African designer finds his niche in the Middle East

09 November 2017 - 10:26 By Christa Dee
A look from Wekafore's 'Thank you Florence'.
A look from Wekafore's 'Thank you Florence'.
Image: Instagram/wekafore

Nigerian designer Wekafore Maniu Jibril was born into an appreciation of craftsmanship. With her father an architect, a mother who is a textile manufacturer and a grandfather who was a tailor in Ogori village, it's not surprising he made fashion a permanent part of his life.

He moved to the UAE with his family when their home was destroyed by a fire.

Facing racial discrimination and familial financial difficulties, he never lost the memories he had of learning basic stitching from his father and spending time helping his mother in her workshop.

A ''By Wekafore" imprint was launched in 2013 with a capsule collection titled ''Welcome to Black", produced in Dubai.

The brand pays homage to his grandfather's work.

His grandfather died in the village of his birth without being able to witness the work of his creative grandson.

Working with a team of creatives from Kiev in the Ukraine who took an interest in the story behind the brand, Maniu Jibril has managed to build his product.

Wekafore designs branch out from the roots of Maniu Jibril's nostalgia and the inspiration he has found in the work of black writers. He's also inspired by African photographers such as Mali's Malick Sidibe, whose black and white images documented popular culture in Bamako in the 1960s and 1970s.

With the aim of highlighting a different side of black culture, the brand draws on 1970s street fashion and combines it with neat tailoring methods.

This can be seen in the Fall/Winter 2017 lookbook titled Thank You Florence.

Wide-leg pants, velvet dresses and leather shorts feature alongside T-shirts with prints inspired by Nigerian TV.

Also look out for his signature combination of sweatpants and a metallic skirt.

Check out to see the full lookbook.

This article was originally published in The Times.