Quick Chat With The Most Stylish First Lady In Nigeria.

Hey there! So, I can’t pinpoint the exact moment I first stumbled upon Ambassador and Prof Olufolake Abdulrazaq, but every time I came across her posts, I couldn’t help but notice her as one of the most stylish figures in Nigeria, especially when it comes to rocking those Nigerian brands. Naturally, it just felt right to hit her up for a quick chat about the Nigerian fashion scene.

I honestly thought she might hit me with a polite “no,” but surprise, surprise – she was not only open to it but genuinely curious to learn more about the folks behind Minslayers. We set up a virtual call, and during our chat, I got the lowdown on her journey with Nigerian brands and why she’s all about sticking to the core brands rather than jumping on every bandwagon.

Scroll down for the details from our quick convo and let me know what you think!

Share a memorable experience in Nigerian brands:

While serving as a Nigerian diplomat, wearing Nigerian outfits during international engagements was truly memorable. Highlights include Queen Elizabeth II complimenting my outfit during her 90th Birthday celebration while on the stairs of Buckingham Palace, and King Charles appreciating my splendid Nigerian attire. I also recall moments in South Africa, many admired our outfits, and people from Southern and East Africa expressed interest in buying Nigerian clothing, creating lasting connections and shared moments during my diplomatic service.

Outfits by Adebakare

Would you say wearing Nigerian brands has had any effect on your personal style?

My experience in diplomacy, serving as an ambassador in various countries, kept me predominantly in Western corporate wear. However, discovering well-made Nigerian outfits made me embrace them. Recognizing the role of cultural diplomacy, I now choose Nigerian and African-inspired dresses as my daily wear. The attention and inquiries they attract abroad have influenced my personal style. I prefer loose-fitting, oversized clothes for their dramatic and opulent feel, reflecting both cultural pride and my royal titles. Wearing Nigerian-inspired ready-to-wear outfits allows me to showcase our culture and honor my titles, shaping my distinctive style.

Quite a number of brands have been trying to  get their outfits worn by people out of the country.  What do you think brands need to do?

To enhance the global presence of Nigerian brands for export and cultural diplomacy, brands should prioritize consistency and reliability in timely delivery. Visibility is crucial, achieved through participation in international fashion shows or online platforms. Emphasizing diverse sizes in video promotions is key. Collaborating with influential figures as brand ambassadors through partnerships can attract target audiences. Establishing a robust online presence, a customer-friendly website, and a favorable return policy are essential. Exploring opportunities for stocking in concession stores abroad like Selfridges, whether periodically or seasonally, further extends reach and accessibility.

  We have spotted you so many times in a number of Nigerian designers that have become your core designers, are you open to trying new brands?

I consider myself adventurous when it comes to trying new brands, although I have core designers I rely on for their understanding of my phobias and preferences and quick support especially for urgent scenarios.While experimenting with new designers can be hit or miss, I appreciate the excitement of discovering fresh styles and supporting diverse talents,but my go-to designers are always on standby and always deliver.

This is going to be a difficult question because of your core brands but  if you have to wear a Nigerian brand for the rest of your life, what brand would you choose and why ?

Hahaha. I can’t!! It’s a tough choice due to my dedicated team of designers, and I wouldn’t want to favor one over the others. However, in terms of collaboration, I already have some input into my outfits, suggesting details like buttons or shapes. If given the opportunity, I’d love to collaborate on a collection where I can contribute my ideas and work with any of my trusted designers, enhancing the synergy we already have.

What would you say to anyone skeptical about buying and wearing a nigerian brands?

I’d tell skeptics that wearing Nigerian brands is not just a fashion choice but an act of patriotism. It’s essential for boosting our economy and supporting local artisans. Embracing Nigerian designs in your wardrobe contributes to the development of our emerging country. Nigerian brands have improved on their products style, buttons, zippers etc. we have good products, breathable and sustainable fabrics as most of our  brands can now stand with foreign counterparts.

It’s a meaningful way to be true to our roots and ensure a thriving industry. While imported items may seem cheaper, the long-term impact on our economy and local talent is crucial to consider. Everyone should have Nigerian brands in their closet!!

What role do you think fashion plays in the economy?

Fashion plays a vital role in our economy, with Nigerian brands showcasing improvements in style, buttons, and sustainable fabrics. These advancements not only make our products competitive on the global stage but also contribute to environmental sustainability. By supporting Nigerian brands, we boost economic growth, encourage industrial development, and foster sustainable businesses. Unlike fast fashion, which harms the climate, our brands prioritize eco-friendly practices, from dyeing processes to waste reduction, aligning with global efforts to protect the planet.

Any final words for our audience or this platform:

I want to express my admiration for the youth and their potential to shape the future. It’s essential for them to embrace responsibility, start businesses, and explore the creative space. Encouraging the youth to engage in creative endeavors not only makes them self-employed but also contributors to society. The Nigerian creative space, particularly in fashion, is thriving, and I encourage everyone to support Nigerian brands

Outfit by Fadora Limited.

And to Minslayers, It’s been a pleasure meeting you, and I hope this won’t be our last interaction. Keep supporting and attending premieres of the fashion designers you promote on your page. Your commitment to this platform is commendable, and I encourage you to deepen your engagement with designers by attending their shows and more. Well done on your dedication—it truly deserves commendation.