Bunmi Olaye is a Nigerian born fashion designer living in the United Kingdom. Her designs caught my attention one day as I was doing my daily runway searches. Being Nigerian myself, I was immediately enraptured by the ‘Ekpo’ that opened her Spring/Summer 2011 show above, but the impeccable clothing and styling that followed are what made me want to share her fashion story with you.
Bunmi Koko was founded in March of 2009 with zeal for innovation in art and fashion. Each piece is handmade with pristine detailing and clean lines. Named Emerging Designer of the Year-International at Africa Fashion Week in 2010, Bunmi Koko proceeds to be a successful multi-faceted luxury lifestyle company with specialties in women’s fashion and a sister company in artistic illustration. The name, meaning “God gave me my other half”, was inspired by the designer’s first name ‘Bunmi’ (meaning ‘God gave me’ in Yoruba) and the affectionate nickname given by her partner, Francis Udom; “Koko” (meaning ‘my other half’ in Efik), another Nigerian dialect. The distinctive designs of Bunmi Koko are influenced by the Nigerian and Scottish heritage of the two co-creators (Udom’s ancestors are from Scotland).
Included in the company’s repertoire is women’s ready-to-wear, couture, bridal & evening wear; with a growing portfolio of products ranging from menswear, kidswear, lingerie, accessories, eyewear, swimwear and footwear and beauty products. The illustration side of the business continues to grow as well creating hand drawn gift cards, book covers, CD covers, movie posters, editorials, advertising, and special projects. Most recently, the designer was asked to offer expert commentary on the royal wedding dress in conjunction with the launch of her new mini-capsule Bridal couture collection. Watch it now below!
Of the many accolades Bunmi Koko has acquired, one in particular stands out for the pair. In July 2010 Bunmi Olaye and Francis Udom received a personal invitation from Nelson Mandela to come to his private home and receive his blessings. “Just talking to him was an awesome and very humbling experience,” Olaye says.
In just a short time, Bunmi Koko has garnered international press and remains a leading force in African couture fashion. To learn more about Bunmi Koko be sure to visit the website www.bunmikoko.com, shop the bridal and couture collections online, become a fan on Facebook, and follow on Twitter @BunmiKoko.
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