Naijastyle: A Tribute To Nigerian Fashion (Part 1)

...Like the saying goes, fashion passes but style remains. Nigerian ladies (and gents) have always been fashionable but today, fashion in Nigeria is increasingly becoming a forefront for our culture and the country and this in turn spells out style.
With Nigerian designer's becoming more internationally renowned, fashion weeks like the Nokia Capetown Fashion Week, MTN Durban Fashion Week, New York Fashion Shows and catWALK the World (aka the Fashion for Food Campaign) and with websites and blogs like:

and magazines such as City People Fashion & Style, ThisDay Style, True Love West Africa, Genevieve, Encomium Lifestyle (E Lifestlye)........

............naming just a few, it is very clear that being fashionable is a priority for over 50% of the Nigerian population. Every female is not only trying to be fashionable but also to be a fashionista - even teenagers. You can't blame them because nowadays you just get your picture taken randomly when you step out and next thing you're in ThisDay Style as the worst dressed or best dressed, so fashion is highly taken into account and increasingly too. Therefore, if you are not based in Nigeria and decide to go visiting or on holiday, don't think you'll be looking all snazzy in a tank top, belly belt and jeans if you don't jazz your outfit up.

Even the magazines say so. Just laying it on the table - so if you're off to Nigeria on holiday, thinking you're gonna be the best-dressed in your little ensemble, better think again because the ladies (and gents) are out to kill heheheh :p

Inspired by Nigerian mags so far, Naija Gal, and Bella Naija, I bring to you, part 1 of the 10 Most Powerful People in Nigeria's All-Round Fashion Industry (you may not agree with me but hey its my blog, let me know your thoughts though)

And by All-Round, I mean in general and not just ladies clothes and/or runway stuff or those based in the States or in England who do not design in and for the Nigerian industry. Also, the most powerful may not necessarily be the best designers.

1. Abah Folawiyo of Labanella

She is the wife of the well respected mogul, Wahab Folawiyo and set up Labanella in 1981. She founded FADAN - Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria.

    Her pull factor is most probably elaborate designs that only aristocrats are comfortable in - straight to the point.

    More on her here

    Address: Labanella, 38 Adeniran Ogunsanya Street, Surulere, Lagos.

    2. Lanre Ogunlesi of Sofisticat

    Sofisticat was started in the late 70s by the four Ogunlesi brothers when the Obasanjo regime (Federal Military Government) imposed a ban on the importation of ready-made garments.

    Their tailoring service and fashion items were therefore an alternative for Nigerian men, a selected clientele who were used to only importing their clothes. However, this has broadened and now, any gentleman can take his material to Sofisticat and request for it to be tailored into any styleof his choice. By now, it is obvious that sofisticat is a fashion house for men :o) His pull factor is apparently "elevating the dress code of the modern Nigerian man."

    More on Sofisticat at

    Address: Sofisticat, 4, Mobolaji Bank Anthony Way, Ikeja, Lagos.

    3. Deola Sagoe of O'dua Creations

    is certainly one of Nigeria's most popular and most respected designers, it also seems she is currently the most popular/recognised Nigerian designer in the global fashion industry. the She was the winner of the first Africa designer by M-net and Angol gold for the future fashion.

    She is married to the MD of Toyota Nigeria Ltd., Kofi Sagoe, she has been on the big stage from theonset since she took over her late mother's business -
    O'dua Originals. Her pieces are very distinct and her pull factor is her carving a niche for herself as an international figure and launching a pret-a-porter line that is greatly admired.

    More on her here

    Address: O'dua Creations, 322A Ikorodu Road, Anthony, Lagos.

    4. David Kolawole-Vaughan of Dakova

    Dakova for short, has been a fashion designer in Nigeria for about 20 years - being a top designer during a certain period, on the verge ofgoing bankrupt, branching into magazines and a fashion directory - Eminent people, contesting as a Local Government chairman at some point. Some distractions and a few ups and downs it may seem, but style and fashion have always had him rooted.

    He is back for good, debuting at the This Day fiesta held in March and has won many awards since he started Dakova in 1986. His pull factor is his gift and passion for fashion.

    More on his designs and pictures here

    Address: Dakova Fashions, 82 Brickfield Street, Ebute-Metta, Lagos .

    5. Godwin Mekwuye of Vivid Imaginations

    It was he who gave President Olusegun Obasanjo a new look in 1999 by changing his wardrobe and appearance.

    His designs are tailored to older men and he has a large customer-base in the government with senators, ministers and members of the National Assembly.

    He is also a very meticulous designer whose pull factor is said to be the "darling of dandies and aspiring style leaders."

    Address: Vivid Imaginations, 250 Ikorodu Road, Obanikoro, Lagos.

    I'll be back with my part 2!


