10 African Wedding Dress Designers To Know

Beri Gebrehiwot highlights ten of the buzziest African wedding dress designers.

Below, Beri Gebrehiwot, co-founder of Her Big Day, highlights ten of the buzziest wedding designers on the African continent and in the diaspora.

Amsale Aberra

Amsale Aberra Fall 2016. Source:

After recognizing the need for a simpler wedding dress, Ethiopian-American designer Amsale Aberra started her own bridal company and began to sell her gowns in high-end boutiques and department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus in the 1980s. In 1996, Aberra opened her flagship store on New York City’s Madison Avenue. Amsale continues to be one of the leading bridal designers in the industry.

Brides by NoNA

Courtesy of Brides by NoNA

Atlanta-based Nigerian designer Nneka C. Alexander, creative director at Brides by NoNA, is making a name for herself as a bespoke bridal designer of custom-made gowns. And Alexander's skill in elaborate design spills over to other dress categories as well, including evening wear, bridesmaid gowns and traditional gowns for the cultural bride.

David Tlale

David Tlale Bridal Collection 15/16. Source:

David Tlale and his eponymous brand have graced just about every premium fashion week platform in the world. Not surprisingly, the South African designer’s bridal line is equally show-stopping. Black wedding gowns and African print wedding gowns are just a few examples of Tlale’s unconventional take on the wedding dress.

Farida Deglel

Courtesy of Farida Deglel

Initially working in the nonprofit sector, the now Abu Dhabi-based Farida Deglel put on her first fashion show in Eritrea. A fundamental of her brand is the use of historic fabrics, such as organic Eritrea-grown cotton, fused with traditional and modern designs. Her company, Farida Style, readily portrays Eritrean, Middle Eastern and Western influences.

Gbemi Okunlola

AloNuko founder and designer Gbemi Okunlola. Courtesy of AloNuko

At the age of eleven, Gbemi Okunlola was named London's youngest fashion designer. At fifteen she won the 2009 Young Avant Garde Designer of the Year award. Okunlola became a British household name in 2011 when she appeared on the BBC's Young Apprentice show at the age of 16. And now, at 20, she’s the youngest bespoke bridal designer in the UK as the boss lady behind AloNuko. After completing her studies and several apprenticeships, Okunlola went on to launch her own luxury bespoke bridal collection in July 2015.

Halima Gidado

Brides & Babies Inc. Credit: Ademola Olaniran Photography

Halima Gidado is the founder and creative director behind the Abuja-based Brides & Babies Inc., known for everything from the classic ball gown to the sultry mermaid dress. And just in case you were wondering, yes, they do custom design clothing for babies.

Mai Atafo

Mai Atafo Inspired Le' Festoon Collection. Source:

It's no wonder that Mai Atafo, winner of Allure Style Icon 2011 (Nigeria), would have a niche for bridal design. The Nigerian designer’s brand, Mai Atafo Inspired, launched a bridal line in 2011 after establishing a successful line of men's suits and evening wear. His bridal line, Weddings By MAI, is a collection of timeless and graceful gowns for the classic bride.

Martial Tapolo

Martial Tapolo at Black Fashion Week Paris 2013

Gracing major fashion shows such as Black Fashion Week Paris, Cameroonian haute couture fashion designer Alain Martial Tapolo has been compared to iconic designers such as Alexander McQueen and Givenchy. His passion for African art and design comes across in garments that demonstrate deep ties to his roots, like this 'Tribute to African Queens'.

Shukri Hashi

Courtesy of Shukri Hashi Bridal

Headed by Somali-Brit designer Shukri Hashi, Shukri Hashi Bridal has done the unthinkable: taking the traditional red and gold silk Somali print known as "Haadiyo Daaghan," and transforming it into a colorful bridal gown.

Yemi Osunkoya


UK-based Nigerian designer Yemi Osunkoya is an award-winning fashion designer widely acknowledged for his avant garde approach to wedding and evening gowns created for Nigerian and British royalty and celebrities alike. His company, Kosibah, is a household name in both Nigeria and the UK.

Beri Gebrehiwot is the co-founder of Her Big Day. In 2012, she successfully planned her own 1,500 guest, Eritrean-American wedding and has since been inspired to help other women do the same through cultural wedding shows.

Photo by Olukayode Jaiyeola/NurPhoto via Getty Images.

How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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