Mai Atafo is one of the most recognised and sought after designers in the Nigerian fashion industry today
One of the continent’s finest designers Mai Atafo is expected to showcase at the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards by Ciroc that are on at the Kampala Serena Hotel this Friday. Vision reporter tells us who he is.
Designer Mai Atafo is one of the most recognised and sought after designers in the Nigerian fashion industry today. 10 years in the game now, Atafo launched his label MAI (Mai Atafo Inspired) in 2007. His clothing line specialised in suits for men and glamorous red carpet dresses.
In July 2011, Mai Atafo launched “Weddings By MAI”, adding gorgeous wedding dresses to his brand.
With his clothing line, Atafo has developed a reputation for gorgeous and perfectly fitting dresses that translate into the sophisticated and elegant look every bride desires and not to forget his well-tailored bespoke suits.
“Weddings By MAI” caters to every clothing element of a wedding from the bridal gown, bridesmaids dress, little brides dresses, groom and grooms men’s suit, waistcoat and cravat.
Mai Atafo is a fashion artist (MAI), fashion editor (Genevieve magazine), stylist and entertainment consultant. His sense of fashion, styling and lifestyle are the inspiration and artistic expression of Mai Atafo Inspired for the young Nigerian designer with a natural flair and passion for everything fashion and life.
Mai Atafo’s first major debut was clothing the likes of Omowunmi Akinnifesi, Pasuma Wonder and Wale Rubber in the Maiden Edition of the Nigerian TV Dance reality show “Celebrity Takes Two”.
He has since been involved in the second season of such celebrated Nigerian reality TV shows as “Celebrity Takes Two” clothing Stella Damasus and Yemi Blaq as well as other major Nigerian TV shows and events like The Future Awards, Hip Hop World Awards, Soundcity Music Video Awards where he has clothed high profile Nigerian personalities such as, Raz Adoti, Ashionye and Kemi Adetiba.
The lists of the celebrities who have been spotted in MAI designs on the red carpet or for photo-shoots include Nigerian actors Dakore Egbuson, Stephanie Okereke, Stella Damascus, Mercy Johnson, Gbenro Ajibade, Ramsey Nouah, Ex-Beauty Queens Omowunmi Akinnifesi, Munachi Abii and Adaeze Igwe.
Musicians include Banky W, D’Banj, 2face, M.I., Bez, Waje, and Omawumi and other important clients such as JJ Okocha, Uti Nwachukwu, Ebuka and many more.
However, despite the endless list of his celebrity clientele, the brand MAI is described by Mai Atafo as focusing on delivering the highest level of service to all his customers regardless of their status. MAI’s aesthetic is instantly recognisable in his clothing as his notable Piece-de-resistance remains his crested blazers creating a fashion staple amongst the power dressers.
Who is Atafo?
Atafo was born in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria. He spent most of his childhood in Benin City, Lagos and London.
He holds a degree in agricultural aconomics and extension from Edo State University and a post-graduate degree in information technology, from City University London, England.
Before Mai Atafo ventured into the world of fashion, he was a top flight marketer in the corporate world. After almost seven years in the United Kingdom he returned to Nigeria to a job in British American Tobacco before moving to Guinness Nigeria in 2007.
Between 2007 and 2010 Mai Atafo established and ran his clothing line Mai Atafo Inspired (MAI) which he ran as he worked in a full time job. With designs that are versatile, timeless, notably classicist, but notwithstanding contemporary, clean-cut and urban, it didn’t take long for Mai Atafo to become a recognized name in the fashion world.
In 2010, almost four years later, he took a career break from his role as Senior Brand Manager Guinness to become a full time fashion designer.
Atafo still consults as a marketing specialist, he develops concept, coordinates and produces events and TV shows.