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Adut Akech – autumn 2019
Leather blazer Nina Ricci, Bloody Mouth baby t-shirt Mowalola, leather chaps Angharad Merrey for Savannah, tie-dye leather briefs Area, felt hat and boot buckles Jessie Western, pearl earrings Chanel, boots Bottega Veneta

This IG is dedicated to people wearing Mowalola and Mowalola only

Nigeria-raised, US-based student Daniel Obaweya celebrates the unique ways people style the rising Fashion East designer's clothes

Back in June 2017, Nigerian designer and Central Saint Martins graduate Mowalola Ogunlesi presented her BA graduate collection. Entitled Psychedelic, the Nigerian rock-inspired collection was a celebration of black, African masculinity and sexuality, and put Ogunlesi on our radar of upcoming designers. Two years on, her unique and sensual vision has allowed her to show two collections during London Fashion Week Mens – courtesy of non-profit organisation Fashion East.

Since her debut, Ogunlesi has found fans in both famous musicians including Megan Thee Stallion, Coucou Chloe, and Solange, and fashion lovers across the world. 21-year-old art history student, freelance fashion researcher, stylist and creative consultant Daniel Obaweya became a fan of her work when he was growing up in Lagos. “She was always someone I heard good things about and when I stumbled on her Tumblr I was hooked, I've been a fan ever since,” he explains.

Having previously used Instagram to chronicle his favourite fashion moments via research account @nigeriangothic, Obaweya decided to start another account at the start of July, under the handle @peoplewearingmowalola. “I created the account as a summer project because I kept hearing people around me say they love her vision but they didn't know how to wear her clothes so I wanted to show everyone that it's easy to wear them,” Obaweya says. The account features the likes of model Paloma ElsesserRico Nasty, and Adut Akech, as seen on the cover of our latest issue. 

Channelling his love for punk music, Obaweya used his knowledge of the history of the subculture to help Mowalola complete research for her SS20 collection. The designer channelled what she called the “horrific feeling of love” – along with elements of Obweya's findings – into Coming For Blood. The show itself was opened by a model wearing a two-piece black metallic leather suit and red roll-neck sweater, which Obaweya describes as his favourite Mowalola look so far – and one he ‘would rock’. Printed photographs by Lea Colombo, as well as bullet shot wound motifs, also appeared throughout Ogunlesi’s new-season designs.

Last Easter, Mowalola joined fellow Nigerian creatives including Grace Ladoja at a BBK Homecoming pop-up, where Obaweya finally got his hands on a Mowalola tote bag. “My goal that day was to leave with a Mowalola piece and it's honestly one of the favourite bags I own,” he said. “I've had it for over a year and it has served me well.” 

“I think people want to wear Mowalola's designs because the authenticity just jumps out,” Obaweya explains, discussing what attracts people to Mowalola’s looks. “You can tell that a lot of thought goes into her collections and with each collection we've seen so far – it's like she's showing us a glimpse into her mind and we like that. it also helps that the clothes are extremely sexy.”