Over the last three years Olayinka Fashola’s Moofa has struggled with the stereotype of being termed an ankara brand. The term, used derogatorily, refers to labels that seek to reinvent the wheel and gain acclaim with one of the thousand variations of jackets, shirts and accessories churned out by boutique brands. Moofa as a brand isn’t averse to working with Ankara and has partnered with wax giants Vlisco in the past, but it seemed a disservice to dismiss the brand’s eight year history and its superb beading and embroidery work.
When it was announced that Moofa was on the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2015 showcase schedule, there was a lot of skepticism that Fashola would deliver, but there was also anticipation that she would surprise. She surprised everyone by delivering her strongest work yet.
Labalaba the Yoruba word for butterfly was the tentative name for her collection, and Fashola was very literal with how she drew inspiration from the Monarch butterfly. Divesting herself of her usual design quirks, Fashola leans into the idea, emblazoning, cotton, chiffon, crepe, art silk and lace with butterfly motifs.
The Moofa woman this season is an earthy bohemian, complete with flower crowns and no fear of vibrant fabric choices. Her color palette of browns and greens and oranges are earthy, the right background on which she plants 3D applique butterflies. She tackles all the season’s trends; wide leg pants, crop blouses, cut-outs, layered dresses with ease, putting her spin on them. It is a gamble to do so much, but Fashola is able to manage her rations just enough that the collection remains unfussy. There are few pieces that won’t translate off the runway but there is nothing that won’t fit right at home in any woman’s closet.
If there is anything this Moofa collection emphasizes, it is the importance of styling. There is an anecdotal rumor that Moofa’s closing piece, a layered hi-lo tube chiffon dress appliqued with 3D butterflies was originally imagined as a dress. What a terrible miss that would have been.