Launched in 2016, Ladunni Lambo is a ready-to-wear fashion brand made in Nigeria. Founded by its eponymous creative director, Ladunni Lambo, the brand is quickly attaining awareness through its distinctive unification of cultural motifs and modern silhouettes. From having their first solo show in March 2017 to showcasing at London Fashion Week and having clients such as the renowned novelist, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Ladunni Lambo is on a trajectory that is but only a dream for most budding designers. What has helped to set the tone and continuous growth of this fashion label?
From as early as Lambo could remember, he’s been interested in fashion and design. Consequently, she enrolled at Nottingham Trent University in the UK to study Fashion Design and graduated in 2012. She then decided to move back to Nigeria, where she dedicated a year to studying and comprehending the fashion industry. This culminated in showing her first collection in 2013 at Lagos Fashion and Design Week as one of the Fashion Focus Contestants.
After the experience, she chose to take another two years to hone her craft. During this period, she worked as the head designer for Frankie & Co, which is an in-house brand for Grey Velvet; a Nigerian fashion retail store. In 2016, she felt that she was ready to stand on her own two feet and resigned from Frankie & Co. In the same year, Ladunni Lambo was up and running. She introduced her label through her first official collection, ‘A Wife For Nana’, to impressive reception. And has gone on to release three other collections.
From the first collection, the cultural influence is evident through the use of Aso-Oke in her designs. According to an interview by Oxford Fashion Studio, the choice to merge the traditional woven fabric with western influences was to ‘invite the viewer into the Nigerian culture, while seducing a more modern and global audience.’ Of equal weight is the statement and story each piece wishes to share with the audience. The Ladunni Lambo woman is one of purpose. As she discovers herself and how she wants to make her statement in life, she finds her strengths and her valuable contribution in making a difference.
Through design details such as synched-waists, statement sleeves, and high waisted trousers, Lambo looks to depict women as unforgettable and illustrious. She empowers them by sharing their stories from the past, present and what is to come. And to represent the intricacy and intrigue that shape these stories, she combines techniques such as cut-outs, fabric manipulation, mixed fabrics and layering that reflect the complexity. However, she keeps to the ‘less is more’ philosophy, packaging these stories in clean silhouettes and minimal material as a complete reflection of the modern woman and her needs. Using less also helps her thoughtfully craft each piece, pushing her design boundaries to manifest her visions.
A large factor that has contributed to Lambo’s success and acceptance has to do with her strong resolution to stay true to herself as a designer. That means, only putting forth designs that she wants and unapologetically doing so. The following are her the existing collections under Ladunni Lambo to date:
“As the debut collection for the brand, ‘A Wife For Nana’ tells a story of a young Itsekiri woman of the Delta province of Nigeria, being forced to marry her village chief, Oginame Amaju. Based in the 1960’s, an era of strong western influence, our young bride to be aspired to be more than what her village had to offer, and definitely more than just another wife to the affluent chief. Her struggles between obedience and rebellion left her in a place of isolation, as the young bride counts down the days before she is soon to become the new wife of Chief Nana.”
AW17: THE NEW LIFE
“A sequel to ‘A Wife For Nana’, this collection focuses on our young bride’s life after her marriage to the village chief. Life continues as normal, as normal can be for the young bride, with a few new experiences that most young women either accept to learn or are forced to. But unlike the lives of her fellow sister-wives, she is given the opportunity to better herself with a Western education, and is later shipped away far from everything she has ever known, taking only her tradition and culture with her.”
“St*r is the third collection from Ladunni Lambo, and is inspired by the Princess Lalla Nouzha of Morocco and the Nomadic culture. The juxtaposition of the two concepts merge opulence and austerity, isolation and unity, presumption and reality, but which belongs to what?”
“Ise, the Yoruba term for ‘work’ is the fourth collection by Ladunni Lambo, which focuses on the industrial revolution and the need for women in the workplace. This collection’s attention to detail and multi‐functional garments shares the idea of women juggling more than they were used to, and the illusion of work getting done with more than just two hands.”
The brand may be based in Lagos, but it represents the stories of women all across the globe. With each collection, Lambo sets out to adapt the style and story to meet the reality of the modern woman; each on their own journey through life. As much as the brand embraces all women, internationally and locally, and the need to grow and adapt, there are two elements that will remain the same. Firstly, it strives to maintain the Nigerian cultural influences as part of its design. Secondly, it intends to ‘always making women look and feel revered and memorable’.