With the just concluded Oscars, the clothes the stars wore will make just as big a buzz as who won what. I am rooting for ‘Asad’ in the best short film category.
Many words have been employed in describing the spectacles she creates, using the immense power of her imagination, exotic, usually African based materials and stiches that look like they were pencilled on. Deola Sagoe has and continues to be a proud ambassador of true African creativity in the world of fashion. African fabrics, hand-woven materials, and contemporising almost-lost traditional African techniques, are the chosen tools of her profession.
From Ondo State of Nigeria, the Yoruba fashion designer studied at the University of Miami and University of Lagos and earned a Masters in Finance and Management. No hint of fashion designing in that mix right? But it was already in the genes. Sagoe’s late mother designed baby clothes and supplied British stores in Nigeria, so Sagoe grew up surrounded by fashion designs and sketches. Encouraged by her parents, she helped her mother, and discovered her talent for fashion design. Working and building her credibility for over a decade with her mother’s fashion line, the Odua label, Sagoe, started her eponymous fashion line in January 2008. She has since reached the skies, and is heading for the heavens.
To Sagoe, fashion is a calling. “I didn’t choose fashion, it chose me,” the Nigerian Queen of couture says. “I think the only way I’ve managed is because I know fashion was my destiny. African designers face so many challenges, producing collections and working hard to rise above the manufacturing infrastructure problems. For me, it’s about rising to the challenge and I think it’s made me a better designer. I feel I produce more intelligent clothing as a result.” [www.arise live.com].
Invitation to fashion shows such as the Cape Town Fashion Week and the New York Fashion Week come from all over the world, in recognition of the spectacularity of her creations. Her amazing clientele includes top society women in Nigeria like Nike Oshinowo, to former Miss World, Agbani Darego, and Kofi Annan’s wife, Nane Annan. Awards are never far from exceptional talent, and Sagoe has won her share of accolades and awards including the “Africa Designs” and the MNET/ Anglo Gold African designs 2000 awards for which she was nominated by Andre Leon Tally, US Vogue editor.
Sagoe has also been appointed to represent Nigeria in an international campaign organized by the United Nations World Food Program, titled “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food.” The campaign’s goal is to raise money towards halving the number of hungry people in the world, particularly children, by 2015.
Noteworthy is Sagoe’s amazing belief in the future and growth of Nigeria and Africa. She still maintains her flagship store in Lagos, Nigeria despite the infrastructural challenges, and maintains an unending love affair with African fabrics which she describes as a goldmine filled with gems of every description. With her daughters Tiwa, Teni and Aba toeing her line, and launching their own fashion label, CLAN, Sagoe has got some hot competition up her heels though!!!
According to her website, Sagoe has had a singular aim and achievement in creating breath-taking womenswear: it is “To enable our customers to reveal through our design, their unique, albeit inexplicable, `Je ne sais quoi ‘…Which is always a joy to behold.”
Sagoe must sleep fulfilled each night as she rests, certain that her satisfied customers are ‘je ne sais quoing’ with pride.
Have a great week ahead, and remember; your world awaits your manifestation.
*Je ne sais quoi- An intangible quality that makes something distinctive or attractive.
© 2013 – 2017, Jennifer Nkem-Eneanya. All rights reserved.