Nigeria, like other parts of Africa, is home to a lot of traditions that have been handed down from generation to generation since the inception of time. Genuinely intertwined with myths, spirituality and rituals, these practices are reflected in our food, language and fused into the clothes that we rock proudly as we pay homage to our rich heritage. Here are some of the Lagos-based fashion brands that continuously create the perfect contemporary interpretations of our culture and traditions:
Jewel by Lisa
The brand Jewel by Lisa is a women’s luxury fashion brand created by Lisa Folawiyo who is a Nigerian-based fashion designer. Founded in the year 2005, Jewel by Lisa has become a global women’s wear brand that is also known for designing accessories. This brand is best recognised for its masterful use of Ankara (a West-African fabric) alongside hand-embellished sequins, Swaroski crystals and beads to create relatively recent garments with contemporary and feminine silhouettes staying true to traditional African aesthetics. Jewel by Lisa has taken the art of wearing Ankara to a whole new level by putting the fabric through a transformation process with ornate embellishment thereby changing her label into a luxury fashion brand that is widely coveted. Jewel by Lisa, aside from upholding the African heritage through the use of Nigerian fabrics, has succeeded in integrating these fabrics with international styles resulting in an explosive creative blend.
This brand’s artfully made collections have featured on several platforms ranging from our very own Lagos Fashion and Design Week to other international platforms in Paris, London, New York, Johannesburg and so on. Clients who have rocked the brand’s stunning outfits include Nigerian and foreign celebrities like Genevive Nnaji, Lucy Liu, Solange Knowles, Angela Simmons, Tasha Smith and so on. Jewel by Lisa’s versatility and ability to present the popular fabric to international customers attractively in a way that travels beyond it being just traditional Nigerian clothing has put both the fabric and the store in a high and globally famous position.
Olayinka Fashola’s exquisite brand, Moofa, is popularly known for integrating African and European fashion in its gorgeously created and dramatic pieces. Established in 2010, Moofa is currently one of the most sought-after fashion brands in Lagos due to its ability to keep you stylish, elegant and effortlessly fabulous while aiming to perfectly suit your style. The brand is skilled when it comes to capturing the sexy, bold and edgy aspects of the feminine side and is priced for its ‘clean cuts and impeccable fits. Moofa is widely recognized for its creational of trans-seasonal, timeless and functional pieces that are fit to be donned at any time, either at work or casually, day or night. This brand uses versatile fabrics like Ankara, Damask and jersey for its elegant creations thereby making the Moofa brand unique and excitingly distinctive. Moofa creates its designs based on inspirations from the environment, African tradition with a blend of contemporary fashion techniques and people. This brand has made it their major priority to conform with the wearer’s comfort. Some signature Moofa pieces include the Moofa wax print, Moofa Luxe, Moofa Attraction and Moofa African print.
House of Deola
The renowned Deola Sagoe’s brand House of Deola has been at the cutting edge of high fashion since its launch in 1989. In 2004, the brand presented a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated fashion week, making its founder Deola Sagoe the first black woman to present a collection at this prestigious event. House of Deola continued to trailblaze Nigeria on the global fashion map by also being the first Nigerian brand to have its own stand-alone show at the New York fashion week in 2014. The multi-award-winning brand is widely recognised for its imaginative designs, use of exclusive and authentic fabrics, eye for detail, and advocating the push for structures in Africa’s fashion industry thereby offering a distinctive approach to African haute couture. House of Deola prides itself in the use of African fabrics, hand-woven materials alongside the integration of nearly forgotten traditional techniques with the modern. The brand’s speciality is designing and creating bespoke apparel and bridal wear globally famed for its unrivalled quality and continuous creativity. One of this brand’s famous bridal pieces includes the Komole collection which popped up in 2012. House of Deola produced costumes for Kunle Afolayan’s 2015 independence themed movie October 1 and ended up bagging the Multichoice Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award (AMVCA) for Best Costume Designer. The brand’s globally appealing style has been worn by enviable clientèle like Oprah Winfrey, Will Smith, Alek Wek and Lydia Hearst. House of Deola’s successes has earned Deola Sagoe tags like leading lady of African fashion and one of the lionesses of Africa. This wonderful brand has made it its mission to honour the ingrained, ethnic glamour found in hand-woven materials and local African fabrics.
Adebayo Oke-Lawal’s Orange Culture was established in 2011, materialising his fashion vision after his work with several Nigerian designers. Shortly after its launch in 2011, the label had an official runway debut at Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2011. Orange Culture as explained by the founder is more than a clothing line, the brand is a movement that encircles universal silhouettes with an African touch to a creative class of men. This mix successfully translates into a heady mixture of Nigerian inspired print fabrics, colour and trendy metropolitan streetwear with all its wears manufactured in Lagos, using ethically-sourced fabrics from local Nigerian fabric makers. Orange Culture’s unique pieces are known for telling people’s stories simply by their looks. This brand was one of the first Nigerian brands to initiate collaborations within the industry and has set a pace for others to follow. Some of the brand’s collaborations include affiliations with Huawei, Rokus London, MaxiviveDennis, Osadebe, and so on. In 2015, Orange Culture bagged a major achievement after it was selected by Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessey for its first-ever Luis Vuitton Moet Hennessey (LVMH) prize as one of the 20 finalists among over 1221 brands all over the world in Paris. Orange Culture’s elegant apparel features plunging silhouettes, vibrant colours, and traditionally feminine cuts such as fitted crop tops, sequined vests and oversized pussy bows, fashionably catering for both men and women. This brand designs silhouettes with incredible twists and employs artisanal approaches, native to the Yoruba community, into its fabrics. Celebrities that have rocked wears from Orange Culture include Chimamanda Adichie, Dua Lipa, Lupita Nyong’o and many more.
IAMISIGO is a womenswear brand founded by designer Bubu Ogisi and based between Lagos, Nairobi and Accra in 2009. This brand is dedicated to preserving the ancestral textile techniques of the African heritage. Finding a way to work with small artisanal communities across the continent while highlighting their age-old techniques, IAMISIGO has gotten stunning collections of wearable yet captivating art pieces. This brand’s conceptual fashion taps into African history and spirituality, promoting Pan-African pride with collections rooted in mythology and indigenous storytelling. IAMISIGO uses traditional textiles and the advocating of socio-political themes, to communicate stories that present a new understanding of Africa to the world. The multi-award-winning brand fuses African culture with an audacious yet minimal design aesthetic and achieves a versatile yet fashion-forward DNA by using visually textured fabrics inclined silhouettes. This brand’s collections have been showcased severally at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week, the International Fashion Showcase(London Fashion Week), the South Africa Fashion Week Exhibition amongst others. In addition to IAMISIGO’s emphasis on craftsmanship, to find the right balance between machinery and humans, fabrics and materials are also reused (prior collections). The brand’s pieces are handcrafted as well as experimental. The label IAMISIGO strongly believes that the body is the ultimate canvas, so everything it creates has to exude that.