I am a die-hard advocate of living beyond and above the degree you earned in the course of a formal education. You see, those pieces of paper are meant to embellish and polish, not restrict and limit; so the next time you feel the urge to hang up your wig and gown or stethoscope or safety boots, or calculator, don’t fight it. It is possible you weren’t born to push pen and paper at a table all day, or endure the grind of a white-collar job for the next two decades.
Lisa Folawiyo, lawyer turned fashion designer buttresses my point. After a degree in law from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and a measure of time in legal practise, the ingenious lady let her imagination fly free in the world of fashion during a break from work after childbearing; that was in 2005. Jewel by Lisa started as the hobby of a new mother who had time on her hands, but today, has shown its collections on international platforms – from Johannesburg, London, Paris, to New York at New York Fashion Week (SS10 & SS12) as part of the Arise Magazine collectives at the Mercedes Benz New York Fashion Week Spring Summer ‘10 & ’12 collections, and Lagos, Nigeria at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW). Furthermore, the label presented its Autumn Winter ‘12/Resort ‘13 collection at the prestigious Pitti W Tradeshow in Florence via Lagos Fashion and Design Week, with Nigeria as Guest Nation, and most recently, the label showcased its Spring Summer 2013 collection in Milan at the Vogue Talent Exhibition in collaboration with Vogue Italia.
Plugged as the originator of the now popular ornate embellished Ankara, Lisa Folawiyo’s talents were inbred; no London Fashion Institute for her, she built her label from scratch, using her home as her first design studio for almost 5 years. As demand for her products and recognition grew, so ultimately, the label grew. Now, she employs expert beading craftsmen-as well as other staff- who hand-embellish each Jewel by Lisa piece; an estimated 5-day to 6 weeks process that is cognisant of JBL’s signature detailing, a feature which has not gone unnoticed as Jewel by Lisa has collaborated with global brands such as Blackberry and L’Oreal, to create limited edition Blackberry Phone cases and Lipstick & Nail polish covers, respectively. Did I hear you say “Wow?” In addition to embellished Ankara, JBL also creates custom prints, transferring print designs to other textures like silk, crepe, chiffon and the like.
Jewel by Lisa has been featured in several publications such as The New York Times, Drapers, Vogue.co.uk, Style.com, BBC.co.uk, MTV.co.uk, Vogue.it, Dazeddigital.com, ModaOperandi.com, Lucky, Women’s Wear Daily, Harpersbazaar.co.uk, The Financial Times Online (How To Spend It), Glamour Magazine (South Africa), Essence, Arise, Ebony, Marie Claire (Italia, Russia, & South Africa). The brand has also been well received and worn by the likes of British Actress, Thandie Newton & Singer, Solange Knowles.
The beautiful designer who defines her personal fashion as ‘classic with a twist’ describes her label as ‘classic, clean, youthful and trendy’ for the global, self-assured woman. A highlight of her years as a designer was winning the African Fashion Institute Designer of the year in 2011; it is always a good feeling to be acknowledged for outstanding work.
So the next time you feel the urge…
© 2013, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.