Sitting in the front row of Lagos Fashion Week, my attention is drawn to the screens displaying a prominent capital “M.” Curiosity arises: “Which designer could this be?” Instead of following the conventional path of using their full name as the logo submitted to the LFW organisers for their runway showcase, they opted for something different. “Interesting…”
I observe the models gliding down the runway in a captivating collection predominantly featuring shades of blue and red. The designs are inspired by adire and tie-dye techniques, and one cannot overlook the show-stealing fringe earrings. At that moment, the only words “M” meant were majestic, marvellous, magnificent, and magical.
The brand turned out to be The Ladymaker, a fashion house that, since its inception in 2016, has become synonymous with cultural influence, style, and timeless elegance. Calling her designs the embodiment of “sartorial sonnets,” The Ladymaker has an unmistakable flair for innovation, a commitment to honouring the past while looking towards the future, and creating foundational pieces inspired by heritage for the modern woman. This has set them apart in the highly competitive world of fashion.
The brand’s designs are not mere clothes but narratives—stories of women’s strength, resilience, and elegance that stand the test of time. Each piece celebrates the beauty of womanhood, is a tribute to past generations, and is an offering to the future.
Now, the journey from courtroom to couture may seem atypical, but for the founder and creative director of The Ladymaker, Ifeyinwa Azubike, it is a testament to a lifelong love of fashion and a passion for empowering women through style. Once a commercial lawyer, she swapped the confines of legal briefs for the boundless world of fashion design. The decision was not a flight of fancy but a calculated leap into a realm she had always been enamoured with. The tenacity and precision honed from a decade in law translated seamlessly into the meticulous crafting of her fashion house, shaping the core aesthetic of The Ladymaker: “understated yet powerful womanhood.” Her designs are a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity, drawing inspiration from everything and anything, making them instantly recognisable.
Her latest offering is no exception. Say hello to the “Ceramica” collection—a collection inspired by the intricate beauty of the art of ceramics.
“The Ceramica collection is an embodiment of an expression of a very personal perspective of strength and fragility and how these two themes can co-exist powerfully,” she says while speaking exclusively to THISDAY Style. On highlighting the extraordinary craftsmanship or techniques employed in the designs, she again reminds us of the heart of The Ladymaker, its craftsmanship, and its belief in time-honoured African traditions and techniques, which indeed is evident throughout the collection. “Ceramica is a testament to our commitment to a more sustainable practice fusing locally woven and hand-dyed fabrics produced in-house by our Pan-African artisans with a focus on traditional techniques,” she says.
One cannot discuss The Ladymaker without highlighting the brand’s commitment to supporting local artisans and preserving cultural heritage. Ifeyinwa Azubike’s passion for craftsmanship and attention to detail extends beyond the design process. She actively seeks out traditional artisans, collaborating with them to create intricate embellishments and textiles that pay homage to age-old techniques. This dedication to preserving cultural heritage not only ensures the highest quality in craftsmanship but also helps sustain local communities.
The Ladymaker’s rise to prominence has been meteoric, but it is the brand’s ability to stay true to its core values that has solidified its place in the fashion industry. As we look to the future, The Fashion House’s legacy shines brightly. She continues to inspire and empower women through her creations, encouraging them to embrace their individuality and celebrate their own unique style. With each piece, she redefines the boundaries of fashion, crafting a narrative that speaks to the strength, grace, and enduring beauty of women.