Friday 24th of March 2023

Nairobi, Kenya

Telfar Clemens Wins National Design Award for Fashion Design From Cooper Hewitt

This is the second significant award Telfar Clemens has won recently, having been honored with the CFDA’s Accessories Designer of the Year award last month.

The Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum planned a virtual gala for Thursday night’s 21st National Design Awards.

Instead of welcoming hundreds to the Upper East Side museum for its annual awards gala, the Cooper Hewitt took a more remote approach for the event, which doubled as a kickoff for National Design Month. To promote an all-are-welcome theme, footage of the gala and ancillary educational programs are available online at no charge for anyone to discover the importance of design.

The Fashion Design award went to Telfar, but the company’s founder Telfar Clemens was not doing any interviews at this time, according to a Cooper Hewitt spokeswoman. An interview request sent to his company was not acknowledged.

In a self-description included in the Cooper Hewitt’s press material, Clemens wrote, “Become a queer, Black 18-year-old, travel back to 2004 and establish a 100 percent nongendered fashion line out of your family apartment in LeFrak City, Queens. Make clothes that do not exist on (folo) the market  just like you don’t exist in the world. Don’t have any money. Persist for a decade without a single review from the fashion press. Do everything differently. If stores won’t buy your clothes, show in museums.

If ‘beauty’ sponsors don’t like your skin and hair make the uniforms for a fast-food chain. Use the money to help bail out hundreds of kids off Rikers Island. Win the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund, use the money to make an ‘It’ bag, where ‘It’ has nothing to do with domination. Refuse to be tokenized. Decline invitations. Use ‘fashion’ to envision a future that can help destroy the present. Lots of love, keep your family close, breathe; ignore the bulls–t, and please remember: the world isn’t everything.”

Clemens recently won another award of great distinction the 2020 Accessories Designer of the Year award at the CFDA Awards last month. The in-demand designer, who designed uniforms for 400-plus White Castle workers, unveiled a collaboration with Ugg a few weeks ago.

Studio 189 picked up the NDA’s Emerging Designer award. Founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah, the label is an artisan produced lifestyle brand and social enterprise. Made in Africa, Studio 189 produces African and African-inspired content and clothing.

The Cooper Hewitt gave the Communication Design award to Scott Dadich, the founder of Godfrey Dadich Partners and creator of the Netflix series “Abstract: The Art of Design.” The Digital Design award went to Design I/O. Kickstarter, the crowdsourced launcher of many design-minded products and concepts, was the recipient of the 2020 Design Visionary award.

The NDA for Product Design was won by Catapult Design. The Oslo-based Snøhetta locked up the Architecture award while Sponge Park, located along the Gowanus Canal and designed by DLAND studio, earned the Climate Action award and OJB Landscape Architecture was the Landscape Architecture winner.

Content courtesy of WWD & Nairobi fashion hub 

Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo is a multi-faceted global womenswear and accessories collection.

Designer, Lisa Folawiyo perfected the art of wearing Ankara (local West African cloth) through the use of ornate embellishment. By incorporating texture with this culturally established traditional textile, Lisa Folawiyo transformed the textile and created a globally coveted print. This conceptual and global design hybrid has been the key to Lisa Folawiyo ʼs success.

Fused with its very own African-inspired custom luxury prints, the Lisa Folawiyo collection skillfully delivers contemporary garments. With a strong eye for tailoring and fit, Folawiyo creates feminine and modern silhouettes with nods to traditional African aesthetics.

“Her passion for clothes and her innate sense of style led her to create what at the time had never been done, the embellishing of the local Ankara fabric which has now become a global phenomenon.”

Each Lisa Folawiyo garment boasts a handcrafted and unique history from inception to construction. Folawiyoʼs expert artisans hand embellish each Lisa Folawiyo piece, on average a 240 hour process that reflects the brandʼs focus on design integrity.

Lisa Folawiyo has shown its collections on international platforms – in Lagos and Johannesburg to London, Paris, Milan and New York; from Lagos Fashion & Design Week to New York Fashion Week to the Pitti W Tradeshow and the Vogue Talent Exhibition in collaboration with Vogue Italia.

Lisa Folawiyo has been featured in several publications such as Vogue, Style.com, The New York Times, Harper’s Bazaar, Women’s Wear Daily, Drapers, BBC.co.uk, Dazeddigital.com, ModaOperandi.com, The Financial Times Online (How To Spend It), Essence, and Marie Claire.

The brand has also been well received and worn by the likes of actresses, Lupita Nyong’o, Lucy Liu, Thandie Newton; and Singer, Solange Knowles.

Lisa Folawiyo has been stocked at Moda Operandi, Mytheresa.com, and Selfridges.

Lisa Folawiyo has collaborated with global brands such as Blackberry and L’Oreal, to create limited edition Blackberry Phone cases and Lipstick & Nailpolish covers, respectively.

The Lisa Folawiyo line is housed under the Jewel by Lisa Group, with other brands namely Jewel by Lisa (The Ankara collection), The J label (The Diffusion collection), and Pretty Precious (The Kids collection).

Content courtesy of Lisa Folawiyo

Chaos by Kai’s Divo Collection

Kaijuka Abbas, owner, and proprietor of Kai’s Divo Collection is the creative force behind some of the best-dressed celebrities from Bettina Tiana and Malaika Nnyanzi to Winnie Nwagi and Maurice Kirya.

He was named the Best Designer of the Year at the Men’s Fashion Week Nigeria 2019 which took place from the 28th to 29th November 2019 at the Royal Oak Event Center in Lagos.

Kai’s Divo Collection is a Ugandan fashion brand renowned for its unique take on style. 

