Deola Sagoe fuses African cultural style with a modern approach. (Image supplied)

The highly anticipated fashion gathering African Fashion International Johannesburg Fashion Week (#AFIJFW) starts tomorrow (4 October) at the Melrose Arch in Johannesburg. 

Bringing together local and international designers, the who-is-who in fashion and entertainment, photographers and models, the three-day affair will showcase the latest spring and summer trends. 

With the theme for the season being "AfroAsia" we expect the best in African fashion with a sprinkle of Asian flavour. 

Nigerian born designer Deola Sagoe is one of the invited international designers. Sagoe is well admired for her uniquely visionary approach to her craft. 

The startup story of this leading lady of the African haute couture fashion scene is one that could rival any Paris catwalk story. With top models, A-List celebrities and famous society personalities making up her clientele lists, Sagoe is an entrepreneurial success story of note. Putting the Nigerian fashion scene well and truly on the global map.

Deola’s pieces are essentially sculpted around the body of the wearer. (Image supplied)

With humble beginnings from MNET Face of Africa/Africa Designer in the years 1998 and 2000 respectively, Sagoe has left a global footprint across the various continents. She has since won the MNET Anglo Gold African Design Award and was nominated by the legendary US Vogue Editor, Andre Leon Tally as one of four African designers to show their work at New York Fashion Week 2000. In September 2014, as the first African designer, she continued to lead the way in showcasing her own stand-alone show at New York Fashion Week.

Her global appeal is derived from her fashion identity – a tapestry of cultural heritage, local, nearly lost techniques, revitalized and modernized, making them accessible to today’s woman. 

Deola's global appeal is derived from her fashion identity. (Picture: Supplied)

Bespoke Deola pieces are essentially sculpted around the body of the wearer, thus the designer’s cut and form genius become transformative on the wearer. Fashion-conscious women worldwide, spanning from Africa’s first ladies to renowned personalities including Naomi Campbell, Thandie Newton and Lydia Hearst have adorned Deola collections.

 "African designers need to celebrate their cultural roots and fashion history in order to become globally competitive," says Sagoe.

The woman entrepreneurship dynasty in the fashion business continues through Deola’s three daughters who in 2011 together with their mother founded their own label, CLAN. A crisp, original, dynamic brand producing meticulously designed occasionwear, which ranges from staple pieces that every woman should have in her wardrobe to trendy workwear and luxurious evening wear.

"I often fuse African cultural style with a modern approach to design. I love the dynamism of creating modernity out of something that is steeped in history. I think it’s what gives my collection such a cultural mix” says Segoe.

Deola and CLAN promise to open a designer runaway for attendees to experience their “Tropical Galactica” themed collection with a sweeping Tropical Rainforest from the heart of Africa; only this time, with a curiously striking infusion of the Outer-Space.

The Deola and CLAN shows are scheduled for 21h30 on Friday (5 October).

* Visit the AFI website,, for a full designer schedule.