In 2005, Lisa Folawiyo Creative Director of fashion label Jewel By Lisa (JBL) was introduced into the Nigerian fashion scene with her signature jewelled Ankara wax print designs.
Lisa Folawiyo, Creative Director – Jewel By Lisa
Lisa, a law graduate from the University of Nigeria has no formal training in fashion, however her passion for clothes and a natural sense of style led her to carving a niche for herself in the Nigerian fashion industry with signature pieces that are cut out of Ankara wax print and creatively embellished by excellent craftsmen to produce designs that can be characterised as fashionable, trendy and edge cutting. JBL has now come to be known not only in Nigeria but in Africa and other parts of the world. It’s no doubt that every single piece made is carefully thought through as it takes an average of 120 hours for each embellished piece from start to finish.
Recently, the label started producing its own fabrics ranging from Velvet, Crepe Silk, Satin, Chiffon, Shantung and Linen and also makes jewelled accessories such as belts, necklaces, and clutches as well as soft furnishings. JBL has now expanded to producing a diffusion line known as J Label. According to Lisa “J Label is a strong combination of urban cool, Afro-pop, and cutting edge beautifully crafted clothes. It is affordable luxury at its best”.
J Label aims to keep the main JBL’s qualities, which are excellent craftsmanship, attention to detail, comfort in feel and wear, and accessible prices. Lisa says the idea behind the diffusion line was not to create a cheaper version of JBL but a brand that can stand on its own. The catch here she affirms is to appeal to as many people as possible, “we wanted to create amazing luxurious pieces within the financial reach of many”.
For this new J Label collection Lisa has made use of fabrics such as Silk-Chiffon, Jersey, Cotton coupled with the label’s love for prints used as detailing.
Just like JBL line, J Label line is inspired by colour, print, pattern, lines and shapes all to bring about a fusion of African and Western fashion, which the typical JBL’s woman can relate to, according to Lisa, “the woman that wears my pieces can be best described as “International Chic”, “she is a stylish, confident, a city chic woman with a wardrobe filled with desirable eclectic pieces picked up from her travels; her youthful exuberance speaks effortless and unrehearsed style. She also understands fashion”. The label’s major goal is to cater to the Nigerian market, creating one-of-a kind luxury pieces while establishing itself as an international label.
Lisa’s designs have been featured on both national and international platforms. In 2008, JBL showcased its first international fashion show at the Thisday Africa Rising Festival in London and has since then showcased several other collections internationally on the same platform; The 2009 Johannesburg Fashion Week in South Africa, The Promise of Africa Collective at the Spring/Summer 2010 New York Fashion Week, The Paris Autumn/Winter 2010 Fashion Week in an exhibition tagged-Arise L’Afrique à Porter and The Lagos Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2011. JBL has also been selected with five other African designers to showcase collections at the Spring/Summer 2012 New York Fashion Week this coming September.
JBL have been featured in renowned publications around the world including Style.com, Women’s Wear Daily, Gotham, Glamour Magazine (South Africa), Essence, Arise, Ebony, Marie Claire (South Africa) and The New York Post.
A favourite of celebrities including Beyonce, Kelis, Eve, Solange Knowles, Tasha Smith and Sheryl Lee Ralph, JBL seeks to be the go–to label for prints. Also top fashion models including Freha Beja Erichsen, Liya Kebede, Alek Wek, and Oluchi have also been seen wearing JBL’s pieces.
Lisa explains to ONOBELLO.COM what her new J Label line is all about.
OB: Explain the main JBL's influence on J label?
LF: JBL’s main influence on The J Label, is obviously the use of Ankara as well as the beading techniques. There is a distinct style aesthetic between both brands; however we incorporate a bit of the genesis of JBL into the line.
OB: What experiences influenced J label?
LF: Designing The J Label was a collaborative effort. As a team, we asked ourselves what we, family members, clients, fans, university students, income earners, would like to wear and within what affordable price point. We wanted to design pieces that we felt were very accessible, wearable, fashion forward, for the right kind of girl. We are definitely inspired by cool street style and the easy mix of pieces to create a solid fashion point of view.
OB: How and why did you decide to start The J label? What places do you produce from?
LF: We’ve been planning The J Label for a while. We felt like it was something that was missing in the market; there was a gap for this sort of brand. I believe that our clients had desired this for a while. As a brand we felt the need to create a line that would cut across and would be completely accessible and affordable. We wanted to create another avenue for people to be a part of the Jewel by Lisa brand as a whole. In January, the team sat down and decided we were going to finally launch it this year. So we started the process. We produced the pieces within our various workshops in Lagos.
OB: How long was the process of making this line from drawing pad to the finished product now in stores?
LF: It has taken about 6 months. From coming up with themes, to brand aesthetics, to designing the logo and the garments, to sourcing fabrics and then actually producing the pieces. As a new brand, we were extra careful with each decision that was being made; very careful about what types of fabrics and embellishment were being used. We carefully examined our target market and prospective buyers.
OB: What kind of woman will wear this line?
LF: The J Label girl is a youthful, fashion conscious, every day girl, a true dictator of style, with an unbreakable loyalty to the Jewel by Lisa brand. Saying she’s young doesn’t mean we are excluding a slightly older crowd. She could be getting a monthly stipend from her parents, or she could be in University, or she may have a great job with a higher income bracket.
For more information, visit: www.jewelbylisa.com.ng
Address: No 13 Ribadu, Off Awolowo Road. Ikoyi
Tel: 234 (0) 1463 1707
Photographer: Moussa Moussa
Make up: Bimpe Ogunmakin
Styling: The JBL team