In this chat, Abbas Kaijuka, the creative director of the brand, shares his inspiration for the collection.

What was the starting point for this collection?

This collection was about everything we think men shouldn’t wear. It was birthed out of a conversation I had had with some of my male clients. They were wondering what would happen if I gave them some of our signature dramatic styles to wear.

Men usually come to me for conventional menswear pieces such as suits. Yet, if you’ve been following my brand right from our early days, you know that I’m a rebel when it comes to menswear. In my world, menswear should be more fun and expressive.

Putting the collection together was easy, I worked with most of the fabrics that I usually work with for women’s wear and married some of the styles together, to create a collection that’s bordering gender-neutral.

We see a lot of tulle on pants and jackets, these are soft fabrics usually seen in women’swear.

What was your thought process making men wear tulle? 

My work allows me the opportunity to interface with lots of people, both men and women. From my experience, men are way softer than women. You can measure someone’s strength by the number risks they are willing to take. Men are not risk takers when it comes to style. I wanted to showcase the level of risk taking men ought to be at.

We also see a lot of capes, what was the idea behind these?

 I’ve always been fascinated by capes. They are the wings that make superheroes such as  Superman and Batman fly. In a cape, I see men who are out there saving the planet.

These are generally edgy looks for men. What’s your take on men getting adventurous with shapes and detail?

Like I said, I’d like men to be more adventurous. I’d like men to take more risks. It doesn’t hurt to think out of the usual box.

Kai’s Divo collection

Model: Akram Sempala (signed to @jorammodelmanagement)
Photos by @banjiphoto
Onset assistants: Isaac Baboki/ Thomas Verk
Shot on location at Camouflage

Top 10 Nigerian Fashion Designers

Nigerian Fashion Designers are taking the fashion industry by storm worldwide, Nigerian fashion design is no longer a field that can be termed a waste or mediocre, The fashion designer is an all-around artiste pioneering style and trends. These designers serve you Nigeria’s latest fashion and African styles. Contemporary to contemporary, the art that is fashion has exploded into a canvas where each designer paints their vision. It can be said that Nigerian designers are capable of influencing the international fashion scene.

Though most Nigerian male designers are still on the come up in Nigerian fashion design, there’s room for more creatives to explore. Numerous platforms have been developed to showcase African fashion. The ARISE Fashion Week and Lagos Fashion Week have gone a long way in showcasing Nigeria to Nigerians and then the world.

1. Folake Folarin Coker

Folake Folarin-Coker is the founder of Tiffany Amber, a world-famous iconic label whose journey began in Lagos in 1998. Born in Lagos, she did her schooling in Europe (England, Scotland and Switzerland), where she got an opportunity to interact and engage with various cultures while still at a young age. Interestingly, she has a Master’s Degree in Petroleum Law from Switzerland, but as fate would have it, her insatiable passion for fashion led her into fashion design. Her curiosity for cultures steered her love and interest to focus on unique fashion designs that appeal to women of various tastes and preferences.

Folake’s tasteful and colorful creations have earned her global recognition, making her the first African fashion designer to showcase her talent at the New York Mercedes Fashion Week two years in a row. She has also been widely featured by International media houses such as CNN, and in 2013, she received an Enterprise Award at WIE (Women, Inspiration and Enterprise) Symposium. In addition, she has made it onto the Forbes Power Women in Africa list.

She has been instrumental in making the Nigerian fashion industry shine.

“Now, Nigerian fashion has a personality of its own. There are so many amazing designers in Nigeria doing such great things. If you mention a designer, someone would likely know who you were talking about. Ten years ago, that wasn’t the case. Lagos was more of a tailoring city back then as opposed to the designing city it has become,” Folarin-Coker said.

2. Duro Olowu

London-based, Nigerian born, Duro Olowu, shares both Nigerian and Jamaican roots and is a household name in both the Nigerian and global fashion industry. He is, undoubtedly, a well-respected Nigerian fashion design personality, famous for his unique and colorful African prints. He’s super talented in working with patterns, and his designs incorporate the rich culture, spirit, and diversity of the Nigerian people.

His interest in fashion began when he was only six years old and went on throughout his childhood.  Olowu’s talent has earned him global fame and recognition with top clients to his name such as Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, Uma Thurman, and Linda Evangelista, among others.

Despite being a lawyer by profession, fashion was Olowu’s first love. During his career, he has bagged numerous awards further raising his profile in the global fashion industry. In 2005, he was the first designer to be named New Designer of the Year at London Fashion Week without staging a catwalk show.

At the African Fashion Awards in 2009, he was named the Best International Designer and was one of the six nominees for the Swiss Textile Federation’s top prize of 100,000 Euros. Both British and American Vogue in 2005 named his waist patchwork “Duro,” as the “Dress of the Year.” One of Olowu’s famous quotes is, “My job is not dictating to women what they should wear; it is presenting them with beautiful options.”

3. Deola Sagoe

Deola Sagoe is a renowned Nigerian fashion designer, entrepreneur and founder of The House of Deola Sagoe. Her unique approach of designing lively and colorful prints has earned her a global following including notable personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith, who have recognized her for her celebration of African prints.

Having launched her career in 1989, Sagoe has a Masters Degree in Finance and Management and has studied at both University of Lagos and University of Miami. She is a woman with many layers and this is reflected in her multilayered designs. Her signature designs, Attitude and Elegance, draw their inspiration from fabrics with a traditional Nigerian touch and western aesthetics.

She designed the label, Odua, for her mom, who played a major role in popularizing her in the industry. Her recent works include hand-dyed Adire fabric, which is made by Yoruba women. Her reputation spans beyond the African continent, earning her fame and respect.

