Renowned Nigerian Fashion Designer Bubu Ogisi, weaves African Narratives and Traditions into Global Style.
As Lagos Fashion Week approaches, the bustling preparations are in full swing, led by Bubu Ogisi, a prominent figure in Nigeria’s fashion scene. With a deep passion for infusing African stories and traditional elements into her creations, Ogisi is set to showcase her Spring/Summer 2024 collection titled “Shadows.” The collection explores the use of materials and protective fibers, all while celebrating the rich heritage of the continent.
Draped in black, white, and earth-toned garments, her models, adorned with handmade bracelets and necklaces, gracefully strut down the runway. Bubu Ogisi, recognized as one of Nigeria’s foremost designers, oversees the final details of her designs, complete with her signature oversized hat and black sunglasses. Her work has garnered international recognition, with features in prestigious publications like Vogue and collaborations with brands like Victoria’s Secret.
Ogisi sees herself not only as a designer but as a dedicated researcher. Her creative journey takes her on a quest across Africa in search of materials and traditional techniques to incorporate into her IAMISIGO brand. “I believe I continue to push my development and redefine the materials I research,” she reveals during a fitting in Lagos. “It’s what I love to do every day.”
Her inspirations span the African continent, drawing from countries like Kenya, Ghana, Côte d’Ivoire, and her native Nigeria. Originally employed in the oil industry, Ogisi’s foray into fashion began in Paris, where she discovered her creative talent and established her brand. She proudly emphasizes the authenticity of her creations, stating, “Everything I create is either assembled on-site or I bring all the magical elements or ingredients for a concoction created between Nigeria and Kenya.”
Roxane Mbanga, the company’s artistic director, underscores their mission to unearth suppressed stories from the past, stories that colonialism attempted to silence.
During Lagos Fashion Week, models with henna-adorned hands and faces graced a sawdust-covered runway before the seated audience. Despite logistical challenges, such as a lack of fuel for generators causing the show to proceed without air conditioning, the event continued. Accompanied by artist Sheila singing songs paying tribute to shadows and spirits, the atmosphere remained vibrant.
Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion Week, hails Bubu Ogisi as an artist and a craft pioneer. He believes that she ventures beyond her comfort zone to engage with communities, emphasizing the importance of craftsmanship in fashion.
Nigeria’s creative industries have been gaining international acclaim. Afrobeats musicians like Burna Boy and Sake fill stadiums and earn prestigious awards, while Nollywood films find success on global platforms. For Bubu Ogisi, fashion seamlessly integrates with other entertainment realms. “You can never take fashion away from musicians,” she asserts. “Filmmakers need their movies to be visually stunning for the audience, and that can’t happen without an array of stunning pieces for the body.”