People will always have a need to hide their unclothed bodies while yet projecting a beautiful image, making the fashion industry a highly lucrative business to enter. You’ll need a comfortable income if you want to shop at top fashion houses like Lola Faturoti, Duro Olowu, Frank Oshodi, and the others we’ll name below. However, one need not spend a fortune on a stylish appearance.
This article profiles 15 of Nigeria’s most well-known fashion designers in an effort to introduce and promote the country’s fashion industry. The best tailors can see the future of fashion and bring it to life via the use of fine fabrics, but not every tailor can say they are a designer.
Because clothes is one of man’s most fundamental need, style will always be a part of people’s lives. Because of this, many Nigerians have strived mightily to establish themselves as leaders in the global fashion industry. The designers owe a great debt of gratitude to the many people all around the world who have seen their work thanks to the promotion and exposure they have received through social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
15. Kathy Anthony
Kathy Anthony was recognized on the list as one of the most successful and well-known female fashion designers in Nigeria. Kathy Anthony is a fashion designer that specializes in designing clothes for women. She has an eye for style, finishing, and fit, and she is obsessive about paying attention to the details.
Kathy Anthony’s passion for arts and crafts stems from her desire to design beautiful things and help other people feel good about themselves. She is most well-known for her Ankara fabrics, and she also runs a fashion academy, through which she teaches others and contributes to the community.
14. Toluwaloju Olowofoyeku
Toju Foyeh was the mastermind behind all four gorgeous and exquisite dresses that the Nollywood actress Adesua Etomi wore to her traditional wedding ceremony. She is widely regarded as one of the most fashionable fashion designers who is recognized for creating one-of-a-kind bridal and bridesmaids’ gowns.
Toju Foyeh introduced the Toju Foyeh line to the public in 2010. Toke Makinwa, Ossas Ajibade, and Tiwa Savage, along with a great number of other famous people, have all been seen wearing items from her brand. Her Instagram feed, which can be found at @tojufoye, is also responsible for her growing popularity and following.
13. Kunbi Oyelese
Kunbi Oyelese attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and graduated with a degree in Fashion Design. She became famous under her eponymous brand name, which she derived from the month of April, in which she was born. Since launching April by Kunbi in 2010, the fashion designer has established herself as a leading talent in Nigeria’s thriving fashion sector.
Kunbi Oyelese’s label is known for its exquisite bridal wear, and some of her celebrity customers include Tiwa Savage, Toke Makinwa, and Seyi Shay, amongst others. Kunbi Oyelese has also been involved in a number of initiatives throughout the country that are designed to advance the fashion industry.
12. Amaka Osakwe
Amaka Osakwe, unlike many of the other college grads on this list, is using her degree to pursue a career in the field she chose. After completing her studies in Fashion and Design at the Arts University Bournemouth, she established her own label, Maki Oh, in the year 2010. Famous people including Beyoncé, Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Kerry Washington, and Solange Knowles are among her clients. While visiting South Africa as first lady in the summer of 2013, Michelle Obama wore a Maki Oh shirt that Amaka Osakwe had designed.
Media outlets and organizations that honor fashion designers on a global scale have featured and honored Maki Oh. According to ARISE, an African fashion publication, she was the best designer of 2012. Her work has been displayed in museums such as the Vitra Design Museum, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, and the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery.
11. Soares Anthony
Soares Anthony is a distinctively Nigerian fashion firm that specializes in providing high bespoke apparel. Soares Anthony has the position of Creative Director at Soares Anthony. He has a knack for creating styles that are quintessentially masculine, yet he approaches fashion in an unorthodox but elegant manner. He grew up admiring the quality of Nigerian fabrics and aspiring to the precision of Japanese tailoring. As a young boy, he spent a lot of time sketching different clothing designs and patterns due to his passion for fashion. Even though Soares Anthony earned a law degree, he launched a successful menswear brand. Rich international leaders have been spotted wearing his designs.
In addition to his own clothing line, he is also the proprietor of SG2, a fashion magazine dedicated to showcasing and advancing the industry in Nigeria. He also gives back to the community by providing a forum for aspiring designers in Nigeria to learn the skills they’ll need to create work that meets international standards.
10. Folake Folarin Coker
Folake Folarin Coker, CEO and founder of Tiffany Amber, is featured on a list of the top 15 Nigerian fashion designers. Despite her Nigerian birth, Folake Coker received her entire formal education in Europe (England, Switzerland, and Scotland). She moved back to Nigeria to pursue her interest in fashion after earning a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Law from a school in Switzerland. She debuted the Tiffany Amber line in 1998, and it has expanded rapidly ever since.
Folake Coker broke new ground as the first African fashion designer to display her work at New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week for two years running. She has been featured on CNN, a global news network, and she won an award at the 2013 Women Inspiration and Enterprise Symposium. At the 2011 ARISE Fashion Week, she was named Fashion Designers Brand of the Year. At the inaugural African Fashion Week in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 2009, she was honored as Designer of the Year.