Aside from showcasing her couture collection at Cape Town and New York Fashion Weeks, Deola won the MNET/Anglo Gold African Designs 2000 Award. United Nations World Food Program appointed her Nigeria’s ambassador to the program, “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food.” This was aimed at raising funds to reduce, by half, the number of starving people in the world, especially children by 2015.

Her three daughters, Teni, Tiwa, and Aba Sagoe, have taken after their mother and are owners of the popular CLAN fashion label. Sagoe believes the African fashion industry has come a long way and there’s still plenty of room for growth “Just in Africa, there is a huge market, without even going to Europe… and the US, there is a huge market there,” Sagoe states.

4. Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo is a self-made Nigerian fashion designer who is famous for the way she creatively fuses traditional West African fabrics with modern tailoring techniques. She is known for her label, Jewel by Lisa, which she launched in 2005, and has since grown to become a global fashion brand with showrooms in New York and Nigeria.

Folawiyo uses Ankara, a traditional West African fabric, to create captivating and luxurious custom prints. She has her own fabric line that also produces accessories such as jewelry and purses. Line J Label, her diffusion line, showcases the best of Nigerian culture by incorporating Afropop with tasteful urban designs. Some of her celebrity fans include Beyonce, Kelis,Tasha Smith, and Eve.

Aside from Nigeria, her collections have been showcased in the UK, US, and South Africa. She has participated in New York Fashion Week 2010 and Paris Fashion Week 2010. Some of her career achievements include winner of the African Fashion Award in 2012, and she was featured in Vogue Italia in 2012. In 2014, Women’s Wear Daily (WWD) named Folawiyo among the eight emerging talents. In 2015, BOF500, a prestigious list of international brands, featured the designer among top fashion brands making an impact on the global scene.

Lisa Folawiyo studied Law at the University of Nigeria, but decided to pursue her love of fashion. She admits her style is simplistic but innovative, and she also loves to play around with colors and mix prints. International media houses such as Style.com, Gotham, and Women’s Wear Daily have reviewed her.

5. Soares Anthony

Soares Anthony is a young, energetic, and talented fashion designer who focuses on his men’s clothing line, Soares Anthony. His work draws inspiration from local Nigerian fabrics coupled with Japanese tailoring designs. His designs are masculine, yet modern and trendy by way of transforming an ordinary look into a sophisticated design that embraces elegance.

Anthony began acquired his love for fashion when he was a young boy where he spent his time sketching and drawing. He loves to work with colors, and his awesome talent has seen his pieces worn by famous politicians and celebrities. Young and successful, he is a talented fashion designer to watch out for as his name continues to cause ripples in both the local and global fashion industries.


His pieces are also sold globally in the UK, US, and France. Anthony uses his talent to make an impact on the community through a mentoring program he runs that helps young and upcoming Nigerian designers excel and compete on a global platform. Nature, colors, and artwork are his main sources of inspiration.

6. Lola Faturoti

Lola Faturoti is a Nigerian-born, New York-based fashion designer with extensive experience and renowned international repute. Faturoti, who hails from Ondo State, went on to school in London before moving to New York in the early 1990s. Her fashion journey began from childhood when she helped her grandmother, who was also a fashion designer. “I got interested in fashion because my grandmother was a designer. She designed Nigerian traditional clothes. That was my first introduction to fashion, which I hated because I wanted to be out playing instead of picking out seams!”

Her inspiration is mainly drawn from her roots, and Faturoti rose to fame in New York when she made a dress to celebrate Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States. The dress had these bold Yoruba words, “Oluwa gba President Barack Obama,” which means, “God Bless President Barack Obama.”


She confirms that her mother played a major role in defining her personal style. “My mom travelled a lot to London and New York. She bought me a lot of clothes, so I began to dress differently. I think that was the first introduction to me wanting to be different through clothing,” says Faturoti.

While in New York, she was employed in the Charivari Boutique where president of the company, Barbara Weiser, noticed her potential and passion for unique fashion and helped her launch her first fashion collection. Her passion for African fashion is profound. “Everything begins for me with the print and fabric, which usually has some shine,” exclaims Faturoti. Her deep African roots, as well as extensive global experience with having lived and worked in New York and Milan have been instrumental in her success and international spotlight.

7. Frank Oshodi

Frank Oshodi is a perfect presentation of how Nigerian cultural diversity has been embraced in unique fashion design trends. With extensive industry experience spanning over 25 years, Oshodi began his career as a model and was employed by top household fashion houses, such as Dakova and Nikki Africana.

He also worked on popular TV commercials such as Maclean’s before rising in the ranks to become a model manager. He went into choreography before finally launching his makeup label, House of Bunor and Fashion Designing. His big break came when Silverbird hired him to be the designer and makeup artist for Agbani Darego, who was the 2001 Miss World winner. Since then, Oshodi’s career has continuously rewarded him, enabling him to acquire many clients across the world.

Effortless beauty and elegance is the foundation of Oshodi’s career and is reflected in the years he has been in the industry. He has played a major role in numerous events such as The West African Fashion Week 2008, whose aim was to showcase the very best of Nigerian fashion. There’s no doubt that Oshodi’s journey so far is only the beginning of future successes that await him on the Nigerian fashion scene. He’s definitely a force to be reckoned with.

8. Zizi Cardow

Zizi Cardow has been instrumental in successfully showcasing the Nigerian fabric and culture on a global level. She launched her label, Zizi, which has seen her profile expand proudly, letting the world know how unique and elegant the Nigerian fabric is. She is credited with promoting the Ankara fabric, which has earned it global fame as the fabric is now being worn to red carpet events around the world.

