Celebrity favorite Lisa Folawiyo is a considered veteran of the Nigerian fashion world, adored for her luxurious take on women's ready-to-wear and accessories. She is widely recognized for her creative, colourful pieces which are a fusion of Ankara-inspired prints, modern tailoring, and ornate details such as hand embellishments. The result is a highly contemporary offering of feminine silhouettes, with a wholly West African aesthetic.
“I’m designing what l believe in,” Folawiyo stated in a conversation with Industrie Africa. “I can only design with honesty, and to do that I have to design things that I’m attracted to, what l want to wear, what l want to see other women wear. It has to mean something to me. It has to be authentic.”
Since founding her namesake brand in 2005, Folawiyo has been at the forefront of Nigerian designers making waves on an international scale. Not only has the designer showcased in multiple major cities, including at Lagos Fashion Week and New York Fashion Week, but she has also been featured in several publications such as Vogue, The New York Times and Harper’s Bazaar. Folawiyo’s pieces have been seen on actors and musicians, including Oscar winning actress Lupita Nyong’o, actress Thandie Newton and singer-songwriter, Solange.
While the brand has evolved—it was initially known as Jewel by Lisa—her dedication to crafting collections influenced by Ankara textiles remains intact. “Our mothers, grandmothers and probably great-grandmothers have worn this fabric,” Folawiyo told the BBC, adhering to her roots. Each Lisa Folawiyo garment boasts a handcrafted and unique history from inception to construction, with her team of expert local artisans taking on average 240 hours to complete a single hand-embellished piece.
- EbonyLife TV Sisterhood Awards, Fashion Designer of the Year, 2016
- Inspired Women of Worth Award, Gold Partner, 2015
- Glam & Essence Style Awards and Runway Show, Designer of the Year, 2013
- FAB Awards, West Africa, Designer of the Year, 2012
- African Fashion Awards, Designer of the Year, 2012