Every fashion conscious Nigerian woman knows the pivotal role of Ankara in Nigerian fashion over generations. The material is greatly adored among Nigerian women. However the material (and its designs) has retained conservative look over time, until Lisa Folawiyo stepped in.
The self-acclaimed originator of embellished Ankara is bringing about a paradigm shift in the way and manner the material is being presented. Lisa embellishes Ankara with beads, crystals and other accessories to give it a distinct, youthful and edgy look.
“When I started using it, no one else was (using it) at all. I remember Ankara from when I was growing up, my mother and her friends would wear it as wrappers, so I wanted to modernize it so that someone younger than me would wear it differently”. She says
Lisa Folawiyo, a trained lawyer launched her company, Jewel By Lisa-JBL- in 2005. The brand has grown with a strong clientele developing a cult following, the biggest of which came courtesy of E! News correspondent, Catt Sandler, who wore her designs 3 times on air. The JBL brand has also penetrated Hollywood, as her designs are being worn by Solange Knowles and Kendell Jenner. Her designs are cut across different categories and age groups, from older women to young stylish girls. She uses the highest quality Ankara from the Vlisco-hollandais brand and each JBL garment is handcrafted, individual and unique. Her attention to detail, plus the combination of beads, crystals and other accessories have earned her an enviable position in the fashion world.
The JBL brand won the African fashion international designer of the year in 2011. She was also featured as onobello.com’s fashionista for the month of February 2012. Her designs have been featured in several publications such as Arise magazine, True Love, Style.com and Genevieve and have graced runways in London, New York, Lagos and Johannesburg.
Lisa recently launched her diffusion line, ‘The J Label’, which provides her designs at cheaper rates for low income earners. She also plans to release a coffee table book.