If there is one African fashion designer who has caught the attention of the international world of fashion, it is Deola Sagoe. This internationally acclaimed Nigerian designer has been in the fashion game for around 25 years and continues to leave an undeniable mark in the fashion world. Her globally appealing collections have earned a great clientele, which includes, Oprah Winfrey, African first ladies, Naomi Campbell and other A-list celebrities. Thus, it is no surprise that the foremost Nigerian designer will feature in the TV series “My Nigeria”, a series of six half-hour documentaries by Al Jazeera.
The goal for the series, My Nigeria, is to deal with the clichés of Africa and tell a more human story. “For every stereotype of corruption or extremism, there are millions of ordinary Nigerians making this African powerhouse tick. Our series focuses on these individuals to see firsthand how Nigerians are busy making a difference,’ says Ingrid Falck, Head of Documentaries at Al Jazeera English.
Deola Sagoe’s contribution to the series will be to illustrate the role and value of the Deola Sagoe’s brand in Africa especially on the image of Nigeria over the years. As Deola attests, “[the series] will inspire women to begin to take their destiny in their own hands and to realize that they have a role, which transcends traditional moulds and norms.”
Sagoe’s strong designs and blend of traditional Nigerian fabrics and western aesthetics have garnered her praise and recognition in and beyond Africa. She is the proud founder of haute couture fashion house Deola and although the brand has gained a reputation for excellence and quality, Sagoe remains committed to improving her brand as well supporting fashion in Africa. “African designers need to celebrate their cultural roots and fashion history in order to become globally competitive,” says Sagoe.
On her website, Deola Sagoe has described the type of woman she designs for as mysterious and engaging, a gift to all women. Like Sagoe’s own designs, the woman she designs for, is colorful, vital, energetic and not shy. Throughout the years, Sagoe has had a singular aim, “to enable our customers to reveal through our design, their unique, albeit inexplicable, `Je ne sais quoi ‘ …Which is always a joy to behold”
In 2014, Sagoe was invited as a guest Mercedes Benz Fashion Week New York along with her three daughters, Teni, Aba & Tiwa Sagoe. At the event, CLAN, Sagoe’s daughters brand, debuted its Sporty-Chic Spring/Summer 2015 collection while Deola exhibited her Midsummer Night Dream collection.
Besides showcasing at the New York Fashion Week, Sagoe has, on numerous occasions, also exhibited her collection for the Cape Town Fashion Week. Over the years, she has been awarded with several awards and accolades, including the “African Designs” and the MNET/Anglo Gold African Designs Awards in 2000.
Aside from being a legendary fashion designer, Deola is also passionate propagator for African fashion. In fact when she went into fashion in 1989, it was partly to prove to the world that Africa has designers as well. “There was really nothing happening in terms of African fashion going global, or Africans being able to make a business of African fashion outside of the shores of Africa. So I went into it, sort of, to prove a point and to say ‘Listen. We can do this. We can add value.’ And to also bring the attention of the world to our own native abilities,” Sagoe confessed.
All images sourced and subject to copyright © Deola Sagoe. Find out more from her website.
Cover image sourced and subject to copyright © Ventures Africa