Africa Fashion Guide
A social enterprise promoting sustainability within Africa's fashion and textile industry.


October 13th, 2014

Adire, Fringing, and more…Maki Oh….the Making of a Master designer

I have a secret….ssshhhh….but Maki Oh is one of our favourite Nigerian designer brands.

Ok it is out there now….but why do I say that? Well , the product can speak for itself aesthetically but also from a textile perspective the collections constantly make references back to Nigerian traditional techniques and that’s what we at AFG love. African fashion designers and their work does not have to say “we are African” unless you intend it to but to have a link back to heritage, history and local skills and textiles shows that you are appreciative of craft. And in my opinion Amaka Osakwe does that.

This young Nigerian designer is not only a LVMH award semi-finalist but was also just last week attended an invite only event at the White House. On Wednesday 8th October 2014 Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh was invited to the White House by the First Lady of United States of America, Michelle Obama along with Michelle’s favourite designers for a cocktail event titled ‘Celebration of Design’, where she mingled with the likes of fashion fame – Naomi Campbell, (another favourite Designer with a Nigerian heritage .. the print master) Duro Olowu and Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles. See more on the actual event on Harpers here and photos on Bella Naija.

But this collection for SS15 exemplifies all that she does and why she deserves to get the level of press she does get. describes the collection as follows:

This season, which she’s dubbed her “most serious,” was no exception. For Spring, Osakwe probed the original meaning of the word virgin—a woman who had left her parents’ home, was unbetrothed, and could take any lover she pleased—and its subsequent bastardization by a melee of factors, religious and patriarchal.

The garments she’s turned out here serve as an exuberant reclamation of the idea, measured parts femininity (plenty of powdery pink) and sophisticated hardness. (read more here)

We totally agree. She is spot on with her use of Adire. Adire is a techinique using indigo and resist-dyeing on cotton cloths to create patterns and made by Yoruba women of south western Nigeria and has a relationship to tie ‘n’ dye techniques. Amaka has an eye for this and has really used it in a way that speaks luxury. Working with her trademark indigo this colour and the tonal effect the Adire leaves suggests it has a slightly vintage feel such as the gorgeous 50s-esque dresses or the bow details. She presents almost a heritage in the collection as if it has been around for decades but cared for and passed down to the generations. But then she switches it up where she brings in these sharp lines along and across the body such as the white shirt over the printed trousers, and then finishes with her uber smart signature use of layering that gives her design style a Japanese aesthetic…just imagine if she collaborated with Rei Kawakubo or Junya Watanabe or Issey Miyake! I personally would love to see her collection in London’s Dover Street Market store (also one of my fave boutiques on the planet!) The thoughts is exciting.

But why don’t you check out her collection for SS15 and share your thoughts with us. Which is your favourite Maki Oh piece?

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All photos Courtesy of Maki Oh



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One Comment

  1. Some interesting pieces…the shorts with the white top in particular… I love adire, among other AFrican textiles. I just hosted a SewJourn to SantaFe, NM, where the highlight of the itinerary was a 2-day adire & tie-dye workshop with my friend, Nigerian artist Gasali Adeyemo. The richness of the indigo is unmatched. I’m now figuring out what to make with the 1/2 yard piece I created…

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