Last year at The Future Africa Awards something unprecedented occurred in the award category for Fashion and Design. Alongside some of the country’s greatest fashion entrepreneurial talents Wanger Ayu, Adebayo Oke-Lawal and Ogugua Okonkwo, a stylist was nominated. Considering that designers are the superstars of our fashion industry a stylist being nominated is a huge statement. It suggests that finally, styling is being regarded as a medium of expression as invaluable to the industry as the clothes themselves.
Styling is the backbone of the Nigerian fashion industry, which relies heavily on connections. The stylist is the link that pairs often obscure young designers with their potential clients. A good stylist expands the possibilities for a design piece, bringing a creativity that a designer often blinkered by their singular vision for their collections can scarcely envision. They also help craft an identity for long term clients, influencing how their clients are seen by the world. Even Nigerian fashion’s arguably most influential woman, the Lagos Fashion and Design Week Founder Omoyemi Akerele reportedly started her career in fashion over a decade ago as part of a stylist duo with Bola Balogun. So, it is high time that they get taken seriously.
2017 will be their year only because of the ground work that went into 2016. Several established stylists truly asserted themselves this year and a crop of new stylists emerged with unique points of view and a desire to change the status quo. Here are some up and coming stylists whose work we are excited to see in 2017.
Donald is easily the most unassuming of stylists on this list. But his work with Adekunle Gold over the last two years and the traction he has been able to achieve has firmly cemented him as fashion success. We are excited to see him take on more clients in 2017 and the interesting direction he will take Adekunle Gold’s style in 2017.
Henry Uduku’s work with Guardian Life in 2016 is what got him on this list, but he has been busy as well outside of editorial high fashion. He has worked with the West African sensation Mr Eazi and rapper TysonNoir and has begun to explore a hybrid styling and photography project with brands like Re Lagos. 2017 holds many cards for Uduku, we will be waiting to see how they play out.
Pathrik Edusi started his career in fashion working Bubu Ogisi’s IAMISIGO but he began to really flourish when he joined the Lagos Fashion and Design Team in 2015. Come 2016 and Pathrik Edusi has styled everyone from Humblesmith to Falz the Bad Guy and was part of the team that kept the ninth season of Project Fame sleek and kitted. He has also worked on three of the biggest fashion shows this year as a stylist, Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, Mens Fashion Week 2016 and Copa Lagos.
Kayito has been in the industry for a while but finding his muse in Bunmi Ademokoya saw him really come into his own. His summer editorial for Cerebral Lemon with many of the country’s most celebrated designers was one of the year’s most adventurous and the best kind of calling card. After the success of the GTB Fashion Weekend which Nwokedi helped style, the only way is up in 2017.
Fav Ologu might be more famous as a fashion It-girl but it was her styling work that got her in the door in the first place. Ologu straddles that precarious line that international stylists like Rachel Zoe and June Ambrose have conquered, a stylist with as much star power as their clients and a voice to boot. It will be interesting to see how she parlays this into more success in 2017.