Designer Biography: Duro Olowu

Nigerian veteran designer who has got a name so big that the first lady of America Michelle Obama wears him, Duro Olowu can take African patterns and colours and make a unique, classy, elegant and bold fashion statement with it.

The London based designer is dearing! An attribute which was evident in the effect which an old English rose floral, put together with leopard print instilled from his collection. The amazing thing is he manages to give it an urban touch so that Olowu’s designs are not confined to the African culture’s covens but interprets the designer’s origin with a look on the modern world.

As the designer rightly said:
“My job is not dictating to women what they should wear; it is presenting them with beautiful options.”-Duro Olowu, The Independent (London).

Born in Lagos Nigeria, to a Nigerian father and a Jamaican Mother, he was raised between Nigeria and England. Duro Olowu developed an enthusiasm for fashion, and became inspired by the mixture of colors, rich texture of clothing worn by the women around him. He followed in his father’s footsteps to become a lawyer but it was not too long before he gave it up to pursue his passion for fashion. London provided him the avenue to develop this passion being an environment which embraces culture, art and music.

In October 2004, he launched his first self-titled women’s wear label with a collection for Spring/Summer 2005. The collection was inspired by a theme of ‘love and joy.’ Olowu was named New Designer of the Year during the 2005 British Fashion Week in London, only one year after the launching of his label. A high-waisted patchwork boho dress known as the “Duro” put the brand on the fashion map, and became a cult item after being discovered by American Vogue editor Sally Singer and Julie Gilhart of Barneys.

His wonderful African inspired colour mixtures, yet urban creations have gained him clients like, Michelle Obama who has worn his designs on one too many instances to establish the designer’s credibility, Uma Thurman, Linda Evangelista amongst others.

Duro who is married to Thelma Golden, Chief Curator and Director of the Studio Museum in Harlem, was also awarded  the International Designer of the Year Award at the 2010 Africa Fashion Awards, In Johannesburg.

Share this


  1. I’m a young fashion designer base in Nigeria Abuja, I have always dreamed of working as a designer in London, sir if only you can give me a chance of working with you, I will not bother about the payment, I just want a privilege of working for you, If you want I can show you some of my designs. Sir I believe you would be of a great help and I’m telling you there will be no cause of regret, this is my number 08034063957 I’m blessing, thanks sir

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *