Fashion

10 Designers to Know From Nigeria’s Arise Fashion Week

Following Arise Fashion Week 2020, these are the top African designers shaping global fashion.
Reading time 5 minutes
@bloke_ng

In partnership with Lagos' Arise Fashion Week, Naomi Campbell and a selection commitee—including influential figures like L'OFFICIEL star Alton Mason—turned Africa's premier fashion event into an ititiative for 30 up-and-coming designers to compete for a $500,000 grant and mentorship to build their brand.

Campbell, who has long used her position as one of fashion's most coveted supermodels to uplift Black talent and fight against discrimination in the industry, created the New Stars contest as an opportunity to highlight young talent and bring African fashion into the international sphere among European, American, and Asian designers. With support from fashion titans like Anna Wintour, the designers presented their collections in a two-day livestream event over the weekend, with Kenneth Ize prevailing as the winner and Ré Lagos and Mmuso Maxwell following suit as the first and second runner-ups. Here, L'OFFICIEL gathers 10 of the top Arise designers to keep on your sartorial radar.

Kenneth Ize

An LVMH Prize finalist, Austrian-Nigerian designer Kenneth Ize has broken into the international fashion scene just years after launching his eponymous label, showing at Paris Fashion Week and appearing in print on the likes of Timothée Chalamet and Viola Davis. Ize is known for his colorful designs and use of handwoven Nigerian asoke textiles, which display his signature check print. He also became the first Black designer to create a capsule collection with Karl Lagerfeld's eponymous label, fusing his own Nigerian heritage with the fashion house's Parisian identity.

KikoRomeo

Founded in 1996 by Ann McCreath, KikoRomeo is now a family effort as McCreath's daughter, Iona, recently joined the team. The duo's lively designs pay homage Kenya's art and music scene, and the use of locally-sourced, hand-dyed materials play into the label's push for sustainability.

Bloke

For Bloke, designer Fatih Oluwajimi blends luxury and spirituality in his androgynous designs, be it in fluid knitwear or unique prints.

Mazelle Studio

Nigerian designer Mariam Afolabi's label Mazelle Studio redefines femininity with unique silhouettes and intricate stitching and beading. Recently, Afolbi partnered with conceptual London-based retail destination Not Just Another Store to produce a collection of romantic knits.

Mmusomaxwell

With Mmusomaxwell, South African duo Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane's celebrate their heritage through contemporary, meticulously-tailored designs.

Tzar Studios

What began as a line of shirts, Ian Audifferen's Tzar Studios has expanded into men and women's ready-to-wear. Fabrics are the forefront of Audifferen's designs, highlighted with breezy, minimalistic silhouettes.

Muyishime

After working under Ann McCreath of Kikoromeo in 2018, Muyishime's Eddy Patrick launched his own label, producing voluminous, colorful designs that epitomize playful glamour.

Pepper Row

Omafume Niemogha of Pepper Row centers sustainability and African heritage at the core of her craft, working with artisanal craftsmen for each of the label's imaginative collections.

Elfreda Dali

After working with Hussein Chalayan and Wales Bonner, multidisciplinary artist Elfreda Dali launched her eponymous label in 2019. Pulling from her visual art, Dali plays with structure in her experimental designs.

Fruché

Launched in 2014 by Frank Aghuno, Fruché imagines a new form of dress for African men and women, mixing traditional Nigerian culture and modern design.

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