This weekend, we decided to bring you the shapers and makers of what the Nigerian fashion industry is right now—to present a look at how they’ve navigated the industry’s most fun, frenetic, and creative designs. Today, we feature Omoyemi Akerele, Reni Folawiyo, Tayo & Ayo Amusan, Amaka Osakwe, and Lisa Folawiyo.
OMOYEMI AKERELE – Founder/Artistic Director, Style House Files
Omoyemi Akerele is widely regarded as a driving force behind Nigeria’s rising fashion industry. She is responsible helping Nigerian brands gain international exposure through showcases at Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) which she founded in 2011, and at Pitti Immagine, Italy. Pitti Immagine is an international fair that has been described as one of the world’s most important platforms for men’s clothing and accessory collections.
RENI FOLAWIYO – Chief Executive/Founder, Alara Concept Store
Reni Folawiyo is the founder of ‘Alara’, a concept store located in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos that seeks to redefine luxury fashion for Nigerians. Meaning ‘wondrous performer’ in Yoruba, Alara is rapidly becoming a fashion destination for Nigerians and westerners alike seeking the best of curated fashion pieces. The store stocks a range of western designers including Marni, Stella McCartney and Valentino. Alongside this, Folawiyo looks to champion the cause of Nigerian designs, stocking the work of Maki Oh, Lanre de Silva Ajayi and Tiffany Amber.
TAYO & AYO AMUSAN – Chairman & Managing Director, Persiana Group
According to Omoyemi Akerele, “the couple has a vision to grow the Nigerian retail sector.” Moving at a steady pace, the couple’s company, Persiana Group built its first mall of international standards in Nigeria- the Palms Mall and then followed suit with others malls in Lagos, Ibadan, Kwara and Enugu States plus another in Abuja that is soon to be launched. The company’s retail arm is also responsible for bringing luxury franchises such as Hugo Boss and Lacoste into the country.
AMAKA OSAKWE – Designer, Maki Oh
Amaka Osakwe, Creative Director and Founder of ready-to-wear label Maki Oh, who according to BOF is one of the biggest success stories to come out of Nigeria’s burgeoning fashion scene. She was raised in Lagos and earned a BA in Fashion Studies from Arts University before starting up her label in 2010. Maki Oh’s debut collection for Autumn/Winter 2010 set the tone for the label’s signature melding of indigenous textiles and motifs with western silhouettes. The brand debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 but broke into the international scene in 2013 when US First Lady Michelle Obama wore one of its design during a trip to Johannesburg.