See the spectacular African design on display at Lagos Design Week

The design scene in Nigeria is exploding. Here are three prominent designers featured at this year’s Lagos Design Week. Twentieth century design was defined by European movements, like Scandinavian minimalism or the German Bauhaus. Could design in the 21st century be shaped by a new generation of African designers?

Design Week Lagos certainly makes a strong case for it. The event, which starts today, features dozens of up-and-coming designers from across many disciplines, including fashion, architecture, and industrial design. And collectively, these designers offer insight into what sets African design apart, with a unique approach to materials and incorporating traditional artisanal practices into modern objects.

The event is the brainchild of Titi Ogufere, a Nigerian interior designer who has spent the last decade and a half helping to establish an infrastructure for interior designers in the country by founding a trade association and magazine devoted to the craft. In 2019, she launched the inaugural DWL as an annual event that would bring together designers from many fields and from across the African continent. The pandemic stymied her plans to grow the event in 2020, but this year, it returns with a bang, thanks in part, to a documentary Ogufere developed for Netflix—debuting next week—that will feature many of the designers she has brought together through DLW. “Given Netflix’s global reach, the documentary will give audiences from around the world a chance to see what designers are doing here in Africa,” says Ogufere. “I hope it will also force people to rethink what they know about African design.”

I spoke with three designers showing at DWL to discuss how African design is evolving.


Lawal knew he wanted to be a fashion designer from the time he was in his early teens and started making his own clothes. Growing up in Lagos, he was aware that there wasn’t an established fashion industry in Nigeria, but he tried to learn the craft by working as a fashion editor for a local magazine called WOW! and as a stylist for local celebrities. A decade ago, he launched his own label Orange Culture, which he describes as an effort to push back against toxic masculinity by creating pieces that are androgynous and celebrate diversity.

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Source: Fast Company

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