We often cast the fashion spotlight on those who dare to challenge conventions and push the boundaries of style. At this year’s New York Fashion Week, the brilliant, trailblazing women behind Nigerian fashion brands – Kilentar, LFJ official, Tia Adeola, and Onalaja showcased their exceptional fashion creations.
Their presence at New York Fashion Week SS24 isn’t just a remarkable achievement; it’s a testament to the dynamism and diversity of Nigeria’s fashion landscape. It’s a momentous stride towards greater inclusivity, authentic representation, and talent recognition. Fashion knows no boundaries, and these women-owned brands are proving just that on the world’s most prestigious runways.
Launched in October 2019 by British-Nigerian designer Michelle Adepoju, Kìléntár captures the timeless grace and strength ingrained in African history through its exquisite designs. The Nigerian fashion brand draws inspiration from diverse African cultures and historical periods by blending traditional African artistry with contemporary fashion.
By collaborating closely with skilled artisans across Africa, Kìléntár celebrates the excellence of traditional craftsmanship while preserving forgotten stories and techniques. From Nigeria to Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, and beyond, Kìléntár revitalises ancient practices like dyeing and weaving to create unique garments that epitomise modern femininity.
The mesmerising qualities of water and the enigmatic creatures that live within it inspire their new collection, ‘Out of this World.’ It features floor-length dresses and skirts, halter neck tops and bralettes, corset-like silhouettes, a cowrie top and more.
Born in Nigeria, raised in London, and now living in New York, Teni “Tia” Adeola is TIA ADEOLA’s visionary founder and designer. Tia’s journey to creating the Nigerian fashion brand began in the summer of 2017, right from her dorm room. Fuelled by her background in art history and a profound love for the Renaissance era, she embarked on a mission to reshape the fashion narrative, focusing on championing people of colour.
Her personal growth and evolution inspire her designs. The new collection features a backless sheer dress with butterfly motifs and a mermaid tail, frill pants and tops, a mini white and purple dress, and more eclectic pieces.
Popularly known as LovefromJulez, Princess Juliet Olanipekun, from Lagos, Nigeria, is the powerhouse behind the Nigerian fashion brand LFJ Official. Since its inception, LFJ has consistently pushed the boundaries of fashion to create revolutionary statement pieces that transcend mere clothing to become art. Renowned for its daring interpretation of pleats and unwavering commitment to structured pieces, LFJ seamlessly marries cultural art with fashion to produce unique architecturally inclined pieces.
Their new collection, “Under Sea,” plays on textures, specifically using mini pleats and construction to execute outstanding designs. The vision is simple: create pieces that make you stand out regardless of the occasion and accentuate your style irrespective of your shape or size.
Inspired by traditional art and captivated by the diverse mediums used for creative expression, Kanyinsola Onalaja’s fascination with colour and textiles led her to explore innovative ways of using fashion as a canvas for artistic expression. Thus birthing her eponymous Nigerian fashion brand.
Onalaja marries her Nigerian heritage with Italian design aesthetics to present a contemporary vision of beauty through meticulously crafted pieces. Her designs draw inspiration from traditional craft techniques, characterised by texture clashes, a play on proportions, intricate textile manipulation, and an unwavering commitment to perfect execution. Onalaja’s creations cater to the cosmopolitan woman, discerning in her taste and appreciative of finely crafted, wearable art.
The new collection features hand-beaded and handcrafted abstract prints embellished in layers, mesh, and camouflage beaded dresses. The sizing goes from Xs to 4XL.
Catch up on some of our favourite NYFW street-style looks on Instagram.