From regulars on the New York Fashion Week runway, such as Nigeria’s Maki Oh, to catwalk virgins like Deepa Dosoja of Kenyan origin, the richness of African fashion and its designers was affirmed on the world’s biggest fashion stage. Old or new, one thing was clear: African fashion is – in no way, shape or style – lagging behind.
After a fairly lengthy haitus, Lagos-based designer, Amaka Osakwe returned to New York Fashion Week with a bang. The Maki Oh Fall 2017 collection is a fashionable fusion of Nigerian and Western aesthetics.
In her usual fashion, the designer tells stories with her clothes. With this season’s favourites, Amaka Osakwe recounts the adventures of a middle-class girl (loosely based on a seamstress who works in her studio) making her way through the bustling city of Lagos on a bus – known as a danfo – to meet her lover. Hence, the generic yellow and black colours (of the danfo) and catchy slogans, such as “No Condition is Permanent,” are prominent in this collection.
Runway newbie, Deepa Dosaja, one of Kenya’s leading designers in Africa, was selected to present her collection at New York Fashion Week, this year. The inspiration behind the couture collection was to show off the uniqueness, beauty and diversity that designer, Deepa sees in flowers of different kinds.
Tagged “My Flowers”, the collection is a celebration of nature in all its untouched beauty. As such, the eponymous designer uses only the finest natural fabrics, such as silk, linen, wool and cottons to showcase her luxurious designs.
Twin designers, Sylvia Anekwe and Olivia Jude-Okoji brought a taste of Eastern Nigerian culture to the New York Fashion Week runway, inspired by traditional Igbo masks, finely sculpted pieces of art which represent beauty, peacefulness, as well as strength.
The designers seek to accommodate the unconventional and diverse styles of the different cultural backgrounds in Nigeria – which they achieved excellently with the Igbo Mask collection. Gozel Green continues to tell stories of art, history, individuality, power and glamour – on and off the runway.