Maki Oh’s Autumn Winter 15/16 collection explores the idea of adopted identities as result of West Africa’s long history with cultural appropriation. It is an idea that has spun through all Maki Oh collections.
According to the collection brief, designer Amaka Osakwe says:
“As an advocate for all things truly African, Maki Oh uses true African textiles like Adire, Aso-oke, Akwa Ocha, Oja and more to continue to illustrate to the world (and Africans) that we have desirable, couture quality local textiles.
The idea of the African mermaid, Mami Wata is of particular interest, also the total adoption of foreign ideas inspires the silhouettes, prints and embellishments in the AW15/16 collection, which is packed with hidden meanings in the same vein as traditional Nigerian attire. A traditional Adire print ‘Omi’, (water) covers a dress with a fish-like fin, mirrored-fishes swim across dense cotton trousers, an iridescent fin swims down the sleeve of a silk blouse, a floral Guipure lace skirt which symbolizes her beauty, is backed with a mirrored glitter cotton canvas and a silk crepe dress is flanked by Ekpaku Ubok (an Ibibio arm band used during a traditional fertility dance).
The colour palette – white, blue green, marine blue, mirror silver, sand and black is found in both, the original and adopted imagery and myths.
Watch the Maki Oh Autumn Winter 15/16 Film