9. Deola Sagoe
Deola Sagoe is a well-known and admired fashion designer in many parts of the world. The native of Ondo State earned a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Lagos before continuing on to earn a Master’s degree in Finance and Management from the University of Miami. After that, in 1989, she started working at Odua Creations, her mother’s tailoring business, where she learned the fashion industry from the ground up. She gained a sufficient appreciation for fashion and the knowledge to launch her own label, House of Deola, during her time there. Among Deola Sagoe’s most notable worldwide followers and clientele are Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith.
She has dressed first ladies of Africa, top models like Alek Wek, powerful society girls like Lydia Hearst, and many other well-known people because of her charming and sympathetic aesthetic. The arts and culture come to life because to House of Deola Sagoe’s skill at rendering ancient, vibrant customs in a variety of nuanced forms. She made history in 2000 when she presented her collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s prestigious fashion week, and received the MNET/Anglo Gold Africa Designs of the Year award. She was chosen to represent Nigeria in 2015 by the United Nations World Food Program’s Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food initiative, which aims to raise money to halve the number of hungry people throughout the world, particularly children.
8. Lanre da Silva
Lanre da Silva’s career as a fashion designer under her eponymous label Eponymous Design has taken her far beyond Nigeria. She is known for her innovative use of traditional materials, patterns, and prints to create stunning day dresses and evening gowns in lace, Ankara, and a variety of other styles.
In 2005, Lanre da Silva launched her company to widespread acclaim by showcasing a collection replete with signature designs reminiscent of the legendary 1940s Couture era. She was able to rub elbows with the likes of Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Franca Sozzani, editor of Vogue Italia, and Omoyemi Akerele, creative director of GTBank Lagos Fashion, and Design Week. She also counts Erica Nlewedim, Toke Makinwa, Mo Abudu, and countless more as her famous clientele.
7. Frank Oshodi
Frank Oshodi is a hidden treasure of the fashion industry; his designs reflect the vibrant, multifaceted culture of Nigeria. Frank Oshodi had a thriving modeling career before launching his own line, walking the runway for brands like Dakova and Nikki Africana and appearing in advertisements for household names like Macleans, Indomie noodles, Ultrasheen, and more. He dabbled with dancing and the management of fashion models before launching the beauty and clothing line House of Bunor under his own label.
Silverbird’s decision to hire Frank Oshodi as the designer and makeup artist for Agbani Darego, the first Nigerian to win Miss World, was a crucial turning point in his career. We’ve reviewed the reasons why Frank Oshodi is often connected with understated beauty. Frank has been in the bridal industry for for 25 years, during which time he has dressed many notable people both nationally and internationally. His brand has been highlighted on numerous Nigerian media outlets, and he has received widespread attention as a result. Additionally, Frank Oshodi has been a key figure in a number of events that have helped bring Nigerian fashion to the forefront of the fashion industry. He was a participant in the West African Fashion Week that took place in 2008.
6. Ade Bakare
Ade Bakare, who was born in Bromsgrove, United Kingdom, but is of Nigerian ancestry, attended and received a degree from Manchester University College. In the 1980s and 1990s, he worked as a tailor for Victor Edelstein and Christian Stambolian’s fashion firms, respectively, where he honed his craft. Ade Bakare Couture, his fashion label, debuted in 1991, and he quickly gained notoriety for his magnificent evening gowns, stunning day dresses, and breathtaking wedding gowns. In 2011, at the illustrious Wheat Baker Hotel Ikeja, Ade Bakare debuted a jersey line from his vintage collection.
Ade Bakare has been a part of the fashion industry for over 20 years, and his exceptional African design has caused and will continue to cause a stir all over the world. Both in Nigeria and London, his A-list clientele includes first ladies, senators’ wives, and ministers’ spouses, all of whom have come to appreciate his exceptional sense of style. He has had exhibitions in New York, Mozambique, Vienna, Morocco, Paris, and Cape Town, among other cities. Not only has he won honors from the Paris Academy and Conde Nast Publication, but he has also taken part in a number of programs meant to inspire and support the fashion industry.
5. Lisa Folawiyo
Lisa Folawiyo, the brains behind the jewelry line “Jewel By Lisa,” earned a law degree from University of Nigeria (UNN) in Nsukka, Enugu State. Her label is now recognized by everyone, and she continues to be one of the most prominent fashion designers in Nigeria. She is well-known for her work with the rare West African wax fabric known as Ankara. Tacha Smith, Beyoncé, Eve, and Kelis are just a few of her famous clients. You can find her at @LisaFolawiyo on Instagram and at lisafolawiyo.com on the web. Lisa has had a lifelong interest in the fashion industry, and in 2005 she launched her own line, Jewel by Lisa.
