His pieces call to mind a lush sensuality and a fluency of elegance at first glance. His intricate yet delicate style suggests a refinement that is not limited to being Nigerian or African and speaking with him in the course of getting this interview, Nigerian designer, Paolo Sisiano makes an impression of one with a vision. Paolo started out as a choreographer, dancer and stage performer with an impressive résumé in Nigerian theatre including performances in Saro, Saro 2: The Musical and Wakaa: The Musical, attributes that remain very visible in the artistic profile of his creations. He had veered into fashion with costume production and finally made a grand entry into the Nigerian Fashion Industry at the GTBank Lagos Fashion & Design Week Awards in 2013, emerging as a finalist. Paolo proceeded to create the vibrant brand Sisiano and his innovative persistence as Creative Director has made Sisiano the worthy fashion reference it is today.

Paolo is a founding member and alumnus of the reputable International Fashion Showcase, a subsidiary concept of the Lagos Fashion Week and a platform to project Nigerian designers to the international scene. In just five years, the brand Sisiano has carved a laudable niche for itself, one that several established names are proud to identify with. Paolo has offered a glimpse into his eleventh collection for Sisiano which will be showing at the Lagos Fashion Week later this month and it has got us excited for what is to come. Giving a spin on a particularly interesting aspect of  Nigerian pop culture with his current muses, the women of the renowned Afrobeats legend, Fela Anikulapo Kuti, Sisiano SS19 is another “timeless” ensemble of our history and future and promises to be every bit as unforgettable as intended.

Sisiano SS19 (an overview).

How have the times influenced your pieces even though your aesthetics remain the same?

At Sisiano we never worry about the times and trends. We constantly aim at creating timeless pieces. This makes our garments even more special.

Can you share what your creative process is like?

My creative process as a designer starts with a song. This is as a result of my dance background. I listen to the song for about a week, then I agree on what direction to go and what type of movement I would like to see that season. Sketches are then done, fabrics gotten, we then sew, try them on a several fit models and select final looks in line with the essence of the season for us.

What is your theme for your ss19 collection?

For Ss19, the story is driven by the fantastic Nigerian based musical; Fela and The Kalakuta Queens. A story that centred around the women of Fela. I wanted to see them in a different light. Not rejected as they are referenced and  but as women that society held in high esteem because of their essence.

“The Real Aristocrats”- Fela and the Kalakuta Queens 

As an alumnus of the International Fashion Showcase, how do you think Nigerian fashion is faring on the international scene so far?

The international fashion scene I would say is tricky. The new generation of designers can be any one and this isn’t fully accepted in my opinion. It is expected that a Nigerian designer needs to look a certain way but that isn’t case. This is because we are inspired by a bigger world and can project anything that comes to mind without being in a

What unusual things can we expect from your eleventh collection this season?

That would be Colour! Although we are very happy at Sisiano with how the collection looks unlike previous years.

What’s your most accomplished collection so far and why?

This is a tough one because at the end of the day its really about appeal to the consumer. Three collections easily fall into that brief and we hope our SS19 follows in line our values and vision as a Fashion brand. These collections have continued to be asked for, purchased and bought. Lipstick Smudge, Birds At War and Desert Rose.

Desert rose SS17


Ms Green: Lipstick Smudge 2015

What would you like to see change in the fashion industry?

Originality. If there’s no telling who’s who… then we are still joking. Fashion is serious business and until we treat it as such, we are not going to get the attention needed in growing the industry here in Nigeria.



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