Born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria, Bubu Ogisi is the creative name behind IAMISIGO. The label promotes an awareness of African culture combined with a core aesthetic of minimalism with a certain edge. The designer and stylist talked to ELLE about her work, travels, Lagos and more.
What has been your journey in becoming a designer and stylist?
I had an innate yearning for design, which was followed by a passion for styling – that gave me the freedom to exercise my vision in works besides my own. I enjoy making people look a certain way that is outside of the norm. I got into styling slowly: first, by working for free, but after I styled my first client, more work followed. Designing and styling are two different career paths yet they go hand in hand, and they both fuel my interest in the fashion industry.
How did IAMISIGO come about? What is the concept behind the brand?
I am heavily influenced by my mother, by music and by my surroundings. Growing up, I was always dressing up and trying to take after my mother, who paid keen attention to what she wore. I was drawn to the arts and architecture, but designing clothes simply came naturally to me because it is the most direct way to physically represent who I am. I devised the name of my label by turning my surname around and adding ‘Iam’ – I am. My surname means a lot to me but turning it backwards gives it a certain mystery identity, which is very personal. IAMISIGO dresses the woman who is simple at heart, but yearns for more.
Can you share a little bit about the your SS15 campaign Taboo?
Taboo is heavily inspired by the Wodaabe nomadic tribe and aspects of their culture that I found deeply magical. I wanted to create a collection that represented the secrecy, strength and sexual freedom of some the cultural practices that tied well with the values of IAMISIGO.
Tell us about your travels? What are some of the most inspiring places you have traveled to that have stayed on your mind?
I lived in Accra for five years and then I went to Paris for school. Living in Europe naturally opened up more doors to travel and encounter different cultures and people – places like Lille, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Scotland and Milan showed me just how interesting fashion and style can change within an hour’s flight. Paris was inspiring because the fashion industry there kept me motivated, it will always have a special place in my heart. Cotonou and Dubai have their own treasures, but Accra is my favourite destination by far with its peacefulness and calm. It was there that I developed a deeper understanding of African culture besides what I already knew in Nigeria.
Describe your style in five words.
I don’t think my style fits into a niche that I could describe accurately. It’s versatile and minimal.
Which do you prefer, Twitter or Instagram?
I definitely go with Instagram because it is so visual. Twitter is mainly about the words, but Instagram focuses on the visuals, which as a designer, I use as a creative outlet.
What beauty products can you not live without?
My YSL Rouge Volupté lipstick and shea butter.
Can you share with us a few things that everyone should really do while in your city, Lagos?
Lagos is hugely vibrant: there’s an endless list of activities for people from all backgrounds to get involved in. For a little music and dancing, I go to Afropolitan Vibes, which showcases different artists. Then there are open mic nights on Thursdays in Bogobiri and Cafe Neo, a quiet spot to get some work done, but in all places, you’re guaranteed to bump into some interesting characters.
Who are some of your favourite designers from the continent?
Cote d’Ivoire brand Loza Maléombho and South African label Oath: they’re both immensely creative and give people an insight of how far originality can take us.
What else is on your radar for 2015?
We have our A/W 2015 coming soon; we will also be showing at the International Fashion Showcase at London Fashion Week. We look forward to attending Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in March as well as Lagos Fashion Week. We might surprise some people this year by diversifying, but that’s all I can reveal now…
Find out more about IAMISIGO at iamisigoonline.com
Tweet at @iamISIGO
Instagram: @ iamisigo