Lisa Folawiyo’s collections have been shown in South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States, in addition to Nigeria. This woman walked the runway at both the New York and Paris Fashion Weeks in 2010. In 2012, she was featured in Vogue Italia and awarded the African Fashion Award. Lisa was featured on several best-dressed lists, including those of BellaNaija and Style Vitae. In 2014, she was recognized one of the eight emerging stars by Women’s Wear Daily (WWD), and in 2015, she was included in the esteemed list of international brands, BOF500. Her taste is very original and she isn’t afraid to experiment with patterns and hues.
4. Ohimai Atafo
Ohimai Atafo is the brains behind the bridal brand Weddings by Mai and the women’s clothing boutique Mai Atafo Inspired. This 44-year-old Nigerian designer was born in Osun State and spent his formative years in Lagos. Mai earned a Master of Science in IT from City University in the United Kingdom and worked as a brand manager for Guinness Nigeria before entering the fashion sector. In 2010, he launched a clothing line that has since brought him international acclaim; it reflects his vision of the refined, self-assured, and sophisticated Nigerian man or woman.
Ohimai’s rapid brand expansion can be attributed to his participation in a number of competitions. Subsequently, his creations have been showcased on a number of style websites and television shows. Top celebrities like Banky W, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, Mercy Johnson, Stephanie Okereke, Waje, Gbenro Ajibade, and 2baba are all dressed by the bespoke fashion designer. Ohimai Atafo has won various accolades for his significant impact on fashion and design in Africa and beyond. Included among these are the 2009 City People Fashion and Style Award for Hottest New Male Designer, the 2010 Mode Men Award for Fashion Designer of the Year, the 2010 City People Fashion and Style Award for Special Recognition, the 2010 Mode Men Award for Best Dressed Man of the Year, the 2010 FAB Magazine Award for Fashion Brand of the Year, the 2010 Covenant University Redefining Fashion Contribution Award, the 2015 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week Award for Menswear Designer of the Year, and the 2015 People Fashion and Style Award for Special Recognition.
3. Zizi Cardow
Zizi Cardow, the head of Zizi Industrial Company, was born in the city of Isiukwuato, in the state of Abia. The likes of SABC, CNN, FTV, and Channel O, among others, have featured her work throughout the years. Her creations were showcased at the 2013 edition of London’s African Fashion Week. Zizi, who is passionate about spreading awareness of Ankara fabrics, launched her fashion label in 2000 after working in a boutique owned by Italians. A large number of influential people, including first ladies, buy from her.
Quite simply, Zizi Cardow is a brilliant designer of fashionable garments. Here is a rundown of some of the honors she’s received that have helped propel her to the forefront of her field. She has been honored with numerous accolades, including the title of “Designer of the Year” from the Nigerian Fashion Show in 2001, the “African Role Model Leadership” award in 2007, the “Nigeria Enterprise Award for Excellence” in 2008, the “Great Legend of Africa” award in 2008, the “Young Achievers Award” in 2010, the “UN Peace Ambassador” title in 2010, and the “Ada Ejiaga Mba 1 of Isiukwato” reverence in 2011.
2. Duro Olowu
Mix race Duro Olowu was born to a Jamaican mother and a Nigerian father. He spent his formative years in Lagos, Nigeria, but now calls London home. While Duro was attending the University of Kent in London to get his law degree, he realized that his true calling was in the fashion industry. As a result, he did not wait until after he received his degree to start pursuing his love. In 2014, he launched a line of women’s clothing that became an instant hit, cementing his status as a respected fashion designer known throughout the world.
Duro’s antique print designs, unusual patterns, and luxurious textures pay homage to his African heritage while also drawing inspiration from other parts of the world. As a man who appreciates both language and art, he finds a way to express himself through both through his clothing. His list of clients includes Michelle Obama, the former first lady of the United States, Solange Knowles, Uma Thurman, Linda Evangelista, and others. When it comes to the fashion industry, Duro Olowu has already received a few honors. British and American Vogue named him 2009 Dress of the Year, and he won Best International Designer at the Africans Fashion Awards in South Africa in 2010.
1. Lola Faturoti
Rather than being only a celebrity in the fashion world, Lola is a formidable competitor. Her mother was a skilled conventional fashion designer, and this considerably aided in the early development of her daughter’s lifelong interest in the industry. She was raised and educated from birth in her native Ondo State. Yet at the tender age of 17, she departed for London, where she enrolled in the London College of Fashion to study fashion design. When Lola finished fashion school, she wasted little time getting to work as a fashion designer. Before being selected to represent the United States as its finest young designer at Japan’s annual Osaka fashion committee in 1995, she worked at the renowned Charivari shop.
Going forward, Lola founded her own label called LolaloveCargo, which quickly gained the attention of fashion journalists and catapulted her to the forefront of the fashion world. The Metropolitan Museum of Art has bought and recognized her work, and she has participated in numerous American fashion shows. Her label is a reflection of the kind of woman she is: strong, bold, fun, original, and brave, all of which are reflected in its ageless, wearable designs. Following the success of her outfit designed to honor Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States, Lola experienced a new kind of fame in New York. Ever since, her name has been synonymous with unparalleled quality throughout the country and beyond.