When she was young, Cardow hoped to become a forensic profiler, but after landing her first fashion job at only 17 in an Italian-owned boutique ignited her interest in fashion. Being a popular African fashion ambassador, her success has seen her designs featured in many international catwalk events in Cape Town, Milan, Paris, the USA, and other destinations worldwide.

Her global revolution for the African fabric to be appreciated internationally has earned numerous awards, with the list being long and continuing to grow. In 2001, after only one year in the fashion industry, she bagged the Prestigious Designer of the Year Award at the Nigerian Fashion Show. With this award to her name, the world noticed her work, and her work was showcased on a global platform.

In 2002, other awards knocked at her door.  The DAME Award recognized her for her outstanding achievement in fashion, and also winning the St. Moritz Style Selection Award and Nigerian Women Awards. From 2002, she kept winning numerous awards successively year after year, raising her profile in the industry. Some of the other major accolades Cardow has achieved include the 2010 UN Peace Ambassador, 2010 Global Leadership Award, 2010 Young Achievers Award, 2010 Fashion and Style Award, 2010 Merit Award for African Heritage, 2009 Zenith Award for Excellence, and 2007 African Role Model Leadership Award, as well as many others.

Her client base is vast, consisting of famous political figures and celebrities. She has also been featured by top international media houses such as CNN, SABC, Channel O, and FTV. Zizi Cardow has given back to society through numerous mentorship programs, which have, in turn, earned her awards.

9. Mai Atafo

Mai Atafo is a well-known Nigerian male bespoke designer. He rose into the limelight after launching his brand, Mai Atafo, which has been successful both on the local scene, as well as global fashion scene. His aim throughout his career has been to uniquely showcase the personality of a confident and elegant Nigerian gentleman.

Atafo is a trained IT specialist with a Master’s Degree in Information Systems and Technology from the UK. After returning from the UK in 2002, he worked in various positions in the corporate sector until 2010, when he resigned to pursue fashion full time.

Atafo’s clothing label has gained popularity while attracting top clientele. He has dressed personalities such as Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria in 2005, Omowunmi Akinnifesi, and I.K. Osakioduwa. In addition, other famous personalities on his list are Mercy Johnson, 2Baba, Waje, Gbenro Ajibade, and Stephanie Okereke.

Atafo also launched his fashion line, Weddings by Mai, in 2011 with his designs being showcased at various high-profile events. Atafo has bagged numerous awards during his career to celebrate and appreciate his excellent craftsmanship. Some of the awards he has received include being the winner of City People Fashion and Style’s Hottest New Male Designer two years in a row, LFW Menswear Designer of the Year, Mode Men Magazine’s Fashion Designer of the Year, and Allure’s Most Stylish Man of the Year.

Atafo believes fashion is an all-round aspect. “Fashion goes beyond clothes. It is also hair and all those elements put together,” notes Atafo.

10. Ade Bakare

Ade Bakare is an established Nigerian fashion designer whose impeccable African designs have caused ripples around the globe. Having been in the fashion industry for two decades, his super elegant designs are popular, making him a household name in both Nigeria and London. His work is a perfect example of female sophistication.

Bakare was born and schooled in the UK, after which he was employed in some of the top and finest fashion houses of Christian Stambolian and Victor Edelstein. In 1991, he founded Ade Bakare Couture and began selling his own collections to various boutiques in England, Scotland, and Channel Islands.

His work ranges from exclusive evening gowns to stylish wedding gowns, hats and fragrances. He deals with high-end clients in both Nigeria and London, who have recognized his over-the-top fashion talent. Bakare also has perfumes named Breeze, and Ade Breeze which is a jersey line of his brand.

Bakare’s work has been showcased around the world in places such as New York, Vienna, Mozambique, Morocco, Paris, and Cape Town. Aside from having numerous English personalities and celebrities wearing his pieces, he also has first ladies, senators, and minister’s wives as clients. He has also been involved in numerous programs geared to inspire upcoming designers. The Ministry of Youth and Culture recognized Bakare for this role in supporting young and upcoming fashion designers.

Bakare has also received awards from the Paris Academy and Conde Nast Publication. His dresses are known to be classic with a modern twist while spanning various types of fabrics. Bakare is well-known and celebrated for his famous and luxurious female gazar and organza sweep coasts.

11. Kenneth Ize

Kenneth Ize’s name is on everyone’s lips. The Nigerian fashion designer and finalist for this year’s prestigious LVMH Prize, whose pieces have been worn by Naomi Campbell and Donald Glover, is giving a luxury finish to local artisanal aesthetics, rendering them desirable for high-end markets both at home and abroad.

Born in Lagos, Kenneth Ize is using his cross-cultural experiences to produce new contemporary forms in the Nigerian fashion industry. The designer received his fashion and design diploma in 2015, at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna, under Hussein Chalayan. In this same year Izedonmwen also received the Fred Adlmüller scholarship during his graduation show.

Kenneth officially launched his fashion brand in Lagos in 2013, immediately after his 3 year in university in which Bernhard Wilhelm headed the fashion department. His knowledge and diverse experience  from assisting Edun to Asher Levine in New York  has flourished Kenneth into a talented creator. He is utilising his international expertise to contribute to an emerging Nigerian fashion industry, being recognised as a key player during Lagos fashion and design week for three consecutive years.

12. Lanre da Silva

Lanre da Silva born 1978 is a Lagos-based fashion designer considered to be one of Nigeria’s leading couturiers. Launched in 2005, her eponymous label includes couture, ready-to-wear, jewelry and hairpieces. Da Silva’s collections often incorporate metallic fabrics, lace and African patterns, while referencing the 1940s or 1800s. The Africa Fashion Guide recognizes her as having “… created a name for herself in high fashion in Nigeria.”

