Nigerian fashion designer Amaka Osakwe is at the forefront of designers who are determined to bring African narratives to the global fashion industry. The creative director and founder of fashion-label Maki Oh, draws inspiration from her Nigerian heritage using traditional textile making techniquesto design fabrics that speak to the cosmopolitan African woman. Her aim is to spread her love for culture by telling authentic stories about the varied and nuanced experiences of Nigerian women, while challenging traditional notions of femininity.
The 30 year old designer is making a storm in the American fashion industry. Osakwe started Maki Oh in 2010, and has gained increased traction in the American market through mostly-unplanned celebrity endorsements. Her list of admirers range from Lupita Nyong’o to Michelle Obama— the former first lady was spotted wearing a Maki Oh adire blouse on her visit to Johannesburg.
Instead of using the ankara wax print— the popular Dutch fabric produced in the nineteenth century as a cheap imitation of Indonesian batik, this designer employs adire— the indigo dyed cloth traditionally produced by Yoruba women, as a way to promote the traditional Nigerian textile industry that is slowly dying out.
Look out for Osakwe because she’s just getting started!