Born in Ibadan and raised in Lagos, Abiola Olusola is a Nigerian womenswear designer whose softly feminine, minimalist aesthetic has gained her national acclaim. Olusola graduated with a BFA in fashion design from Istituto Marangoni Paris in 2015, followed by internships at major fashion houses including Lanvin and Givenchy. In 2017, she launched her eponymous brand, one that fuses her Yoruba heritage with European, high fashion influences, and since then she has become a favorite of local celebrities including actress Eku Edewor and singer-songwriter Tomi Owó.
Passionate about Made in Nigeria, Olusola produces all her garments locally. Her aesthetic is one inspired by both her Nigerian upbringing and the pared-back mood that she encountered in Europe, each of her pieces exuding modern polish juxtaposed with traditional prints and unexpectedly playful elements like ruching, fringe, and asymmetric silhouettes. Largely inspired by Yoruba fabrics, her designs also incorporate a mixture of tie-dye, batik and stamping prints. The result is a signature style that is easy, elegant, and possesses an authentically African sensibility.
Through her collaboration with Nigerian craftswomen, Olusola uses her business to empower local artisans. She also keeps her production rate as low as possible, producing each collection with sustainability and waste management top of mind. “I try to reduce the synthetic materials I use in my work [and] I try not to use polyester,” she explained to Vogue. “Instead, I mostly work with cotton and linen, because a majority of my customers are in Nigeria, and it is really important for them to wear breathable fabric.”
Since establishing her brand, Olusola has been selected as one of 5 finalists of the Alara Emerge Fashion Fund.
ALARA Emerge Design Competition, Finalist, 2018