After studying finance and business in the UK, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi changed her path and became a fashion designer in Nigeria. However, this did not happen over night.
‘Success, as we all know, is a learning curve that comes with patience, perseverance, hard work and endurance.’

Her passion for the industry is her major driving force to work hard all the time. Lanre’s style is rich in femininity and uses a multitude of embellishments. Lanre was flattered and excited when asked to collaborate on Vlisco’s Season 3 – 2017 lookbook, as she had always loved Vlisco fabrics.  ‘I particularly love how they pay homage to African arts and that they are an authentic Dutch Wax brand, the original Wax Hollandais.’

13. Kubi Oyelese

Kubi Oyelese Popularly known as April By, a nickname coined from her birth month of April, Kubi Oyelese is famous for her beautiful bridal pieces as well as designing beautiful dresses for celebs like Agbani Darego, Tiwa Savage, Toke Makinwa, Seyi Shay and many others.
A graduate of the renowned Fashion Institute of Technology of New York, Kubi’s company was founded in 2010

Toluwaloju Oluwofoyeku ” Toju Foyeh “

When we talk about fashion, we seldom think of professional and corporate jobs. Now imagine a lawyer who becomes a fashionista. Does it sound weird or unique? It is definitely not something you see or hear everyday but in a capsule, that is the story of cultural phenom, Toju Foyeh.

Toluwaloju Olowofoyeku was born on July 18, 1989. She is a young, beautiful, petite and talented fashion designer. She developed passion for fashion at a very young age. Her mother sells unique fabric and her grandmother was a designer.

The Toju Foyeh Brand is one of the strongest clothing lines for women of style and class. It has become the one stop shop for ladies looking for sophisticated and glamorous cocktail and evening dresses.
She followed her dreams and now Toju Foyeh is a cultural phenomenon both at home and abroad. Her pieces have become legendary and now she is celebrated home and abroad.

Kathy Anthony

The Nigerian based renowned fashion designer, Kathy Anthony is a wiz with the Ankara fabric and imparts her knowledge through her fashion academy.
​​​​​​​Oluwatoyin Iwukemjika of Kathy Anthony is one fashion expert that knows how to make magic with fabrics. From the long standing aso-oke, ankara and lace to modern trends of fabrics and bridals, Kathy Anthony wows her clients with her delectable designs.

Specialized in female attires, she is the choice of many Nigerian fashionistas when it comes to making dresses for any occasion; evenings, owanbes, conferences etc., Her creativity has transcended the borders of the nation to gain international recognition. Recently, she did not only make the evening dress for the American Miss Minnesota pageant contestant, Kathryn Kueppers, the red floor-length chef d’oeuvre won the best evening wear/social impact statement at the preliminary competition. Kathryn eventually won Miss Minnesota at the main pageant.

Oluwatoyin Iwukemjika is a trained economist and had worked as a staff of Sterling Bank where she discovered her love for fashion design. She worked at some fashion houses before setting up Kathy Anthony in 2010, encouraged and supported by her husband.
Kathy Anthony has become a hub for bespoke customers’ choice attires. The brand also runs a sessional fashion academy -the House of Style Fashion Academy. Kathy Anthony is a loud and clear statement in the Nigerian fashion industry and every Nigerian woman needs a piece of this in their wardrobes.

Yomi Makun

When it comes to Fashion among Nigerian Men in Nigeria, Yomi Casual is one of the resounding names that take the lead in the Industry. He is one highly talented man that has carved a niche for himself through his exceptional designs. This is evident in the high demand for his works by Men in Nigeria and Africa at large. Below is a concise biography of the exceptional Nigerian Men Fashion Designer.

In the whole of Nigeria and Africa, the founder and CEO of the biggest African inspired Ready to Wear Clothing Label, Yomi Casual stands as the most favorite fashion designer to a majority of entertainers and Celebrities far and wide. He has a passion and determination to always provide smashing styles and designs that speaks volume to the world.

The voice behind the fashion designs of Yomi Casual is targeted towards portraying the African culture and tradition. Talking about the Yomi Casual brand, it spreads across every city in Nigeria and Africa at large as a true representation of originality and perfection. The brand “Yomi Casual” even goes farther to penetrate the hearts and wardrobes of most big men and women, most especially politicians and celebrities in Nigeria.

Notable among the vast clientele base of the Yomi Casual brand are some prominent personalities including:: JJ Okocha, Desmond Elliot, Alex Ekubo, Sammie Okposo, Timaya, Alibaba, AY, Majid Mitchell, Bovi, Chioma Chukwuka, Chidi Mokeme, Ramsey Nouah Jnr, Seyi Law, and many others.

Yemi Osunkoya

Yemi Osunkoya is the award winning designer behind the Kosibah label,Yemi established the Kosibah brand in London in 1991 and named the company in honour of his mother.  The name Cosiba comes from the Republic of Benin and is the day name of a female child born on a Sunday.

Among the awards that Kosibah and Yemi have won are:

  • International Designer of the Year, City People, Feb 2012
  • 100+ Black Achievers, July 2010
  • Fashion Diversity, Nov 2009
  • Excellence Award, Gathering of Africa’s Best
  • Diamond Recognition from National Weddings UK, Sep 2005
  • Bridal Designer of the Year, 2002 and 2004, Mahogany Bridal Awards
  • Highly Commended, National Wedding Show, March 2002

Celebrated clients include Louise Rose, leading actress of Universal film Life & Lyrics,Alesha Harvey, Sheila Ferguson formerly of the Three Degrees, Hollywood actress Indra Ové, Miss World Agbani Darego, and singer Stephanie Benson.  Kosibah’s clientele is truly worldwide, although particularly well represented in the UK, Nigeria and USA.

