Bridget Awosika on Lanes & Lagos
photography — Amandla Baraka
article — Jordan Slick
Don’t be misled by the pretty, breezy dresses: Bridget Awosika is battle hardened. After 5 years of living, working, and creating in Nigeria she says “[I’m] definitely more patient, stronger. I wouldn’t say friendlier, because people don’t even like that here.”
After studying at Parsons School of Design, she worked stints at Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani in New York before venturing to Lagos to start her own line.
“I wanted to be a part of growing industry. It’s great to be [a designer] in New York, but you’re one of twenty-thousand, maybe more. I wanted to be a part of something that’s growing, and to be recognized in my hometown.”
Hometown pride notwithstanding, she feels no pressure to submit to typical local preferences. “Why don’t we have people here that can do something that can be worn anywhere? It can be inspired by Africa, but it doesn’t have to be restricted to that. So I came back thinking, let me bring in something that's different.” That cosmopolitan outlook has made her pieces a hit internationally. Most recently, Nylon featured her designs on Issa Rae in their October print issue.
First presented at Lagos Fashion and Design Week in November, her SS17 collection is exclusively available now on OXOSI for a limited time for pre-order.
“This season I wanted to loosen it up a bit, nothing too tight. The structure is in the ruffles − they tighten it up − but I wanted it to feel loose. Make it relaxed, not too stiff and serious” she said of her latest collection. “That’s why we use silks: when it’s on, it’s very easy, it moves very well.”
The “lanes” applique detail is the standout in a collection abounding in thoughtful details: scalloped edges, hidden plackets, the perfect slouch of a pair of black pants. “This motif has been in my head forever. I started sketching out lanes; I’d Google pictures of highway lanes, sketching those, cutting up so much fabric to get the look.” Streetwear, literally.