Once upon a time in Nigeria, it was almost a taboo to describe yourself as a fashion designer; especially if you were privileged to have bagged a degree from college. But today, that’s hardly the case, as we see parents encourage their wards to pursue a career or at least have a skill in fashion.

What brought about this drastic change, and the respect fashion designers now command in our clime? Some trailblazing Nigerian fashion designers stuck to building the trade and carving out a niche for themselves via excellence in the fashion industry when the prospects were far from rosy.

We’ve listed few names who are leading the fashion industry in Nigeria.

Frank Oshodi

Even if you aren’t one that’s keen about fashion trends, you’d agree that Frank Oshodi always pops out the latest styles in Nigerian fashion.

Having been in the industry for over 25 years, Frank Oshodi is one fashion designer that has effortlessly embraced our rich cultural diversities into distinct fashion trends. Due to his vast experience, Oshodi brings into the fashion industry an unconventional approach.

Being a onetime model with top iconic brands when he started out, his perception of fashion was broadened. His big break came when he was hired by Silverbird to be the makeup artist and designer for Agbani Darego. That opportunity opened up frontiers for him to perpetually showcase our Nigerian fashion designs to a global audience.

Folake Folarin-Coker

You can say that again. This name sure rings a bell in the fashion industry. She is the co-founder of Tiffany Amber, a global fashion iconic launched in 1998. Her unique approach to African indigenous style has earned her global and local recognition.

She is the first African designer to have showcased her collections at the New York Mercedes fashion week for two consecutive years.

She’s a regular at international media houses such as CNN and is one of the women to have made the list of Forbes power women in Africa. In 2013, she was the recipient of the enterprise award at the WIE

Deola Sagoe

Deola’s innovative and dynamic approach into designing African prints earned her the audience of international celebrities like Opray Winfrey and Will Smith. Attitude and elegance, which are her signature prints, draw inspiration from African prints infused with Western aesthetics and Nigerian tones.

Her recent works include hand-dyed Adire fabric. Besides having to showcase her collection in Cape Town and New York Fashion Weeks, she has been a recipient of MNET/ANGLO Gold African designs in 2000. Given her contribution to the fashion industry globally, the United Nations World Food Program appointed her a Nigerian ambassador of the program “catwalk the world: Fashion for Food”

Duro Olowu

Tremendously gifted with working with patterns, Duro who has both Jamaican and Nigerian ancestry, has indeed carved a niche for himself globally and locally as the fashion guy that can do magic with African prints. This is the guy to count on when searching for the latest styles in Nigerian fashion.

Even though he’s a lawyer by profession, his crave for fashion from a tender age of five has gotten the better of him. This has seen him bagging several awards, further raising his portfolio universally. In 2005, he was the first African to have been named a new designer of the year at London fashion walk without staging a fashion show.

Notable clients he has worked for include Michelle Obama, Solange Knowles, Linda Evangelista, and a host of others.