Kosibah specialises in contemporary and elegant couture bridal, evening and formal day wear using luxurious fabrics and sumptuous embellishments.  Yemi’s signature use of corsetry and boned bodices cleverly recreates the classical and elegant hourglass figure, producing gowns that curve, shape and flatter the wearer. All gowns are made to measure and made to order.

Kola kuddus

Kola Kudus makes bold statement with men’s fashion, either African, western and the best of all, a mix of both! A fast-rising designer who has carved a niche for himself with his bespoke designs, Kola creates clothes for the modern man and his collection of clothes comes in brilliant colors, high quality and is timeless.

A product of London College of Fashion, Kola Kudus’ menswear label showcased its 2012 collection at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), a premiere fashion event that brings the media, fashion insiders, buyers and consumers to view the latest collections of selected designers.

Kola Kudus started as a personal shopper in 2004, the philosophy graduate grew into designing and outsourcing not as a pre-planned idea but it came to him when he had to make a career decision, seeing he was already in the line of business and because of his love for it, so in April/May of 2008, he setup up the fashion brand Kola Kuddus.

After Opening the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), Kola Kudus has been featured on the Fashion and Style Section of The New York Times. He had sent his look-book and he received a feedback letter saying his work was not good enough. Then about a week to the event, he got another letter saying that his brand, Kola Kuddus has been chosen to participate in the show and it was this show that brought him the feature on The New York Times. This further strengthens the impression which he sought to give with his exclusive menswear.

As it is, He has come through the ranks of emerging designers to be in a place where he has forged and consolidated his place in the Nigerian fashion industry. “I will not say I am the best designer in the country. For me, being the best has never been the target in what I do. I have always said I wanted to be a greater designer and a successful designer. You do not have to be the best designer to be successful but I know I can be one of the best in the world, which is something that is achievable.”

The Kola Kudus brand, he said, is distinctly modern but marked by rich color, flawlessly constructed designs and quality fabrics. He remains loyal to African trends and styles yet epitomize global glamour by offering men his innate fashion sense. The ready-to-wear collections pay careful attention to detail and his classic and casual styles are developed with modern aesthetic.

Toyin Lawani

Toyin Lawani was born March 1st, 1982 and is a business mogul, fashion designer, creative director, and a fashion stylist. She is the CEO of Tiannah’s Empire. Toyin Lawani was born into an affluent family, one who shaped her drive to succeed. She started her business at the age of 16, whilst an English Language undergraduate at the University of Lagos, with a boutique that traded clothes, shoes and other accessories. This boutique later expanded to become a supermarket. At 17, she opened up a spa on Akoka road, Yaba, a Lagos suburb with surprising clientele.

Toyin Lawani trained at Opral Benson Training Institute, Los Angeles School of Fashion for a Diploma Course, Exodus Hair School in India and Johnyim Fashion and Beauty Institute in Korea. From all this exposure, she dabbled in fashion and other ventures. Now she runs 20 businesses in one building. Tiannah’s Styling is one of the leading fashion houses in Africa. With a large clientele ranging from media houses, politicians and top celebrities, you can spot a Toyin Lawani design from miles away.

Toyin Lawani has worked on several fashion shows within and outside the country showcasing different designs or coordinating the shows. She coordinated the Mademoiselle Aglaia Fashion show in 2012, Showcased even while she was four months pregnant at the 2013 Africa Fashion Week London, Showcased the Iro and Buba Evolution at the 2015 Africa Fashion Week Nigeria and showcased her kiddies line (Elegante Kids) at the same event. In 2016, Toyin Lawani made headline all over the world as the first Nigerian Designer to organize a celebrity and kids runway show simultaneously and more.

Ituen Basi

Ituen Basi is a remarkable fashion designer. She began her career as an undergraduate of Theatre Arts at the University of Ife, where she designed and tailored costumes for stage plays and beauty pageants. Her love for fashion took her to further her studies in the field at American College in London and London College of Fashion, where she majored in Tailoring and Clothing Technology. Ituen Basi launched her brand in Lagos in 2009 and she was largely recognised for her exemplary skills in fabric treatment and print manipulation.

Her Ankara designs shook the industry in 2012, introducing not just wearable art but Ankara beads and bags. Her hard work is evident as her Ankara collection got her The Most Innovative Designer award in 2009 whilst her ‘Independence’ collection earned her Emerging Designer of the Year, Africa 2010 at the Africa Fashion Week, Johannesburg. In 2011, at the first Arise Magazine Fashion Week, her Love Series collection landed her the Most Creative Designer. Her ‘Double Take’ collection at the 2012 Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Africa in Johannesburg, earned her Designer of the Year, Africa

Clement Mudiaga Enajemo
Korto momolu
Kofi Ansah
Ozwald Boateng
Aisha Obuobi
Mimi Plange
Darryl Jagga
Charlene Dunbar
Ugo Monye
David Wej
Og Okonkwo
Mudiaga enajemo
Agatha Moreno
Mercy Aigbe ” Ceo luminee”

Content courtesy of Nigeria fashion & Nairobi fashion hub

A wedding suits guide for the stylish Kenyan groom

Most Kenyan men have never taken the groom’s dress code too seriously. I forget where I heard this, but there’s actually a saying in Kenya that goes something along the lines of, “the wedding is for the bride, you as the groom are merely a spectator.” I’ve often felt that rather than being true, this was more of an excuse for men hoping to get away with lack of effort on their end in terms of certain aspects of the wedding such as fashion. Women make such tremendous efforts with their style on their wedding days. A lady who’s never spent more than 5,000 Kenya shillings on her dresses before will save up kshs. 50,000 for her wedding gown. Then there’s the make-up artist, etc.. For most men out there, what he will wear is a complete afterthought. This post is not for those men. This post is for the man who likes to dress sharp and knows that his wedding day is no exception.

