Mowalola Ogunlesi Biography
Mowalola Ogunlesi is a Nigerian-British fashion designer and singer who shot to fame with her debut menswear collection, Psychedelic immediately it was introduced for the first time on the runway. She is also known for using a variety of textiles, including leather and PVC, to create non-traditional silhouettes inspired by London youth culture.
The Nigerian Fashion designer and enthusiast who is fondly known as Mowa has worked with top celebrities like Naomi Campbell and Skepta. Due to her high taste and excellent designs in the fashion world, she was also named by Elle as one of “10 Trailblazing Women Changing The Future You Need To Know”.
This Naija born fashion faithful that was trained abroad did not just find herself in the fashion design world overnight, it has been a profession that seems to be a family trend and business as both parents of hers were also career fashion designers.
|Real Name:||Mowalola Ogunlesi|
|Date of Birth:||March 25, 1995|
|Place of Birth:||Lagos State, Nigeria|
|Nationality:||Nigerian – British|
|Net Worth||$1 million – $5 million|
Early Life and Education
Mowalola Ogunlesi was born in Lagos state, Nigeria on March 25, 1995, to Nigerian fashion designers. Her father is the co-founder of Sofisticat, a men’s fashion label, and her mother, Adenike Ogunlesi who also owned a fashion outfit, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble that specializes in women’s clothing. Her Scottish grandmother moved to Nigeria in the 1960s after marrying Ogunlesi’s grandfather.
Mowalola at the age of 12 was made to move from Nigeria abroad to attend an all-girls Catholic boarding school in Surrey, England for her basic education after her elementary education in her home country, Nigeria.
After her elementary and high school education, she enrolled and graduated from Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts London with a Bachelor of Arts in Fashion. For a boost to her passion and aspiring ambition to to tow in the fashion line that runs through her lineage, she also enrolled in Central Saint Martins’ Master of Arts program, but dropped out in 2018.
Mowalola dropped out of Central Saint Martins (CSM) in 2018, one year into her MA reasons being that CSM was too dated for her, and there was a lack of variety, particularly in people of color as tutors. Mowalola also stated that she felt the need to surround herself with people who truly understood her and were on her wavelength. As a result, her decision to drop out and apply to Fashion East aided her in every way.
“In her own words,” she says “Quite hands-on. I’m with these people for whom I don’t even pay and who do so much for me. There would most likely be no new designers if Fashion East did not exist.”
Ogunlesi grew up surrounded by fashion because both of her parents are fashion designers and this gave her that drive and in-depth knowledge of what the fashion design world was like.
She applied to Fashion East, a non-profit organization that assists young designers by providing them with a platform to showcase their brands at London Fashion Week.
In January 2019, she made her London Fashion Week debut through Fashion East, showing women’s wear for the first time in the celebrated event in London.
She has drawn the attention of music artists such as Kanye West, Drake, Steve Lacy, and Solange Knowles with her unique designs and have all rocked her designs.
She designed the outfits for Skepta’s music video “Pure Water.” She was one of six designers approached by British Vogue to style Barbie dolls for the 60th anniversary of the brand.
On June 26, 2020, a 10-year Yeezy Gap partnership with Mowalola was announced.
In October 2020, Mowalola was being named by Elle as one of the “10 Trailblazing Women Changing the Future You Need to Know.” Koffee, Ngozi Onwurah, Simi Lindgren, Balanda Atis, Tobi Kyeremateng, Holly Fischer, Magdalene Abraha, Celeste, and Margaret Busby were also top fashion designers that made up the list.
After a three-year hiatus Mowalola is back, presenting Burglarwear at Paris Men’s Fashion Week held on June 29, 2022, with a criminal-inspired collection full of striking symbolic looks and undeniable sex appeal. London-based designer Mowalola Ogunlesi was candid about the collection’s motif, the unification of all types of criminals from robbers to white-collar bankers.
Mowa and New Balance Sneaker Collaboration
Mowa has gone into sneaker collaboration with footwear brand, New Balance. With a total of two brand new sneaker designs, the partnership re-imagines New Balance’s 90/60 silhouette from the early aught and it’s certainly expected to sell out quickly.
The New Balance x Mowalola 90/60 sneaker will be available in two colorways, including purple with yellow accents and teal with pink accents, while both shoes use black as the base color in the mesh underlays, the tongue, and shoelaces. Prices for the collaboration have yet to be revealed.
Apart from fashion designing, Mowalola has also carved a niche for herself in the world of music as she is also a singer who released two singles in 2021 titled, “Truck” and “Wawa.” Mowa was also featured on Namasenda’s single titled “Banana Clip”