    Bella Naija said...

    wow Mona...luv the fashion post....u really gave us the nostalgic touch with labanella, sofisticat, vivid imaginations mum used to be part of the fashion designer crew back in the day so it brings back a lot of memories...those people were pioneers for deola sagoe, folake folarin coker and co....i'm sooo proud of nigerian fashion and the direction in which it is headed...anyway, keep it up girlie

    TMinx said...

    Love the way you do your research girl! Good post. How have u been? U wont believe how hard it is to leave a comment on this page..blogger is messing up

    Anonymous said...

    hey girl, i don't tink any1 can disagree wit u cos u sure knows wat u talkin abt. nice work, keep it tight

    Anonymous said...

    My first time to visit your blog and very impressed.See,fashion does not mean what the westerners tv flashes on our faces now and then.Africans could have their own fashions too,just like the ladies and gents in charge here.Keep it up,great blog

    LondonBuki said...

    I rmbr Vivid Imagination and Sofisticat :-)

    Nice post.

    low said...

    Mona..lolll A FREE P&R skirt is in the mail for u..loll (u know what im talking about)..Thanks for the love on ur page and E's page!!!!

    Onada - Fashion and Photography said...

    nice post featuring all these people. i was actually trying to put faces to some designs.Nigerian women have definately always been at the forefront of fashion, i admire them for that!

    Anonymous said...

    Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm, that Abah Folawiyo woman is so sexyy, I love everything she represents!!!

    P.S; How weird is that.....I came across her makeup person yesterday!!......

    Lovely tribute again, Mona!...and Thanks!!

    laspapi said...

    well done, mona. You're a great researcher

    Anonymous said...

    Mona the fashionista

    Anonymous said...

    kip it up!

    Anonymous said...


    What a fantastic post. Sofisticat - once got stuff from there. Memories.

    Nice one

    Ms. May said...

    Mona, great info. When I saw Godwin Mekwuye, all I could think of is this line in a Shina Peters song......"Vivid Imagination is the best choice as your designer. Vivid o, is the best, Vivid o, second to none." Razz I know...LOL.

    Unknown said...

    Yeah!! I remember vividly the 80's when princess abah, dakova, vivid & sophisticat were the rave designers of the time. More than 20yrs on, they are still coming on strong. kudo's to them.
    The fashion Industry in naija has truly come a long way. I have seen princess abah's latest work in an article written by one of the magazine's u mentioned. Her ankara designs are really a radical transformation of what it used to be previously. Was very impressed and proud to be nigerian.

    Anonymous said...

    Bella Naija was actually letting you know in a roundaboy way that you are behind .. A list without T Amber aint no list... Why don't you kukuma put Niki Africana and Catwalk there... We don't all have to blog fashion you know..

    Aramide said...

    Hahah hater, if u read my title u would see i was talking about the most powerful designers who have pioneered the industry so surely they have to come from back in the day, get with the program Anonymous. No hating on Naija to the core thanks!

    Ms. Estella said...

    Wow! Labanella, Dakova, Vivid Imagination......they should be called FASHION VETERANS in Naija O! because they were there while I was still struggling with GS101 as a freshman in college!

    I hope to see them face-to-face someday! I baale for them abeg!

    Anonymous said...

    Hey, just came across this post. Its great!. It def brings back memories, esp as I did some catwalk modelling for the likes of Labanella, Dakova & a few other designers back in the late 80's. Princess Abah always treated us (models) like one of the kids, she was amazing, Dakova was the same, was very focussed & such a lovely gentleman. I havent seen any of them since the 80's, but I try to keep up with their activities on-line. God Bless Nigeria. Those good 'ole days.


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    Oluchi said...

    Inspiring post! Bumped into your blog looking for info on the nigerian association of designers! Am lookn to start my line and I need all the importnt info I can get! If you can help that would be really fab! Again good write up!

    Kitua Kollections said...

    Nigeria has over the years produced fantastic designs/desingers and I think it's time for fashion in Nigeria to take it's place in the fashion world scene.

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    Demmy said...

    Cool blog. It's nice to see Nigerians taking fashion seriously lol Check my blog out and please follow. It is called

    Anonymous said...

    Good intentions but will advise you get the facts right before posting.chief (mrs)Shade Thomas Fahm being the first recorded graduate of Fashion from St Martin's College of Art London in 1958 was the founder of FADAN incorporated in 1988.
    Wumi O(National Secretary of FADAN)

    KingArthurSez said...

    Not bad a piece at all, top dollars for this! But a little should be pointed out about the managerial aspect of some of these designers' businesses; like how someone would walk into the store and can not get service because the person in charge of costing isn't on seat?? HELLO!! Sofisticat, SIT UP!

    Anonymous said...

    Hey Aramide,what's happening?We were salivating for your latest on the Tributes.

    Nigeria Business Directory said...

    Aramide, I love the way you have research into the Nigeria Fashion Industry. You have brought out the beauty in it.
    Fashion industry is really growing fast. NBLinks salutes you.

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