Our next top on our Athleisure tour takes us to Nigeria. A country with more than 250 ethnic groups and an estimated population of over 186million, we’re secretly disappointed that we didn’t find a jollof rice inspired line. However, these three Nigerian designers are spicing up the athleisure scene and they don’t disappoint:
The first thing you notice about this brand is its logo. This Nigerian-based brand, which design and produces unisex products with an athleisure and urban feel, is introduced by “The Fist Bump”. A greeting, and a means often used to signify celebration, it’s depicted with bold hues; which were intentional. Red, to signify strength, determination, power and love, while the black represents authority, strength, prestige, Black Power, depth and prestige.
As the logo suggests, the brand designs for the consumer who is expressive and unapologetic with their style choices. Co-founder, Babajide Ipaye, explains that KEEXS comes from two words. Kicks, which is the informal or slang word for shoes, sneakers and casual footwear with rubber soles, and Keek which can be defined as peeking covertly. As mentioned on their website, wearing a pair of KEEXS will allegedly make you feel good in three ways:
- Our designs will make you cool and stand out from the crowd.
- You are contributing towards poverty alleviation.
- Each product has a story that will inspire you.
Whether slip-ons or sneakers, print patterned or a monochrome colour base, KEEXS style allows for versatility and accommodates a variety of fashion senses. Plus, if you do spot another KEEXS wearer whilst in your own KEEXS, a friendly fist bump is certainly go down.
Launched by Nigerian celeb stylist Lilian Unachukwu, TigerLily Gym Gear is one of the first Nigerian owned and operated athletic wear companies. It was launched in Los Angeles and endorsed by musician, Christina Millian, but the stylist explain that the brand is geared towards the African woman. The brand offers crops, hoodies, tops and leggings which are all imprinted with a paw emblem.The Liam Fashion Agency founder started out as a women’s rand but eventually added Tiger Gym Gear collection for men. With the aim of growing her health brand, her focus for TigerLily is to create a product that is not only comfortable and stylish, but is affordable as well. The latter, being slightly different take from her celebrity-styling portfolio, which has seen her work with Wizkid, Iyanya, P-Square and Olamide.
Nigerian-American Buki Ade has had the internet talking for a while now. The designer and entrepreneur has brought a fresh take to swimwear with her collection of culturally-inclusive designs, called Bfyne. The idea came to the designer whilst she as on holiday. Noticing that the fashion industry lacked innovative designs in swimwear from African designers, she turned to the latest trends in African culture and design the line. While West African fashion influenced the traditional patterns and colours used in the collection, it’s the female physique that influenced the designs.
Ade explains that the seams and lines used were done to intentionally to make this enchanting swimwear work on any body shape. Playing with long sleeves, high necklines, straps and sexy cut-outs in unexpected places, her designs intentionally want you to look good, stand out from the crowd, and feel good while you’re at it. The bold prints and colours, creative vision and captivating designs has seen the Bfyne collection featured in magazines such as Vogue, Glamour and Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
You know the drill, if you’ve heard of an upcoming athleisure designer – from Nigeria or from the rest of the continent – let u know! Tag as in the comment section below or head over to our social media pages and tag us directly. Now, we’re off to get our TGIF on in athleisure wear but we’ll leave you with this: