Entering Bubu Ogisi’s showroom is a sensory assault of the most beguiling kind. “I always like the exchange of energies. This space is a result of me wanting somewhere people can see and experience my mind and understand me,” she says. The founder of Lagos-based womenswear brand IAMISIGO, Ogisi’s oeuvre interrogates notions of self, belonging, history and culture via the lens of clothing and accessories. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that she wanted to create a fitting repository for her ideas.
The light airy studio leads to an annex that is divided into three red, green and blue chambers. “My son, who was four at the time, and I designed it together. I was going to make it an extension of the showroom, but he was like ‘no Mummy! Red, blue, and green!’ I later realized that these three shades combine to create the color of light. I thought that was really cool.” The anecdote acts as an insight into Ogisi’s practice which has collaboration at its heart: all of her partners play pivotal and equal roles in both preserving and modernizing craft, culture, and clothing.
Ogisi, like many designers before her, saw a gap for her creative universe. “What prompted me to start my own fashion house? I was really hungry for something super exciting. I guess if you want something you have to do it yourself.” A graduate of the Ecole Superieure des Art et technique de la Mode (ESMOD) in Paris, mastering the fashion toolkit from a western orthodox perspective was one small part of her development as a designer. “I wanted to highlight the different ways you can work with textiles, and also change people’s ideas of how the typical African should be dressing,” she explains.