BNYFW: Nigerian Label Maki Oh Made This Fashion Week #BlackGirlMagical

Designer Maki Oh (center) poses with models backstage at the Maki Oh fashion show during New York Fashion Week. (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
Designer Maki Oh (center) poses with models backstage at the Maki Oh fashion show during New York Fashion Week. (Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)

We really didn’t think last week could get any better—or blacker—as we prepared ourselves for the hype-worthy phenomenon that is Black Panther while also stalking New York Fashion Week 2018 to see what—and who—our best and brightest were sending down the runways in their Fall/Winter collections. So imagine our surprise that one of the most melanin-rich presentations of the season almost escaped our notice: Maki Oh, by Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe.


Based in Lagos, Osakwe has been at the helm of her own label since 2010, and since that time she has become one of the few Nigerian designers to have a global reach. Her designs have been worn by Beyoncé, Kerry Washington and our forever first lady, Michelle Obama.

This season, Osakwe sent her models down the runway in a range of muted hues and quirky but sophisticated silhouettes and pattern combinations that seemed to evoke a type of nomadic chic. These immensely wearable clothes are for a woman who is not only worldly but also winsome, featuring wonderfully cut trousers, satiny sliplike pieces under suiting fabrics, and lamé coats that I’m literally swooning over. (Seriously. Gimme.)


But what was perhaps most beautiful about Maki Oh’s presentation was that her models were all women of color, in all shades of color, seeming to represent the entirety of the African Diaspora itself—with their natural hair textures, no less!

It was a refreshing, almost matter-of-fact occurrence, and consistent with Osakwe’s castings over her last few seasons. But during a week when black representation has long been a struggle, it felt like a definite boost for the home team. Like her contemporaries Pyer Moss and LaQuan Smith, Osakwe did not shy away from making sure the world knows that we, too, are fashion.

Enjoy some #BlackGirlMagic at Maki Oh.

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up, co-host of The Root Presents: It's Lit! podcast, and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door...May I borrow some sugar?

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Rooo sez BISH PLZ

So much to love here. Technique in tailoring, matching of outfits to compliment models’ undertones (!!!) … somebody’s going to have to teach me how to mix prints like that because I’m not sure I’ve seen the like before (to mix them in one garment, like in that double-breasted plaid jacket with the one print sleeve – that’s just showing off, lol). I need to know if the decoration at the sleeve in panel 31 is an embellishment or a piece of jewelry. Also, that metallic trench is to die.

ALSO THE MAKEUP AND HAIR. Miss Model with the modified Angela Davis power ‘fro needs to share how long it takes her to get that do did in the AM, because that is bleeding edge super-fierce.

(I really need that metallic trench. How many mortgage payments is that, sigh)