Inside Dr. Liza Egbogah’s Closet Full of Pieces by Nigerian Designers

Photography by Vai Yu Law.

His collection of brightly printed and ornate pieces allows him to stay connected to his roots.

Dr. Lisa Eboga, a manual osteopath from Toronto, fell in love with Nigerian dressing before she started wearing it herself. “I loved looking at old photos of my mom because everyone was wearing a traditional wax print dress,” she remembers. “I would ask my mother how I could get those types of pieces and she would say, ‘I never thought you would be interested in Nigerian clothes.”

This may be due to part of the international upbringing of Eboga; She was born in Calgary and lived in both Libya and Malaysia while growing up. But she recalls that while visiting her ancestral home – her parents were born in the same Nigerian village – she had an idea of ​​what women were wearing in the markets.

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
Aboga wears a topper and shorts from a Toronto brand that founded Precious Threads by Abiola, founded by Abiola Akinsiku, a domestic abuse survivor.

It was while she was in Malaysia that she fell in love with batik – centuries-old print work is usually done with wax which also appears in the traditional dress of African countries. Attending an international school where uniforms were compulsory, Iboga nurtured his interest in Batik’s creative ability during art classes, eventually creating “a small collection of T-shirts and screws”.

As a teenager, she moved to Calgary and found herself “wanting to stay fit”; His style during that time consisted mostly of hoodies and early adopters of athletic beauty, such as the Triple Five Soul and Baby Phat pieces.

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
Failing the Biafran War meant that Iboga’s family lost many of their personal belongings. Desire to be attached to [her] Roots “is one reason he is drawn to the work of local artisans and designers.

At the age of 20, when her parents returned to live in their home country, her headache changed and when she started visiting Canada, her mother started showing Vibrant Printed Nigerians in her home. “For me there was a turning point,” says Iboga. He began traveling to Nigeria, and a keen interest arose in the culture and style of the region.

Whether they are items given to her by her mother or items acquired by Igogah for special events, the spectrum of craft techniques — improved patterns, textures and embellishments abound in Nigerian fashion — is now stored in a specific packet location in her home is .

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
Eboga fell in love with the Nigerian style through old photographs, taken before the family were eventually forced to abandon traditional methods of dressing during British colonial rule.

“I can’t say I have a favorite – I have the favorite, “She says with laughter while mentally cycling through purchased goods, including purchases
From designers like Amy Cassbit and JZO. The front-runners include pink-wreathed floral pieces designed for her wedding celebration and an elaborately detailed top, skirt and matching headpiece for her father’s funeral.

Privatization is the cornerstone of the Nigerian style; Everyone who attends any social event is expected to dress up, which has never been worn before. “You only want to wear them once” “Later, you give it to someone else to wear or it is given to a teller who is remodeled to wear more days.” Letting go of such important textile-level wardrobe items in Egbogah, which is another reason she cultivates a personal collection. When she now travels to Nigeria, one of her favorite things to source are hand painted clothes. “They would start with plain cotton cloth and then hand-paint each one,” she explains of these artisan wares. “I think wearable art.” Instead of focusing on buying paintings to hang, I am interested in wearing paintings. “

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
The Lucky beadwork of a custom-made top and headpiece that Iboga wore at her father’s funeral pays tribute to her sophisticated taste. “She never wore jeans in her life,” she recalls.

In fact, Eboga is so keen on preserving the creativity of Nigerian manufacturers and designers that last year he attended Lagos Fashion Week (for just three days – all this would allow for his busy schedule). It was her first time at the event, and she returned to Toronto, ready to start investing in the pieces she saw. “It opens my eyes to so many contemporary Nigerian designers, and now I try to collect and support their pieces,” she says. This effort, however, has not been easy. Before she discovered Western-based African-centric e-commerce sites such as Ditto Africa, she was not able to buy pieces from Nigeria due to monetary restrictions by the Canadian government.

Thankfully, Eboga has been able to saturate her passion for Nigerian style from within Canada and become close friends and collaborators with precious threads by Abiola designer Abiola Akinsiku. The important story behind Akinsiku’s Dynamic Printed Collection and his brand resonates with Eboga, which owns more than a dozen precious threads by Abiola pieces. “She is a survivor of domestic violence,” she tells of Akinsiku, “and goes to help other women who have been victimized by the sale, get the violence.”

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
Eboga hopes to one day give her collection to her five-year-old niece, whom she describes as a runaway fashion designer.

When she tells of a relationship with Akinsiku – who helped Eboga’s orthopedic footwear brand Dr. Created a three-piece capsule collection with shoe embellishments for Lisa, she highlights a bent that is widespread, but rarely talked about in openly creative businesses. . “I don’t know if it’s because of the work that I do with healing people, but for some reason I’m always ready for pain,” says Egahah. “I know that so much beauty comes out of other people’s pain.”

She also feels that she has a relationship with the talent she crosses with the TIFF circuit, where she has an annual charity event in addition to a studio set up to provide medical attention to the stars. Egbogah says she is genuinely interested in the “joy and beauty” that comes from the trauma and sorrow that many creators grapple with.

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
Eboga is so elated with eye-catching prints from Nigeria that it has also developed iterations to use in its shoe line, including the Ankara print seen here. “I see fashion as art,” she says. “I am investing in things that are beautiful and support creativity.”

In the same way that she tries to cope with the misery to do something good through her business, Egbogah focuses on how she can grow Nigerian creative through growing her collection And of course, wear it. She says, “It is my pleasure and I feel a sense of purpose to bring Nigeria to a positive light.” “One of the reasons I am active in promoting Nigerian fashion is because the country receives so much negative publicity. But when you see beautiful fashion and music and art – things that move people… If you love all the amazing local arts, you cannot create a negative perception of Nigeria. And it is a pleasure to celebrate the legacy. This is my blood; They are my people. They are doing a fantastic job, and I want to share it with everyone. “

Lisa agbog nigrian designer
A dress by Aqvite fabric by Amy Cassbit on Choli is Eboga’s favorite. The cloth is native to the eastern region of the country where her family is from and reminds her of the grandmother’s old apron.

Photography, YU Law; Hair & Makeup, Esther Kezelhof.

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