Woman Crush Wednesday (WCW): Deola Sagoe

by Duke Magazine

Deola Sagoe is a Nigerian fashion designer. She started designing when she joined her mother’s business in 1988. Her goal was to add more modern designs to the label’s line for the cosmopolitan, high-brow society that was always changing.


She became an icon in her field by using hand-woven African materials to bring a variety of different cultures to life and by updating traditional African techniques that were almost lost.


She is known for her uncanny attention to detail, her skill with a wide range of fabrics, and her great understanding of how different women’s bodies work.


Back home, she is admired for being loyal to her country and working hard for it. Her creativity, ability to come up with new ideas and strong business sense and vision have helped her win many awards and praise over the years.


In 2004, she was the first black woman to show a collection at Rome’s famous fashion week, AltaRoma. In September 2014, she was the first Nigerian to have her stand-alone show at New York Fashion Week. She continues to lead the way in putting Nigeria on the fashion map around the world.


Her fashion design took a big step forward when she won the MNET Anglo Gold African Design Award (New York) in 2000. She had been nominated for this award by the influential US Vogue Editor Andre Leon Tally.


In 2001, she was ranked number 37 on the list of the 100 most influential Africans in the world by the African Almanac. In 2004, she made a big step forward by being the first person to bring authentic clothing with African influences to the Alta Roma Alta Moda Fashion Week.


In 2015, she acted in and made costumes for “October 1,” a big movie about Nigeria’s fight for independence that was directed by Kunle Afolayan. She won the Multichoice-Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Award for Best Costume Designer for her work.


In 2007, she won the Platinum Quality Award at the 10th International Star Awards in Paris for the quality of her clothes. She also won the International Quality Award for Excellence and Business Prestige in the diamond category at the Quality Summit in New York in 2008. In 2010, her brand was named a “Super Brand,” and the Super Brand’s Certificate of Excellence in the Fashion Design and Label category was given to her.

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