Abiola Onabule is a London-based fashion designer with a master’s degree in womenswear from Central Saint Martins. Her work draws inspiration from her Nigerian cultural heritage and through the stories and lives of women. Celebrating form through silhouette, abstracting, and cutting techniques, her collections incorporate fabrics steeped in the crafts and practices of Nigerian textile culture. She is interested in the process of making as an ‘act of care’ and manifestations of personal, cultural and gendered stories within clothing.
Most recently, for her residency at the Design Museum, Abiola has been researching the craft of adire, the indigo-dyed cloth typically made in southwestern Nigeria by Yoruba women, using a variety of resist-dyeing techniques. She has created a contemporary womenswear collection and collaborated on a new film that presents this craft as nurturing and sustainable, highlighting the importance of craft and artistry as acts of care, love and holistic support. The cloth is used as a storytelling device to weave together and preserve the rich culture, complex histories and voices that belong to Nigeria and its diaspora.
This work leads on from her previous collection, where she explored the use of Yoruba Aso Oke cloth, and new ways of using it, in modern contexts, alongside pattern cutting techniques designed to work in communication with the human form, creating clothes that mold and give way to the body, using the body to attain the garments’ final f