Vogue.com is shining a light on the 9-5 style of Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.
The creative director took the magazine through her personal style described as “African prints with a dose of Céline”.
See excerpts from the feature below!
On having always been choosy about what she wears:“If I had an interest in fashion growing up, I’m not sure I was aware of it. However, I have always been conscious of what I wear and how I wear it. When we were toddlers, my mum dressed my sisters and me in matching frocks complete with tie-back details and high-neck ruffles. My first fashion memory would have to be me breaking my dear mum’s heart at age 11 by telling her that the beautiful dresses she’d bought wouldn’t work and I was craving some normal dress-down clothes: jeans, T-shirts, skirts, and shirts. We eventually reached a compromise and shelved the dresses for Sundays and occasionwear. She was happy and I was beyond happy!”
On the need for structure in her work style:“My workday typically starts at 9:00 a.m., sometimes with back-to-back meetings, project planning, research, and mentoring, and I almost always break at 3:00 p.m. for school runs. I usually split my days into creative meeting days, where most of my interactions are with colleagues in the industry and I’m a bit more relaxed with how I’m dressed, and business meeting days, which predominantly involve meetings with our partners in private sector companies or the public sector. This requires my basic business uniform: tailored shift dresses or my favorite shirt and skirt combo with a blazer. Separates are the backbone of my closet—they create endless opportunities for mixing and matching, which in turn helps to vary my dressing-up choices. Though I love the flexibility and freedom of expression that comes with the job, over the years I’ve come to accept that my foundational years working in a law firm still influence the way I dress to a considerable extent. There’s always a need for an element of structure.”
On mixing and matching Africa labels to work: “For work it’s definitely a mix. This gives my wardrobe a certain burst of freshness that’s required when you’re a creature of habit like me. I love Grey for print shift dresses and Lisa Folawiyo, Maki Oh, and Lanre Da Silva Ajayi for covetable blouses and skirts that can be mixed and matched. Meena is perfect for a quirky take on the pantsuit and shift dress, while Gozel Green is great for shift dresses with a pop of color and extra detail. Orange Culture is a menswear brand, but it has the perfect T-shirts, sweatshirts, and print tunics, and I like Kenneth Ize for relaxed menswear. For shirts I’ve been obsessed with classic button-downs from Thomas Pink for the past two decades, and J.Crew. For blouses, it’s Lisa Folawiyo, Equipment, Roksanda Ilincic, Maki Oh, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, or Whistles. Céline, Chloé, and Theory have great pants, while Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Tiffany Amber, Gozel Green, Lisa Folawiyo, and Maki Oh make the best workwear skirts.”
On her fashion week style:“My Lagos Fashion Week look is usually very low-key, and the key word is comfort. I like being comfortably clad in looks that let me glide in and out of the show space and hobnob with sponsors, guests, and press. My go-to shoes of choice are mules. Malone Souliers’ Maureen mules were a lifesaver last year. They offer the required lift and elegance without sacrificing comfort.”