The competition of Nigerian designers is fierce. Though we’re still longing to see more of its vibrancy in the streets of London, Milan and New York. On the days we do, or when photographed by the Sartorialist, we might consider that the stage was set around 2005 when Lisa Folawiyo launched her eponymous label. In the decade that followed, she won the African Fashion Awards and nominated alongside Maki Oh and Kofi Ansah, two more prolific
designers from the Nigerian fashion scene.
She is a Nigerian fashion designer who is best known for incorporating traditional West African textiles with modern tailoring techniques with an emphasis on beading and sequin trim. Lisa has featured often in Vogue Italia, partnered with L’Oréal and produced a trunk show with Moda Operandi while her line is stocked in Selfridges and luxury e-tailer, Farfetch.
Not dissimilar to the early path of Nigerian jewelry designer, Adéle Dejak, Lisa also first trained as a Lawyer before pursuing a creative affair in fashion and with little more than $52 she created the Jewel by Lisa brand.
Today, Lisa’s collections are exclusively crafted from Ankara textiles; vibrant wax-resistant dyed fabrics characteristic of West Africa. “Our mothers, grandmothers and probably great-grandmothers have worn this fabric,” Folawiyo told the BBC.
Her garments are embellished with beads, sequins and crystals all sewn by hand in local workshops in Nigeria. She attributes her success to finding and sticking to this unusual aesthetic. We love that there is billow, shoulder and movement in Lisa’s collections – feminine, while patterns and beading symbolize strength and success. And if a woman could rise to success in the dress she’s wearing today, Lisa has done just that.
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