BUKI AKIB: Go Big or Go Home


Nigerian fashion designer Buki Akib knows how to get your attention and keep it. Her latest collections – FELA and Wives – is just what it sounds like. Enter the wonderful, magical world of Akib’s head as she cuts and tweaks life in The Shrine + Kalakuta Republic into luxurious fabrics and a hypnotic chorus of color. Akib is a master storyteller, spinning webs of waterfall patterns, heavy bold lines, and cool geometric motifs with interwoven yarn into handbags and men’s clothing.

Akib’s eye-catching designs caused a “reading” to go down between folks on our FB page last week testing the elasticity between artistic license and historical accuracy. The question was posed, Would Fela actually wear Akib’s collection? The argument pointed out that the sheer bulk of Akib’s work would not be ideal in a tropical climate and as Fela got older he eschewed western dress in favor of little to no clothing.

But who knows? Let the dialogue rip. Peep Buki Akib’s inspired designs below and how she describes her conceptual process for the Fela 2011 and Wives S/S 2012 collections:

NAIJA IN THE BLDG: “The FELA collection is ‘Quintessentially Nigerian’ which constitutes beautiful bright shiny colours, heavy texture and outlandish silhouettes which represents true Africanism.”

AFROPOP NOSTALGIA: “The way Fela’s music spoke to me with such authority and excitement is the way I want my collection to speak to people.”



INSPIRATION: “There is no other way to capture the essence of Lagos but through this collection – the classic fixtures of colonial houses engaging with the hustle of Lagos city life, to the vibrant juxtaposed markets scattered on top of each other. Growing up in the city was an introduction to fashion itself.”

HEATWAVE: “A mixture of colours such as orange cotton and purple silk yarns with dusty bronze lurex were an obvious palette as a back drop of the heat and sweat of the Lagos music scene.”

LOOKBOOK: “unconventional and luxurious fabrics…bold high waisted trousers, extravagant knitted swimming trunks and virile trousers”


27 QUEENS: “My fascination on Fela’s wives grew into an admiration of their lustrous world inside the shrine. I interpret their beauty and sexuality as a form of empowerment.”

FELA FEMINISM: “There was more to Fela then just having 27 wives; he gave them a sense of identity in a society that made them invisible.”

THE WIVES COLLECTION:A world of queens, sirens and seductive silhouettes. A celebration of female sensuality and identity.”



dancer/healer LYFE SILVA’s star trek, Courtesy of @stylelikeu

We go beatnuts for innovative style. And this historical moment is producing some really fresh and distinct African designers. Bold mod patterns, chunky cultural prints, vivid psychadelic palettes, and undeniable street swag are fast becoming the defining elements of this emerging, global motley crew.

Hip hop artist, @theophiluslondon’s bogga style/ @stylelikeu

Style provides an amazing lens for us to communicate and interpret our relationship with the environment, i.e. who we are to the world and what the world is to us. Style is a cool and critical feature of the African imagination. Through style we show our understanding of the world and our place in it.

Designers DYNASTY + SOUL’s Migration Fashion / @stylelikeu

There are some chill folk we’d like you to meet. Twice a month, we’ll post a style segment on the blog featuring fascinating Ghanaian and African designers, stylists, and everyday gamechangers who think deeply and creatively about style, identity and artistic capacity.

Take a look at what our antennas picked up this week.

GHANAIAN designer Ozwald Boateng’sI Love Soweto” photoshoot:

From the beginning I have always wanted to shoot this collection in Africa, and The ‘I Love Soweto’ shoot captured what I was trying to do so beautifully. Spring/Summer 2012 essentially represents a European take on an African aesthetic, and my African heritage coupled with the setting of Soweto really gave the concept it’s authenticity’.

To learn more about @OzBoateng‘s design journey, check out A Man’s Story (2010):

NIGERIAN designer, Andrea Iyamah’s divine vintage future collections, abstract sketches and natty blog:

Peep Iyamah’s DinMa Collection (“It is Beautiful”) in action: