Nigerian designer Mowalola picked to dress barbie for 60th anniversary
What little girl wasn’t obsessed with Barbie’s growing up?! Now, imagine the chance to dress a barbie for their 60th anniversary. Well, that dream is coming true for Nigerian designer Mowalola Ogunlesi.
Mowalola Ogunlesi is the creative director of the eponymous label. Having attended Central Saint Martin , she debuted her graduate collection titled ‘Psychedelic’ at the Central Saint Martins Press Show in May 2017 to critical acclaim. She then dropped out of CSM to focus on building her brand. Speaking to i-D magazine, she said, “I’m just figuring out how to do everything. They don’t really teach you that at CSM. I guess they’re working more on your mind than on building your business skills.” Her fashion-forward collection was heavily inspired by Nigerian psychedelic rock and petrol-head culture.
Mowalola claims her work is ‘celebration of the black African male: his culture, sexuality, and desires’ and is determined to change of the narrative of what it means to be Nigerian in the global context. In an interview with Vogue, she said, “Growing up, the only thing people knew about Nigeria was internet scams. But I’m interested in exploring more about my culture, my history. Nobody ever talks about it – and I want to open up new conversations, connect to people, change their ways of thinking.”
Mowalola’s aesthetic is highly sexually charged with eroticism being a constant theme through her collection. Her approach to the idea of Nigerian masculinity is one of intense liberation with Mowalola explaining that being exposed; both physically and emotionally, allowing oneself to be vulnerable, is the only way to find strength.
Mowalola was given the honour of dressing Barbie in her signature style. For Barbie’s latest look, she wore a neon green tie-dye co-ord, which is a part of Mowa’s S/S20 collection.
Speaking about her designs and her Barbie to Vogue, Mowalola said:
“Mine is a world where everyone is free in terms of what they wear, in terms of how they think, and my women aren’t threatened by anyone – they are taking back their power. She is a Mowalola superhero – strong, captivating and ready to have a really good time. I want to be wherever she’s going.” ���)}��K