Nigerians living at home and in diaspora doesn’t cease to make the country proud. The most populous nation in Africa has produced many talents who has graced the pages of world news with the latest being Mowalola, a fashion designer who styled American sensational rapper, Drake.
After back to back sold-out shows, Drake took some time out to play and did so in epic style. The Toronto rapper was spotted out and about in London wearing a unique leather jacket with Halle Berry and the words ‘Assassination Vacation” emblazoned on the back.
Drake is currently on a world tour and whilst in London, he sported a custom made leather jacket by none other than emerging Nigerian designer Mowalola.
Eagle-eyed fashion lovers were quick to spot that his blue and black leather jacket was a Mowalola original and if you weren’t sure, the name was printed on his arm for all to see. Drake was pictured chopping it up with J.Cole looking effortlessly cool in his jacket by the talented young Nigerian designers. who has been featured in Vogue and Vice to name but a few.
Mowalola Ogunlesi is the creative director of the eponymous label. Having attended Central Saint Martin , she debuted her graduate collection titled ‘Psychedelic’ at the Central Saint Martins Press Show in May 2017 to critical acclaim. She then dropped out of CSM to focus on building her brand. Speaking to i-D magazine, she said, “I’m just figuring out how to do everything. They don’t really teach you that at CSM. I guess they’re working more on your mind than on building your business skills.” Her fashion-forward collection was heavily inspired by Nigerian psychedelic rock and petrol-head culture.
Mowalola claims her work is ‘celebration of the black African male: his culture, sexuality, and desires’ and is determined to change of the narrative of what it means to be Nigerian in the global context. In an interview with Vogue, she said, “Growing up, the only thing people knew about Nigeria was internet scams. But I’m interested in exploring more about my culture, my history. Nobody ever talks about it – and I want to open up new conversations, connect to people, change their ways of thinking.”
Mowalola’s aesthetic is highly sexually charged with eroticism being a constant theme through her collection. Her approach to the idea of Nigerian masculinity is one of intense liberation with Mowalola explaining that being exposed; both physically and emotionally, allowing oneself to be vulnerable, is the only way to find strength.
She’s definitely one to watch when it comes to representing Nigeria on a global stage and one of the bright young things that are turning what our inherent Nigerian style is on its head, and we’re here for anything that challenges the status quo.