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Amaka Osakwe
Most Creative People 2017

Amaka Osakwe

Founder, Maki Oh

For letting clothes speak for themselves

Lupita Nyong’o, Solange, Issa Rae: These high-profile women have publicly sported Maki Oh designs, having discovered the Nigerian fashion line via Instagram, one of the few luxury retailers where it is sold, or Michelle Obama, who famously wore the label in 2013. Lagos-born founder Amaka Osakwe’s work is rooted in Nigerian culture. Her runway shows display references to life in her country, project messages of female empowerment, and feature exclusively women of color. The clothes blend Western silhouettes with African craftsmanship and materials: Osakwe is reviving the Nigerian art of adire (cloth dyeing), which creates patterns that have specific meanings. “Clothing used to be a form of communication,” she says. “Cloth would allow you to make a statement, like, ‘I’m happy that you’re here,’ or ‘I’m sorry about what I did earlier.’ ” As she expands global distribution of Maki Oh, Osakwe also has plans for a more affordable ready-to-wear line.

Amaka Osakwe On The Web
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