#YNaija2016Review: Maki Oh, Sisiano, Hudayya… See the top 10 Nigerian fashion brands of 2016

by Roqeebah Olaoniye

If there is one sector of Nigeria’s economic landscape that has been consistently getting it right for years now, it is the fashion industry.

It is, however, important to mention the food industry as a close contender except that industry is yet to comprehend the idea that “it doesn’t have to be over-priced to be good” but that is something for another day.

It’s the fashion, an industry that has literally by itself: built, self-corrected, and managed to garner international attention to itself. With help of course from the incredibly talented industry players from designers to retailers; influencers to models and most definitely, the creative and enterprising force that is Omoyemi Akerele – we had to.

Tough as 2016 has been, this industry still delivered. But this year, the brands below have done incredibly well enough to stand out even more than the others:

Lisa Folawiyo Studio

Owned by the  Jewel by Lisa Group, the Lisa Folawiyo brand has somehow become the moniker for fashion-forwardness in Nigeria. In a country where it’s either upper class or not, Lisa Folawiyo, the brand’s creative director has found a way to appeal to the widest range of audience, creating a fan-base mixed with both customers and admirers. If we were talking beauty, Lisa Folawiyo would be our Banke Meshida-Lawal. Do you follow?

Yet, Lisa’s appeal is not only in her playful, experimental-but-assured, and definitely stylish social media presence. It is how her designs actually redefine the redefinition of Ankara dresses. Lisa Folawiyo’s Spring 17 collection showed at this year’s New York Fashion week. Almost around the same time, Moda Operandi became a their stockist (like stocking at Selfridges wasn’t already uber cool).

The chic pieces from the collection have travelled round the world -From New York to London and then on style star, Ogo Offodile at the Milan Fashion Week before Genevieve Nnaji brought it home at the Art X Lagos opening.

Lisa Folawiyo wraps up everything in fashion from creative designs to unpretentious interaction, and innovative yet wearable designs. Of course, it helps that all our favourite girls are #LFgirls – Genevieve, Bidemi Zakariyau, Jennifer Obayuwana, Tiwa Savage, Rita Dominic, Stephanie Linus, Omoyemi Akerele, Michelle Dede, Mayowa Nicholas to mention a few.

Ejiro Amos Tafiri

Ejiro Amos Tafiri, creative director of the eponymous brand did not stumble into fashion like many of her peers. She studied the art then paid her dues as a member of the Tiffany Amber team before starting out her own label. She knows what she is doing and has repeatedly proven that – this year no less.

Ejiro Amos Tafiri is the label to reach for if what you seek is perfect drapery that will take you everywhere from the wedding aisle to a red carpet and then every dinner party.

Having distinguished itself as the brand that can transform traditional designs and reinvent them into modern wardrobe staples with their Celine wrap-dress, it came as no surprise that this year, they were the ones that reinvented the Danshiki – not only modernising it but also tapping into the androgynous leanings that style stars now have. Even their 2015 favourite, Celine, got another face-lift this year through the SISI-OLEKU mini dress.

While all that invention and re-invention was happening, Ejiro Amos-Tafiri was working hard at a School of design/atelier in Ikeja. A much bigger space than her Ribadu, Ikoyi showroom which she opened last year.

This one is an ambitious brand that continues to show promise while climbing to the top, one bold move after the other.

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