Monday, November 18, 2013

Guardian Life Article 10/11/13 - Style Stars: The Nigerian Edition

Nigeria is a country of extremely well-dressed people, so well-dressed in fact that putting together a list such as this takes a lot of thought. I decided to narrow it down to people who wowed me on a daily, people who wake up in the morning, plant their feet on the floor beside their beds and set forth to slay every sartorial rule. People who in short make me take a second look every single time I see them.

As an avid style watcher I’m constantly on the look-out for great style. Anybody can afford fashion; it is trend in its most general form, but true style, the type that transcends even when you’re wearing the exact same thing as the next person is as elusive as it is valuable. That is why you can see a group of students in a school uniform, identikit outfits, but one or two might stand out; it might be in the way they tuck their shirt in or a certain rakish air they have lent to their enforced uniformity, a certain way their socks are rolled that sets them apart from the multitude. Everybody else can tell they’re different but nobody…not even themselves can pinpoint exactly why.

That, my people… style.

You might be thinking, surely this list is not exhaustive, in a country of 150,000,000 there must be a few more people than the 8 I have listed here that warm the cockles of my fashionable heart but I kid you not, I could not think of a single one.

Lisa Folawiyo
First up is Lisa Folawiyo, creative director of uber fashion label Jewel By Lisa.

Going by the gorgeous creations churned out by the House of Jewel By Lisa you don’t need to be told that someone with unusual sartorial flair is behind it.

Seeing Lisa in her daily outfits though cements her style star status. Lisa Folawiyo is possibly my strongest contender for most fashionable woman in Nigeria. Her style is not typical, she is on trend and yet marching to the beat of her own stylish drum all at the same time.

From shoes to jewelery to accessories, every item she dons gives me life.

Ashley Madekwe
Ashley Madekwe is best known as a scheming socialite in hit US tv show; Revenge and the reformed tart with a heart on British show; Secret Diary of a Call Girl. She is however carving a niche for herself as an international style star.

She has run a personal style blog called ‘Ring My Bell’ for years but it was only after cracking the US on Revenge that her fashion cred began to rise. Ashley is the epitome of simplistic chic, never overdone, always just right.

Her brand of super stylish minimalism evokes the laid back yet fashionable looks of Jackie Onassis and Audrey Hepburn in the 60s.

Eku Edewor
Eku Edewor is a tv presenter on Studio 53, an actress, a model and a seriously stylish personality.

Eku Edewor has a very similar look to Ashley Madekwe’s, in that they favour simple clean lines, nothing too fussy all delivered with class and subdued flair.

Never overdressed, never underdressed, always just right.

Nkiru Anumudu
Queen Mother Nkiru Anumudu is the biggest risk taker in Nigerian fashion.

Her style is so uniquely her own it cannot be duplicated. Her outfits are ripped directly from international runways and put together with her customary dash and whimsy.

She is probably the closest representation of the over the top, super stylish ways of international street style star Anna Dello Russo. With an enviable wardrobe and serious fashion cojones we salute this Queen of the Avante-Garde.

Ene Maya Lawani
Ene Maya Lawani is a former Miss Nigeria and contender-in-training for the throne of Nkiru Anumudu.

Ene is a risk taker as well and never plays it safe. The street is her runway and her outfits are her armour.

Mai Atafo
Mai Atafo is the designer behind label Mai Atafo.

As a suit-maker to the stars it stands to reason that he would look as at home in a suit as he would in a tee and shorts.

Mai Atafo is at the peak of mens fashion in Nigeria, pioneering the new generation Savile Row type tailoring in Nigeria.

Adebayo Oke-Lawal
Adebayo Oke-Lawal is the designer behind cult label ‘Orange Culture’.

Being at the helm of one of the most respected and fashionable young labels in the industry it stands to reason that Adebayo would be an able representative of his brand.

Always impeccably turned out, Adebayo combines trend pieces with the unconventional, creating outfits that are alternative yet highly wearable.

Terence Sambo
Terence Sambo is a photographer and foremost mens fashion and style aficionado.

The Lagosian turned Londoner is known for his hip-hop infused/eccentric/vintage-inspired/all round fabulous outfits.

As a respected fashion blogger he has serious style cred and never disappoints.

Anyone you think should have been on this list?

Photo credits: Instagram (@lisafolawiyo, @theorangenerd),,,,

Shout out to the following people who helped with insight when I was putting this list together:

@designerkath, @happyBBB, @TweenyTee, @ZinnieP, @bigchicanita, @OmogeMuRa, @oforiking0242, @_ChechiArinze, @Gorgeousbskin, @eneni, @Miss_Jayla, @omooziegbe, @prettyJules1, @Dov3li, @TheShoeShopAbuja, @OnyinyeFafiObi, @OGaggs, @Chaud_TheMag, @wild_hearts, @cassie_davies.



