Busayo Olupona’s story is one that reflects the popular verse in the bible which says ‘The stone the builders rejected which has become the cornerstone.’
When Olupona was at school, in the small town of Davis, California, Busayo Olupona used to get teased by other kids for the bright-patterned clothing she’d wear, made out of material from Ife in Nigeria, where she spent her early years growing up.
Today, the same kind of clothing she used to be mocked for is the very reason Olupona’s become a sought-after name in fashion, with designs from her eponymous label worn by celebs from Madonna to Lupita Nyong’o.
Busayo Olupona is a lawyer and the creator and creative director of Busayo NYC, a vibrant, expressive fashion brand that explores the potential of textiles to connect past and present through the traditions of Nigeria, the country where she was raised.
She attended Davis Senior High School 1994 – 1996, University of California, Berkeley where she studied Business Administration and Minor in Theatre from 1996 – 2000 and got her law degree from New York University School of Law 2002 – 2005
Since the lawyer-turned-designer began her own clothing line twelve years ago, the company has flourished, gaining followers including Madonna and Lupita Nyong’o, as well as multiple awards.
However, what makes Busayo’s brand one of the most intriguing fashion brands to follow is its investigation of fabrics, which are made in Nigeria utilising the Adire process to create the label’s signature kaleidoscopic patterns.
Olupona built her fashion label, which she started in 2011, on the side of her career as a lawyer, and she still practices today.
Born in the US, Olupona’s parents moved to Nigeria when she was three years old and came back to the US when she was twelve years old.
Read also: Redefining the Adire fabric
Olupona might not feel ready to take the plunge, but it’s undeniable that her label has soared to new heights, with collections sold at Saks Fifth Avenue, online retailers like Shopbop, and more recently, Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Intermix, and Moda Operandi.
The best thing, though? Her apparel is still made in Nigeria with the Adire process, giving it the vibrant tie-dye style that is unique. Olupona discussed her journey from a rural community in Nigeria to the bustling streets of New York City with OkayAfrica.