Celebrate Nigerian Pride with 5 Best Loved Designers from the African Diaspora
All over the world Nigerians wave their flag in honor of Nigeria’s 58th year of independence. We’ve rounded up five of our best-loved designers of Nigerian descent whose aesthetic preferences range from the religious and traditional to the avant-garde and futuristic. Cheers to another year full of revolutionary style from creative talents from throughout the diaspora.
Designer Kenneth Ize has his finger on the pulse of Lagos. Since launching his label in 2013, Ize has continued to develop his expertise in tailoring inspired by his hometown. Ize's strength is in his master blending, effortlessly putting fabrics together to create a soothing effect; purples and pinks resemble a fading sunset while oranges and browns recall a warming fire; each iteration is even more desirable than the last. Luckily for his growing customer base from Lagos to Zurich, his seasonal offerings are entirely wearable and without fuss.
New concept store XII Glover is the latest to bring the best of streetwear labels to the fore with insiders right in Ikoyi. Need limited-edition Wizkid Starboy concert merch 10 minutes from Victoria Island? XII Glover has it. The team behind XII Glover suggests that domestic streetwear brands are seen more neutrally by the broader Nigerian fashion industry, which biases towards bespoke and hand-crafted designs, but the market for screen-printed tees, graffiti-tagged denim and faded cotton sweats is growing and quickly.
Brooklyn-born sisters Dynasty and Soull Ogun founded their concept brand L’Enchanteur in 2013, which means enchanted ones in French, drawing on the sciences, numerology, and religion amongst other disciplines to inform their creative approach. Kindred spirits in eclecticism, Erykah Badu and Lauryn Hill have already certifiably co-signed their gilded designs that are more like collector’s items. L’Enchanteur is behind some of the most singular jewelry on the market, including finger caps, amulets, and medallions suited for tackling everyday myths and fairytales.
"All I want to do is create clothes that match up to the incredible beauty of all women," remarked designer Lisa Folawiyo on the set of her look book shoot for her latest collection. Folawiyo has limited her exposure at global fashion weeks over the past few years, but she has consistently developed season after season an assortment of printed looks that exude enduring appeal for women everywhere. She began her eponymous label in 2005 with her reworking of Ankara fabric, a culturally relevant textile despite its origins in the Netherlands using ornate embellishment.
I AM ISIGO
With a re-branding by chief designer Bubu Ogisi in 2013, the contemporary brand's sole force is to create minimal designs that infuse Nigerian and Ghanaian cultures using site-specific storytelling and indigenous textiles. Ogisi is often quite specific in her inspiration, drawing on historical reference from various African cultures. On this turn, Ogisi found revelation in the significant religious markers of the Nigerian church, specifically those that sprung up in the early 20th century in the midst of colonialism and missionary tours.