Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu
Duro Olowu, Spring Summer 2012 Collection at the Gallery of Costume

‘My work, like my eye, is certainly international in its aesthetic, offbeat yet focused. As such, I am always open to the surprise of the new, the technique and skill of the past and the ability of fashion and art to challenge preconceived ideas of taste and culture.’1

Born in 1965 in Lagos, Nigeria to a Nigerian Father and Jamaican mother, Olowu spent his childhood travelling between Nigeria and Europe. From an early age, his enthusiasm for fashion was inspired by the unexpected mix of fabrics, textures and draping techniques of the clothing worn by the women that surrounded him. Like his father before him, he trained as a lawyer but later turned to a career in fashion, launching his label in 2004. His first collection was an instant success and featured the now signature ‘Duro dress’ hailed by both British and American Vogue as the dress of the year in 2005. That same year the British Fashion Council honoured him with the prestigious New Designer of the Year Award at the British fashion awards. In 2010 he won the Best Designer Award at the African Fashion Awards 2010 in South Africa and was a also finalist for the Swiss Textiles Award in Zurich.

Alluring silhouettes, sharp tailoring, original prints and luxurious vintage textiles in off- beat, yet harmonious combinations, are Olowu’s signature, inspired by his Nigerian and Jamaican heritage. He has shown as part of New York Fashion Week since 2011. Olowu is inspired by a wide range of music, and is also particularly interested in fine art, naming artists such as Glenn Ligon, Cindy Sherman and David Hammons as favourites.

1 Duro Olowu quoted in the press release for Material: A group show curated by Duro Olowu, Salon 94 Freemans, New York, USA, 8 February to 31 March 2012.


Martin Barlow, curator of the exhibition Moving Into Space at the National Football Museum talks about the exhibition.

Barthélémy Toguo, Lucy Azubuike and Nnenna Okore, three of the exhibited artists, talk about their work and their interest in using materials which reflect the lifestyle and experience of the people of West Africa.

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Street life, dazzling dress, social commentary and a riot of sensuous colour interweave in a rich assembly of West African art, writes Charles Gore in the Times Higher Education

Nine countries show off their talent as five city venues link up for a summer celebration. Helen Nugent in the Guardian