Author Sara Lieberman Photography Lakin Ogunbanwo
Since debuting her line, Maki Oh, in 2010, Nigerian-born designer Amaka Osakwe has shown at New York Fashion Week and dressed the likes of Michelle Obama and Solange Knowles. Her sophisticated silhouettes combine traditional and contemporary fabrics for an understated flair. Here, the 28-year-old Lagosian talks about what to wear and where to shop in Nigeria’s style capital.
What is the style like in Lagos?
It's very bold and flamboyant. With one celebration or another every weekend, the average Lagosian has multiple “Sunday Bests.” Everyone from all walks of life, and every age group, dresses to impress, and Lagosians are very unapologetic about this.
How would you suggest a visitor pack?
Sunscreen, sunglasses, a few party dresses—because during your visit, you will be invited to an opening or a wedding or a birthday party or a naming ceremony or a party (because we party). And, of course, a bag full of wit and tenacity.
Do you collect anything in particular when it comes to fashion?
I try to collect pieces of clothing in traditional Nigerian fabric, most of which are vintage and show the true couture-quality workmanship of classic dressmaking techniques.
Where do you like to shop in Lagos?
ALÁRA concept store for its wonderful curation; Stranger Lagos for all that black; A Whitespace Lagos for their interesting pop-ups; Nike Art Gallery for vintage African fabric; and Lekki Market for handmade goodies.
Tell us about today's look.
My clothing and bag are Maki Oh. This shirt is a favorite because it is one of the first hand-dyed indigo silk shirts I ever made. It's rich, organic and charged with my Nigerian heritage. My shoes are the most comfortable Lanvin sandals ever.