The fashion industry in Nigeria and the diaspora is being constantly driven forward thanks to these trailblazing women.
Be it designing, styling or facilitating, every single one of these women have provided an important platform upon which to show the dynamic creative capabilities of Nigerians. These ladies are a brilliant representation of women without boundaries who are doing all they can to cultivate the Nigerian creative space.
Businesswoman Reni Folawiyo is the founder of ‘Alara’, a concept store in the heart of Victoria Island, Lagos that seeks to redefine luxury fashion for Nigerians. Alara which means ‘wondrous performer’ in Yoruba, has fast become the go-to fashion destination for Nigerians and visitors. It offers a mix of fashion, art and design in a similar style to famous concept stores like Paris’ Colette, London’s Dover Street Market and Milan’s 10 Corso Como.
Mrs F, as she’s affectionately known, has provided an important platform for young Nigerian creatives to display their work. Although it stocks international designers, the focus of Alara is to celebrate homegrown talent and supporting the designers and artisans that reside right here in Africa. From trunk shows to presentations, Alara is a hub of activity and so much more than a retail store, it’s a home away from home for the Nigerian creative community.
Omoyemi Akerele is the founder and artistic director of Style House Files, a creative development agency for Nigerian and African designers. She is credited as the driving force behind Nigeria’s growing fashion industry and an important figure when it comes to providing a platform for young creatives. Style House Files is a pioneering agency in image consultancy and creative direction within Nigeria and works with Nigerian brands on how best to navigate through creative, retail and business spaces.
Omoyemi’s legacy however is the yearly fashion event, Lagos Fashion and Design Week, which has become Lagos’s answer to NYFW with a whole host of local and international designers showcasing their work. LFDW has grown exponentially over the last few years and has transformed into THE fashion event of the year with industry insiders, influencer, stylists and celebrities flocking to be spotted in the front row.
Nikki Ogunnaike, is Senior Fashion Editor of ELLE.com and has become the go-to style expert for millions of fans, and followers of what is now the largest fashion and beauty magazine website. She also represents the brand on television and in ELLE.com videos. Anytime you need a mix of fashion that is equal parts accessible and forward-thinking, Ogunnaike is your woman.
The Nigerian-American editor started out at InStyle magazine as an assistant editor and Vanity Fair as a fashion assistant before moving to Glamour.com as their Senior Fashion Editor. She joined the ELLE.com team in 2015.
Her vibrant personality and quirky style is what makes Nikki such a unique figure in the industry. A regular at fashion week, often seen kiki-ing with friend and stylist, Shiona Turini. Do not however, be fooled by her down to earth demeanour, Nikki is one of the most important voices in fashion publishing. She, and a select group of other editors, control the narrative at some of the world’s biggest magazines and are invaluable addition to the fashion world as we know it.
Ade Samuel, having started out as an intern at Teen Vogue, has gone on to become a shoe designer and highly-sought after celebrity stylist. The transition from stylist to designer is not easy but it is something Ade has successfully done whilst still building her name in the styling industry and working with a whole host of celebrities including Jhene Aiko, Kelly Rowland and Big Sean.
Samuel’s voice and aesthetic is also important as diversity and representation for women of colour become necessary in every aspect of fashion. Ade Samuel is the very embodiment of #BlackGirlMagic, a young, independent black woman constantly breaking barriers and coming for everything they said she could not have.
Ade continues to scale new heights as she recently styled the ‘Black Panther’ Essencemagazine cover which broke the internet. Working in relative silence and letting her achievements do the talking, Ade Samuel is making moves both here and in the diaspora. On a recent trip to Nigeria, Samuel unveiled her plans for ‘The New Nigeria’ which will be the new frontier for Nigerian creatives and we cannot wait to see just how it all plays out.