Last year, she shutdown Arise Fashion Week when she arrived and hit the runway for select designers like Tiffany Amber and Lanre Da Silva. Now, she's taking Africa to the world by giving our talented designers a huge global platform.
At her Fashion for Relief show, Naomi Campbell was spotted in between sets sporting a white halterneck dress by Nigerian Mowalola. The simple dress was adorned by a single bullet hole which gave a powerful message about the state of the British capital of London as it succumbs to a violence and unrest due to gangs.
Spotted in the 'Coming for Blood' line was male supermodel and Naomi's protege Alton Mason, who was spotted wearing his suit version at Paris fashion week.
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.