Style, Glamour, Confidence, “Being You” – anyone with a taste for fashion and fashion related culture knows the gravity of these phrases. An IT graduate who took these phrases one step further with his line of bespoke suits, wedding lines, and many more is Mai Atafo. Combining his love for fashion looking good with strategic branding and marketing, Atafo made his mark on the global fashion industry from within his Nigerian workspace. His impact on modern fashion and inter-cultural clothing can be seen all over.
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Atafo had an interesting career before he devoted his creativity to fashion. After his Master’s from the UK, he worked in the marketing department of British American Tobacco, Nigeria. Afterward, he joined Guinness Nigeria where he worked as a Brand Manager until 2010. During this time, he started working with fashion as a side gig.
When in 2010, he decided to make his mark on the fashion industry. He quit his job and worked as a fashion editor for Genevieve magazine. It is very clear that Atafo’s journey to the top was not a straight one. While working for Genevieve, he also worked on his own brand. The experiences from all his jobs armed him with the strategic knowledge and ideas he needed to raise his own brand.
The Brand Atafo
In the beginning, the brand Atafo (formerly known as Mai Atafo) kicked off by making mostly aso-oke coats though they accepted all kinds of work. Then it gradually rose to be one of the most influential brands in Nigeria.
Atafo’s prized sections are its bespoke suit lines and wedding lines. Their designs have been used in Adesua Etomi and Banky Wellington’s wedding in 2017. Mai Atafo also designed for Nigeria’s highest grossing film “The Wedding Party ” in 2016. The attention to detail and the care that goes into each stitching are a remarkable feat on its own. They also successfully designed a traditional African attire, the strip kaftan. The website has an organized catalog of all their lines.
Fashion in the Eyes of Mai Atafo
According to Mai, you don’t need any special skills to be a fashion designer; you don’t need any education or permission. What you need is a firm knowledge about how the business is run. According to him, talent and skills are the prerequisites, but the “fashion” aspect is only about 20% of the work. There is a lot more to it that makes the business what it is.
Mai Atafo is a fashion mogul in the Nigerian fashion industry. Though he aims to go global, he is deeply rooted in the Nigerian heritage and aims to highlight Nigerian fashion and culture through his creativity.