Inside the fashion world of Nigeria: 7 names you need to know

Inside the fashion world of Nigeria: 7 names you need to know

By Paula-Anne Omiyi

It’s no secret that Lagos, Nigeria, is quickly becoming a recognized fashion capital of the world. Nigerians are known for their entrepreneurial spirit and distinctive style—and as a result, the international community has been increasingly engaged with Lagos over the years. To get you started on who and what to know in Nigerian fashion, here’s a list of some established industry influencers and emerging talents to keep an eye on, as well as some style havens to visit if you get the chance.

1. Lisa Folawiyo

Hello Sunday!!!😎😎😎

A photo posted by lisafolawiyo (@lisafolawiyo) on

Lisa Folawiyo is the founder and creative director of her self-titled womenswear label. Her custom prints, innovative designs, and runway shows at fashion weeks in New York and Lagos have garnered the attention of many international publications for several years. Style stars like Solange Knowles and actresses such as Thandie Newton have worn her designs and Folawiyo’s Instagram is a must-follow to see photos of her incredible personal everyday style and behind-the-scenes looks at her creative process.

2. Kene Rapu

Kene Rapu is the founder of the eponymous footwear brand, which uses locally sourced materials and Nigerian workmanship to create stylish handmade slippers and sandals. Rapu attended London College of Fashion and said in a Connect Nigeria interview, “My ambition is to build a strong global brand of fashionable footwear and fashion accessories, which can play a role in facilitating the economic development of an emerging nation such as Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”

3. Alara

Alara is here! #alaralagos #alarared #alara

A photo posted by ALARA (@alaralagos) on

This concept store, founded and run by Reni Folawiyo, gives valuable insight into the essence of Nigerian women and their approach to fashion with its diverse mix of luxury and contemporary brands. Western labels such as Bottega Veneta and Aquazzura are available, alongside clothes and accessories by celebrated African designers such as Tsemaye Binitie. Alara also carries unique furniture and home pieces and has an in-house art gallery and a raved-about restaurant called Nok. Complete with a stunning architectural exterior, Alara is a must-see in any Lagos itinerary.

4. Zazaii

So many @dapmod goodies in store folks!

A photo posted by ZAZAIIAFRICA (@experiencezazaii) on

Zazaii is a Lagos department store that offers a wide selection of African fashion, lifestyle, and beauty products, providing a carefully curated one-stop shopping experience both in Lagos and online for those that wish to #BuyNigerian and buy the best. Zazaii also hosts THE POP UP PARTY X ZAZAII, a shopping event that connects new businesses with consumers. Founded by Isoken Ogiemwonyi—the designer behind womenswear label Obsidian—Zazaii is making firm steps to encourage more growth and innovation in Nigeria’s fashion and beauty industries.

5. Amaka Osakwe

Look 19 ‘Ehn’ — ‘What is the meaning of this?’ View the full collection on

A photo posted by Maki Oh Lagos (@maki.oh) on

Amaka Osakwe is the creative mind behind luxury womenswear label Maki Oh. Her designs have been worn by Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyong’o, and the label has been featured on,, and many other fashion blogs and online news outlets. The confidence and refined thought Osakwe puts into her work is evident upon the review of her Fall 2016 RTW collection; quotes her as saying “There’s really nothing I can do but be proud of who I am and just keep trying to make people see the beauty in me and my culture and all of what I stand for.”

6. Zainab Ashadu

The Understudy in Ox Blood Python print patent leather and calf fur in Bordeaux, 1 of 1 ⚔

A photo posted by Z A S H A D U (@zashadu) on

Zainab Ashadu is Creative Director of the sustainable luxury accessories brand Zashadu, which provides quality leather goods (mainly clutches and purses) that are made with sustainably sourced leathers and are handcrafted using local techniques. Zashadu can be found online and in select stores in London and Lagos.

7. Dumebi Iyamah

✨ Our head designer @dumsy_ talks inspiration, motivation and more as on one of @elle_deco ‘s Modern Muses in the April/May issue #andreaiyamah

A photo posted by A N D R E A I Y A M A H swim (@andreaiyamahswimwear) on

Young Nigerian designer Dumebi Iyamah is the founder of Andrea Iyamah, a swimwear and womenswear label. Her swimwear has been featured in major publications and on popular websites internationally including Refinery29, Shape magazine, Cosmopolitan magazine, Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Brit + Co., and The unique designs and colorful prints displayed in the brand’s eye-catching campaigns are perfect for summer and can be purchased on the Andrea Iyamah website.

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