Since us men like simplicity, I’ll break it up this style guide into three simple jacket looks that anyone can remember and incorporate, as well as a single source of each style within the country. I will not go into the details of color matching and adding accessories. That’s an article for another day. Without further ado; a style guide for the fashion conscious Kenyan groom looking to make a big impression.

  1. The Suit

The suit, as seen in the look below by Nairobi grooms. This is the option most Kenyan men still like to wear mostly due to the fact that it’s safe, if not somewhat lazy. A prospective groom won’t have to think too much about what he’ll wear on the day. Simply slap on a suit he may or may not already own and we’re good to go. Below are a few advantages and disadvantages to the suit.


  • Tend to be readily available. Suits can be purchased anywhere, either ready-made or custom. Suit shops and suit makers are a dime a dozen on all corners of Kenya.


  • As I said, the prospective groom probably already owns one. And what better way to ease stress than to slap on a suit you already own and move on to other wedding arrangements. After all, most weddings are trying to cut costs not elevate them right?


  • Can be worn later for business. Outside of the last option on this list, a suit is the ultimate saver in terms of utility. After being worn at the wedding, it can be worn at work on that very first Monday you return from your honeymoon.



  • Tends to look very boring. Let’s face it, suits never really make that much of an impression, probably because they are so common and all over the place. And this post is for men looking to make a huge impression. An exception to this disadvantage is if you’re the type that never wears suits. It will then be a huge surprise for everyone to see you in a suit. The wedding pictures, however, will still look like everyone else’s. Just another man in a suit.


  1. The Ivory jacket.

The ivory wedding jacket, as seen in the look below by Sao Sartorial. An option almost as common as a suit albeit a little more stylish. You’ve seen them, the white or ivory colored jackets that ordinarily come with black lapels. Below are a couple of advantages and disadvantages of the ivory jacket for the groom in Kenya;



  • Can look quite stylish, at least with respect to the suit, depending on the fabric and craftsmanship used to make them.


  • Tends to match the bride’s wedding dress in terms of color (either white or ivory).


  • Can be custom made to your style and specifications.



  • Just like a wedding gown, it’s unlikely to ever be worn again. There are just not a lot of occasions in which you can wear an ivory wedding jacket after the wedding day. Gala nights usually insist on black. If you attempt to wear it to a wedding as a guest, you run the risk of looking exactly like the groom. Date night? Not really. Sometimes, even a suit would look better than an ivory jacket on a date with your new wife.


  • As a prospective groom, you’re unlikely to already own one. This means you’ll either have to buy or custom make one, which just adds to both the hassle and expense of what may already be a stressful planning process.


  1. The statement jacket.

My personal favorite, the statement jacket as seen in the look below by King Sidney. I won’t lie, I have always been the type of man who liked to subtly stand out and look different, so I bought a statement jacket for my wedding a year ago. Now, I realize most men may not like to stand out, but if you’re part of the few that do, here are a few advantages and disadvantages I experienced first-hand from wearing my statement jacket.

Style guide for the fashion conscious Kenyan groom


  • Statement jackets are extremely versatile. If you think about it, a statement jacket is simply a very nice, unique jacket, and those can be worn anywhere. They can be worn as a groom at your wedding, then as a wedding guest at your friend’s wedding in a few weeks’ time. They will have you looking great on date night. They can be used to impress your clients on days you are not required to wear a suit. They can be worn for literally every special occasion after your wedding day.


  • Perhaps the one I should’ve started with but I didn’t, since men are more logical than they are emotional (or so we like to believe) they will have a huge impact on your new wife. Huge. You actually see her eyes light up. And that jacket was probably the only thing my mother in law has ever given me a compliment on. Statement jackets are real compliment pullers.



  • You may encounter opposition from fans of tradition. Most families will prefer you to take the safe option and look like the grooms in most other weddings. Some brides as well will prefer the prospective groom plays it safe. So these are not for everyone.


  • You cannot really custom make one because you may not possess the design and fabric experience to guide your tailor to come up with something stylish and not tacky (check out my upcoming article, the problem with custom- made) You’d have to buy one ready, which leads me to the next disadvantage.


  • They tend to be quite expensive. A disadvantage often offset by their versatile nature, but still…


A great look on your wedding day as a groom can be a great way to start a marriage. Remember, once nakedness is covered in terms of basic fashion, the next level of style becomes about making a statement and portraying your personality with what you wear. And nothing makes a bigger statement to your new wife than making the effort to look good for her on her big day. Because lest you forget, inasmuch as everyone’s attention will be on the bride, her focus will always be on you.

Photo Credit : Nairobi Grooms, Sao Sartorial & King Sidney 


Peperuka is a lifestyle brand that weaves African stories and connects African cultures through unique products with powerful iconography and language.

Our products apparel, accessories, home décor and gift items – are urban, contemporary and inspired by everyday life as a way to start conversations and share ideas.

Our vision is to be a global lifestyle brand that crafts quality, eco-friendly, afro-inspired treasured pieces which amuse, inspire and bring happiness to our customers, community and employees We use, as much as possible, eco-friendly natural materials and promote sustainability to create a cleaner better world.

We strive to work in partnership with suppliers who empower their communities, have ethical working conditions and practice fair trade.

