at home: Artists in Conversation | Duro Olowu

June 4, 2021

Duro Olowu, British fashion designer, in conversation with Valerie Steele (Yale PhD 1983), Director and Chief Curator of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York

at home: Artists in Conversation

Join us for lively and inspiring conversations with some of today’s most notable artists. at home: Artists in Conversation brings together curators and artists to discuss various artistic practices and insights into their work.

About Duro Olowu

Olowu is a Nigerian-born British fashion designer and curator who lives and works in London and New York. Launched in 2004, his eponymous womenswear label is known for its innovative combinations of colors and patterns, harmonious juxtapositions of vintage textiles with custom fabrics, and impeccably tailored silhouettes. Olowu’s aesthetic vision is informed by his multicultural and international background, art, and other creative practices.

An instant sensation, his first collection comprised one empire-waist design—the now signature “Duro” dress—which was lauded as the dress of the year in 2005 by both American and British Vogue. That same year, Olowu was honored as the New Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards—the only designer to have received this accolade before their first runway show. In 2009, he was named the Best International Designer at the African Fashion Awards and was one of six designers nominated for the Swiss Textile Federation Award. First Lady Michelle Obama, who frequently wore his label while in office, commissioned him in 2015 to decorate the Vermeil Room at the White House for the holiday season.

More recently, Olowu has curated the following critically acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions: Making & Unmaking at Camden Art Centre, London (2016), and Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2020), for which he selected 380 works of art from public and private art collections across the city. His designs are featured in many collections worldwide, including the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York.

This program is presented through the generosity of the Terry F. Green 1969 Fund for British Art and Culture.