  1. Dis is BS,mai,eku,ene maya,nkiru anumudu av no business on dis list.I guess dis is a case of putting people u r friends with.let's see if u are true enough 2 put up my comment

    1. haa...aunty or uncle.. didnt u read the last question in the post?? name names and stop castigating!!

  2. Great Selection! though I don't care much about some of Nkiru Anumudu's choices but then its her "personal style" and she owns it well so no palaver. Every other person is totally on point and I would love to raid their wardrobes haha!

    1. Thanks! I think she's a beast though. Not many people can pull off her choices and that's what I admire. The risk-taking.

    2. I'm with you 100. Sometimes I wish she'd just up and adopt me and make me live in her closet.

  3. Go check on Temi Dollface she Is the *Queen of Vintage* here in Nigeria.. U wld be Glad u find her lool...don't bother telling me thank u when u find her

    1. I htink she's cute, I'm definitely a fan. I just feel like her style is very costume-ey. I'm not sure if she's playing a role every time she steps out or that is really how she dresses on a daily.

      Its a bit Lady Gaga-ish to me, no difference between the person and the character. Gaga is Gaga all day, Stefani Germanotta never makes an appearance.

      I feel like Temi Dollface is the same way, great clothes but in my opinion its like she dresses for the stage and her musical character than her own personal style. I may be wrong though but that's the way it looks to me.

  4. Savile row tailoring, huh? Don't know about that one o!

    Ogo Offodile, Zara Okpara, Chalya Shagaya, Funke Fowler, Ezinne Chinkata, Kike of Style by Queens, Zainab Ashadu >> style for daaaaaaaays!

    1. Hahaha, someone said the same to me. I'm a Mai fan though, so you can't tell me nothing.

      Yup, all these ladies you mentioned are ace, I definitely agree.

  5. I think Nkiru is able to get away with all these fashion risks cos she's a beautiful woman.
    There's personal style, then there's Nkiru's style.
    I was really looking forward to see Rita Domnic in this list.

    1. Lol @ Nkiru's style. Def.

      I'm not really a fan of Rita D's style. She looks great I cannot lie but her personal style is not obvious to me. I see a lot of red carpet pics but her down time style is regular. Really doesn't wow me.

  6. The Queen Mother! LOL! And Contender-In- Training... I like the fact that this list is more about those who are true to their style and risk-takers.. not just fashion victims.

  7. lol this list is a joke! how do you feel?.....

  8. Mickey Mouse Wedding dress disasterNovember 19, 2013 at 11:52 AM

    Pls don't insult Sanille Row or anything decades of building that reputation stands for by putting Mai Atafo in the same sentence. Mai sewed my sister's wedding dress and that of her maid of honour, after she had shown him a picture from a top wedding dress house. Guess what? The wedding dress he made, "sewed", had sleeves exactly like Mickey Mouse ears, a total deviation from what was shown to him. The quality of his zippers??? Both dresses had their zips spilt and not like the wearers had put on weight or anthing. Personally, I have become a "town crier", announcing to all who want to risk good money on a Mai Atafo dress that "buyer beware and at your own risk". I know you definitely wont post this comment, but just in case you are/will become friends with him, let him know he needs to improve on the little things that make up the bigger picture of his work.

  9. Temi Dollface should have been added. She is the definition of unique personal style

  10. Yup. You really know what style is. It should be personal,not a product of stylists or trend

  11. Eku Edewor and Ashley Madekwe....YES!!! they are just so effortless. I've seen Eku out and about a few times in England and she always looks! even when she's dressed down. thats style to me. knowing what looks good on you always...even if its just jeans and a shirt. I know we nigerians are showy but I hate it when practicality gets put on the back burner in the name of "style". I mean have we learnt nothing from the Kate Moss' of the world? she always looks so stylish (even at festivals with all that mud!!) but when its time to turn up...she turns it up!!! lol

    so I know you like nkiru but seriously? I heard shes rich and I honestly think that shes one of those people who know nothing about style and just buys things because of the name. why else would she wear a burberry trench in lagos??? and I swear sometimes she wears things exactly as its shown on the runway. i mean anyone can do that (if they had the money lol). i don't think it makes you stylish it just makes me think you're a try hard and you're clueless. which is again why i love eku and ashley. what they're wearing could be expensive, or it could be really cheap, but it never matters! its not about where the item is from its how they put it together

    lol sorry for the long comment I just love fashion x

  12. Love this list I admire Eku edewor , Ene maya lawani and ashley madekwe , ene is earning her spots she seems to always slay and nkiru because shes feisty and loves to take risks but I dont give much thoughts to her style knowing that she takes inspiration from Anna delo russo.
    I ceertainly dont agree with rita dominic been on the list better genevieve nnaji.

  13. All I care about is that Lisa Folawiyo is on the list. She takes the cake for most stylish Nigerian anyday, anytime. Too freaking cool.


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