Deola Sagoe is a renowned couture fashion designer and entrepreneur from Ondo State, Nigeria. She is from a prominent family of Nigerian entrepreneurs and owners of the Elizade Group. She studied Business Administration at the University of Miami and returned to Nigeria to get a Masters Degree in Finance and Management from the University of Lagos.
Deola’s creativity came from her mother who had been running a small tailoring house called Odua Creations which was known for producing meticulously embroidered traditional Nigerian menswear. In 1989, she joined her mother with a view of expanding the label’s repertoire to encompass more contemporary designs for the ever-developing, cosmopolitan Nigerian society. The following year, Deola began designing under her name.
She uses African hand-woven materials to bring to life a range of distinct cultures; contemporizing almost-lost traditional African techniques. Deola gained popularity in when she won the MNET Anglo Gold African Design award. She had been nominated by the legendary US Vogue Editor, Andre Leon Talley as one of four designers from Africa to show their work at the New York Fashion Week in 2000. She later went on to be the first Nigerian to have her own stand alone show at the New York Fashion Week in September 2014.
Deola became the first black woman to present a collection at AltaRoma, Rome’s celebrated fashion week back in 2004. Her globally appealing style has earned her an enviable clientele that ranges from Africa’s first ladies, to society ladies like Lydia Hearst, top model Alek Wek, and famous personalities such as Oprah Winfrey and Will Smith.
She was recently appointed to represent Nigeria in a new international campaign organized by the United Nations World Food Program. The campaign, titled “Catwalk the World: Fashion for Food.”, began in Nigeria in April 2006 and recently staged an event in Ghana which brought celebrities like Damon Dash, his wife, designer Rachel Roy, and Ghanaian-born, London-based designer Ozwald Boateng.
Deola’s innovations include “Komole”, which has proved to be an authentic answer to every African’s yearning for an original interpretation and crafting of lace. In 2011, the daughters of Deola Sagoe launched CLAN, ready to wear a fashion label under the House of Deola.
She had a cameo appearance in the 2014 film October 1 where she was portrayed as Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti.
Deola Sagoe was married to Kofi Sagoe though they are separated but she has three daughters, Teni, Aba and Tiwa.