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.
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.
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.