As we continue to celebrate International Women’s Day, we have curated a list to recognize the women who have in one way or the other taken Nigerian fashion to the world.
From helping build a previously non-existent fashion industry to literally taking Nigerian-made designs where ever she goes, women like Omoyemi Akerele and Chimamanda Adichie are among the driving forces championing Nigerian fashion’s global relevance.
Today we are celebrating these women who have taken it upon themselves to promote Nigerian fashion and culture, and indeed, Nigeria as a whole.
Meet the 7 inspiring women who have taken Nigerian fashion to the world…
1. Omoyemi Akerele
As founder and artistic director of Style House Files and Lagos Fashion Week, you will agree that Omoyemi Akerele does not get enough recognition for what she does and what she’s done for the Nigerian fashion industry. The birth of LFW was undeniably the single most important instrument in raising the profile of the Nigerian fashion industry. It has drawn the attention of international journalists as well as attracting many international buyers and ultimately, building up Lagos as a fashion capital to watch.
2. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Award-winning author, Chimamanda Adichie launched a “Wear Nigerian Campaign” in 2017. Since then, Chimamanda has attested to discovering new names and more Nigerian brands. According to Chimamanda, the “Wear Nigerian” project aims to showcase Nigerian fashion in a light that would tell the world that we don’t only have a museum of “traditional African” clothes but also a hugely diverse and vibrant fashion industry.
3. Yemi Alade
Nigerian Afropop singer and songwriter, Yemi Eberechi Alade, popularly known as Yemi Alade is one Afrocentric musician. Her love for African prints, hairstyles, accessories and essentially all things African shines through in every look she’s spotted in. Yemi always has her fans screaming goals! with the way she effortlessly manages to infuse a bit of Nigeria and Africa into her stylish ensembles.
4. Naomi Campbell
British supermodel, Naomi Campbell is one woman who loves Africa and has consistently shown her love for the continent so much so that she doesn’t hide the fact that she has great plans for Africa. Having opened for Lanre Da Silva Ajayi at the Arise Fashion Week in 2018, Naomi was grateful for the experience and wished she didn’t have to leave.
According to an interview with British Vogue, Naomi said, “I was so excited by all of the fashion, the music and the culture. I’m gonna wear [all those designers] now that I’m home; I felt so comfortable, so easy, so relaxed. I feel like Africa, as a continent, is on the tip of an explosion. It’s the next destination, and it needs a broader platform. I am going to help them get it. It’s more than overdue. There needs to be an African Vogue. It’s time.”
5. Ink Eze
Nkechi Christine Eze, popularly called Ink Eze, is the younger sister of Uche Pedro, BellaNaija’s founder and CEO. As founder of AsoEbiBella.com – an online platform for sharing Nigerian and African traditional styles, Ink has been a major force in promoting “traditional” Nigerian fashion.
She has successfully put Nigerian fashion within ease of reach. Many Nigerians and Africans at home and in the diaspora turn to AsoEbiBella for inspiration when an Owambe is near or when they just want to be entertained by the beauty of our fashion. In addition, many no longer have to wait for the next edition of a print magazine to get style inspiration.
6. Amaka Osakwe
Founder of Maki Oh, a womenswear brand that fuses traditional African techniques with detailed contemporary construction, Amaka Osakwe has consistently churned out pieces that stylists could not afford to ignore. She never fails to infuse a touch of home in the form of Adire fabric in her collections. Besides showcasing at NYFW, Maki Oh designs have been worn by international stars like Genevieve Nnaji, Lupita Nyong’o, Issa Rae, Solange Knowles, Rihanna, Beyonce Knowles Carter and Michelle Obama.
7. Mayowa Nicholas
Nigerian supermodel Mayowa Nicholas came into the spotlight after winning the 2014 Elite Model Look Nigeria competition, and since then has consistently taken the world by a storm. From introducing Met Gala “Heavenly Bodies” to being on the cover of Vogue Germany, Harper’s Bazaar, Interview Magazine and even being a Victoria’s Secret Angel, Mayowa is strutting her stuff all over the globe and taking her Nigerian heritage along for the ride.
Photo credit: IG | As captioned
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