Saturday, July 23, 2011


by Bola Obileye
Iro and Buba is truly the ever faithful fashion identity of the Nigerian woman. It'll forever be relevant in Nigerian fashion just  as it has been from great grandmas generation to mama's and my time. Although younger/new age women tend towards western styles for their traditional fabrics these days leaving 'Iro and Buba' as we know it to the older women folk (except when the fabric is so expensive you don't want to 'waste' it on a 'skirt and blouse' style) Iro and Buba certainly has a firm place in our fashion.
I really like the freedom that wearing Iro and Buba gives but personally, I'm at that certain age gap where I refuse to look 'mumsy' in anything at all...(Yeah I want to look young forever..LOL!) and as the traditional Iro and Buba makes me look and feel old, I started playing with the idea of of tweaking  it to make it a bit funkier than it is in what is now my first public stab at design...

I drew a lot of inspiration from the revival of 'Oleku' (The short Iro/wrapper popular in mama's time and lately reintroduced on the runway by Ituen Basi a designer I absolutely love and respect) I think it just gives the whole ensemble a smarter look so I decided to keep that but instead I played with the 'Buba' to revamp the old with a breath of fresh air and I think I did good...

Ladies, Chicks, Gentlemen & Hunks...I give you my take on jazzing up the traditional Iro and Buba - 'Iro and Buba Reloaded with a bit of Uumph'  designed and styled by yours truly, Bola Obileye for TÓTÉ Collections.....

I really love this it's very avant garde and very mee..I played with a mix of similar patterned
Ankara.. Rose looked absolutely stunning wearing it...

The idea here was to create a Kaftan style 'Buba' with a fun puffy 'Iro' so I used
layers of puffy net to create subtle drama
Here I went for a slimmer 'Buba' arm and a funky raised neck line
 with puffy details. Again the 'Iro' (wrapper) stays faithful to the traditional 'Oleku'
None of the pictures here were airbrushed thanks to the fantastic work of my long-time buddy, colleague, makeup artist and fantastic makeup trainer ( at Jemma Kidd Makeup School etc), Bolanle Feyita of Makeup Pro and the very beautiful face of TÓTÉ Collections... Rose..who is in my opinion the most beautiful Ghanian I know..Thanks Chicks..!!!
Oh yes! You can place an order, I also now make bespoke pieces...Looks like I caught the design bug real bad...Hee! heee!

I hope you like...

Inspiration: God, Thank you so much Sir!
Model: Rose
Fashion Styling: Bola Obileye
Makeup: Bolanle Okusanya-Feyita
Photography: Anna 'Genius' Fayemi
Design and Art Direction: Bola Obileye
Handbags and Accessories: TÓTÉ Collections
ToTe Orderline: 0802 411 3305 / 0816 599 4201

Please look out for pictures from my handbag and accessories shoot here and on partner blogs and websites..

Lots of love,


  1. WOW, WOW, Bola this is is very nice and highly creative....good job madam, I never liked Iro and Buba, but I'm loving your ideas/twist to Iro and Buba...I will rock all the styles you posted.....keep it up, I hope you are affordable

  2. I am in love. Very nice!

  3. The last two pics are fantastic, I would wear them immediately. The first design is a bit dramatic for me though.

    Just noticed that you designed as well as styled? Wow, kudos!

  4. Fantastic....i love this! chic is hot. designers are lovely and photos are just awesome. keep it up Bola

  5. lovely designs but the background/room is quite cluttered

  6. Aww thank you so much guys, I'm really chuffed at your kind words.Thank you mucho!
    @Anon 8:19, the background was actually planned as such I dotted ToTe accessories around to add a bit of an 'accessories overdose feel' to the shoot while keeping the model looking relatively simple..

  7. i am not a fan of iro and buba but i so see myself wearing this. wld really turn heads at parties with this.

  8. @ Adenike - You bet, My items are always super affordable :)

  9. Absolutely gorgeous, love the styling and designs! Oya, please where can those of us in London get ohhhhhh :)

  10. I believe the background was deliberatley cluttered and it brings this vintage exurbance to whole picture and concept

  11. loving the dresses, though am not nigerian i would luv to wear these

  12. Mrs Bola like you like to be address (that should show that I follow your blog well uhn?). These are so cute and really funky, I just had to put it up on my blog. You might be getting orders through me soon (*wink*) seriously though, you never know. Pls visit my blog (you might wanna just follow too) (*putting hands together like a lil kid wanting candy*)

    Thumbs up and thanks!

  13. very creative! well done!

  14. BOLA BOLA BOLA, u are definitely an artist. Kudos. I saw a young lady in one iro and buba outfit, and i was thinking the same thing myself, will make some and wear them. Def easybreeze, and they can go to formal events, or casual dress.

  15. Absolutely stunning. well done girl.

  16. WOW. You killed it. The second look is sooo sophisticated! Gives iro and buba a brand new meaning!

  17. I'm completely blown away..i wanna rock one of these for Independence day service this year. Address/phone number, please?

  18. Finally I'm impressed by the so called Nigerian "fashion designs"

  19. Please, I wanna meet that model, Rose. What agency manages her?

  20. OMG! this styles rock. Made the first one already and truly cant wait to make the other two. Totally see myself wearing this outfits. Great job.

  21. I am in AWE of ur work. This is truly inspired!! Your blog is awesome and ur designs are SPECTACULAR !! I hope u design for the bigger sized lady cause me I'm coming to get fitted!! Kudos kudos

  22. All i can say is wow you really killed it

  23. hi bola, fantastic work u ve done here. I stumbled on ur blog whilst searching 4 a story on-line and i must say u wowed me.

    U haven't changed from ur Unilag days and u re definitely on d rite part; fashion s part of ur DNA na. Need i say more, ur iro and buba revamp just saved an owambe fabric from converting into long dress mode.

    take kia and kip doing wat u know best, Omolola Itayemi!

  24. i must admit i had never heard of you prior this watching you this saturday at the childs party.

    well done on that. just fab!

    pleas i hear you do hair this wig the model is wearing one of yours?


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