Amaka Osakwe (born 1987) is a Nigerian fashion designer and creator of the African based fashion label named Maki Oh. She leads her womanswear label since 2010 from Lagos, one of the few Nigerian-based brands that are globally acknowledged.
Osakwe studied at the Arts University of Bournemouth where she received a BA in fashion studies. In autumn/winter 2010 she launched her label. Inspired by rural Ghana’s Dipo rites-of-passage ceremony, during which girls taking part are partially naked and ornately adorned, Osakwe has played with cloaking and ornamentation using traditional African fabrics. Her label was discovered by the U.S. fashion scene in 2012 when she presented her designs at the New York Fashion Week. She relates the legacy of their country with one, if they dyed their brands by hand with indigo leaves and painted the pattern with a paste made from cassava. Adire is the traditional method.
International stars such as singers Beyoncé, Rihanna and Hollywood actress Kerry Washington have discovered the Nigerian designer outfits for themselves. U.S. First Lady, Michelle Obama, a well-known style icon, wore during summer 2013 trip to South Africa a blouse of Nigerian designer Maki Oh. Her designs also have been worn by the likes of Solange Knowles and Leelee Sobieski and by Nigerian TV presenter Eku Edewor.
One signature of her brand is that it’s dyed by hand using the traditional textile arte process Adire. Another is her way of combining Western silhouettes and native materials and motifs—to wit, a lace-blouse-and-pencil-skirt set appliquéd with unsettling raffia eyeballs. She was named Designer of the Year by African fashion magazine ARISE.
Designs for Fall 2016