France. Anthony uses his talent to make an impact on the community through a mentoring program he runs that helps young and upcoming Nigerian designers excel and compete on a global platform. Nature, colours, and artwork are the main sources of inspiration.

With many years of hard work, Nigerian designers had grown the industry into a force to reckon with some.  Though, there are challenges that need to be addressed. Challenges like lack of materials for the production of local textiles and fabrics, and lack of proper research and development to help designers ensure uniformity and uniqueness of their products to strive better in the global market.

Nigeria needs to understand these challenges and tackle them because if the gains are properly harnessed, the industry can become a major sector in the nation’s marketplace.