It's been almost 4 years since Amaka Osakwe, designer of Maki Oh, last showed a collection at New York Fashion Week. Though the brand awareness in the city continued to rise in her absence, thanks to strong PR and style icons like Solange being sighted in her pieces, you can tell that the latest presentation was met with prolonged anticipation and excitement.
Against a yellow backdrop, punctuated only by two horizontal black lines, Maki presented her Fall/Winter 2017. On first sight, the backdrop immediately triggers memories of the ubiquitous yellow buses that congest the streets of Lagos, but that was all a part of Maki's message.
Within the timeframe of 24 hours, two articles about the same collection was published on Vogue. We have never witnessed this before, especially for an Africa-based designer.
Based off the content of both features, the evidence is clear: Maki Oh's practice of storytelling and her refreshing approach to making clothes is something people are buying into. The brand is bound for greatness, and even Vogue, the holy grail of the fashion industry, recognizes that.
In one feature, the writer, Marjon Carlos, vividly recounts:
"Entering the Maki Oh Fall 2017 presentation on Wednesday felt like gaining admission into a fashionable Nigerian bacchanal.
Coordinated in tandem with the fledgling African e-tailer, OXOSI, the room was full of the pulsating and sweat-inducing beats of a traditional West African drum band, aptly named The OXOSI Fuji Ambassadors."
Like all her other collections, this one carries a strong narrative and is a fine blend of cultural nuances, contemporary construction and tradition motifs. It's also really hip and classy, with "a mix of different ideas of seduction".
For example, one top is embroidered with the inscription "No condition is permanent", just as another three-piece short suit serves as a clever nod to "walk of shame".
In the second, Maya Singer went on to write:
"Oh is—rightfully—one of Africa’s most celebrated designers, and her latest outing reaffirmed her position as one of the most interesting young designers from anywhere, full stop."
Check out Maki Oh on Instagram.