We create around four general muses: Afri-Love, Colloquial Speak, Optimism and African Heroes. All Peperuka products are crafted with passion, love, humour and a slight obsession to detail.

We believe in being free, hope, love and peace. We have a line in honor of Kenyan environmentalist Wangari Maathai the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize and for each item sold in the line, we plant a tree. We are believe business can be a force for good.

For every purchase, a percentage goes to Peperuka Foundation – which hosts a 12 month training and mentoring programme called Changamka for young girls with businesses in the fashion industry.

We are based at a warehouse in Nairobi and have select merchandise stocked at Republike outlets across Nairobi and at Mimi Mwafrika in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Our merchandise has been worn by international artists including Lupita Nyong’o, Ne-yo, Trey Songz, Jidenna, Diamond Platinumz, Koffi Olumide, Aloe Blacc, Yemi Alade, Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Damian Marley and local celebrities / personalities have embraced the brand: Patricia Kihoro, Kaz, Mayonde, Blinky Bill, Juliani, Lorna Irungu, Ory Okolloh, Wanuri Kahiu, David Muriithi, Mutua Matheka, Jimmi Gathu, Fena, Edith Kimani, Kobi Kihara, Larry Madowo, Diana Opoti, G-Money, Zain Verjee, Boniface Mwangi, Suzanna Owiyo, The Mitaru Sisters, just to name a few. But do we say. #Blessed.

Content courtesy of Peperuka & Nairobi Fashion Hub

Fashion Couture Affair 5th Edition in Dar es Salaam

Nairobi fashion hub brings you the latest trends from the front rows of the just concluded fashion couture affair 5th edition.

A lot has been said about this runway event which started right here in Kenya. Over the years we have seen it grow from a simple catwalk event to a high end international fashion runway event.

Fashion Couture Affair Changing The Fashion Industry In Africa

Let us take you through how their 5th edition went down in Dar es Salaam Tanzania. This is the first Kenyan runway event to be hosted outside the county.

The stage was set for the show and the location was perfect and atmosphere was just right for the occasion.

Something to note about this show was they had a lot of industrial players attending the event. Which is good if you are into fashion business.

Sorry I forgot to mention the theme for this edition was valentines that explains the timing of the event and the set you see below.

The event was able to bring together fashion designer from across the globe. What am sure everyone will agree with me is that from all the edition fashion couture affair has had, this one has produced one of the most creative and mind blowing designs.

From the red carper to the main runway, the setup was done very exquisite kudos to the team.

Event host was Diana Edward Loi Miss Tanzania with an amazing voice, very composed and technical knowhow of the job.

Designers who showcased their design collection at this year’s event ” Fashion Couture Affair 5th Edition” were

  • Kidato designs
  • Levra with culture
  • Angel Hudson
  • Baghai classic fashion
  • Mahamus Designs
  • Africa By Linet
  • Rama D

What we can learn from this event is that, they are trying to connect different countries through the work of fashion and art. Fashion Couture has had a significant growth and their track record speaks for themselves as they have always managed to deliver a quality experience for the audience, designers and all other participants.

This places the event among the top events in the East and central African block. Spreading out their wings to Tanzania seems like a bold move and one that was met positively considering the event has hosted quite a number of foreign designers in previous editions.

We hope to more of these kind of high end runway events that will create a good impart to the region and our day to day living.

Content Courtesy of Fashion Couture Affair & Nairobi Fashion Hub 

Odaomo “Luxury Design For Global Citizen “

“Luxury Design for Global Citizens”

Odaomo was conceived by Kenyan native, designer and CEO Dr. Sophia Aomo Omoro, the sixth of eight children born to a seamstress mother and postal worker father. The brand derives from a childhood interest in sketching designs to express her individuality among similarly clad sisters and an innate desire to support her community.

At 16, Sophia Omoro left Kenya and traveled to Canada to continue her education that inevitably led to Tulane University for her MD and PhD. In 2014, then medical colleague and now odAOMO business partner, Amy Trainor, supported Dr. Omoro’s creative-outlet-turned-design-brand and together debuted the line in a local fashion show followed by a successful trunk show in New Orleans, LA. The overwhelmingly positive response led to the label’s flagship store in August of that year on Chartres Street in the historic French Quarter.

A truly unique brand, odAOMO produces garments and accessories from eco-friendly materials in Kenya. The leather, hide, shell, snake and fish skin goods are constructed of food byproducts and found materials so no lives are harmed for fashion. The fine silks, cashmere blends and cottons used are sourced from an independent Kenyan textile distribution, run by two young Kenyan women. The African textiles are collected throughout the Continent. Each piece is handcrafted and produced in limited batches creating an exclusive and organically nuanced line.

Where some philanthropic entities choose to focus on charity, odAOMO and Dr. Omoro empower through opportunity. odAOMO employs a small team in Kenya with fair wages– Douglas, the label’s leather craftsman, and Valentine, the primary jeweler—that have a profound economic impact on their respective villages.

“I would like to bring to light this wealth in material and human resources, and show the world that wonderful things can come out of this continent and country. Wonderful, beautiful things, made with love, and by human hands.” –Dr. Sophia Aomo Omoro
Born and raised in the Greater New Orleans Region, Amy Trainor was introduced to high fashion by her interest in friend and medical colleague Sophie’s wardrobe and styling. When she discovered Dr. Omoro’s clothing were her own original designs and the breadth of her collection, she saw the potential and dedicated herself to planning the launch event that led to the creation of odAOMO. Amy has continued commitment and presently acts as Operations Manager for the brand. In her spare time, she works out, travels, spends quality time with her husband and three sons, and enjoys her home on the water.

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