Reni Folawiyo is a Lagos-based businesswoman, redefining fashion luxury for Nigerians with her concept store Alara. She always envisioned a space where the world would be introduced to an Africa that creates beauty and value, and where world class fashion talents, African design and culture would intertwine.
In 2014, Reni founded West Africa’s first fashion luxury and lifestyle concept store Alara Alara meaning “wondrous performer” in Yoruba, Alara is housed in an impressive architecture building designed by the world-acclaimed Ghanaian-British architect David Adjaye. The store is home to both African and Western luxury brands.
Alara has become a gathering space for events ranging from book signings, fashion events to art exhibitions bringing Lagos’ fashion-conscious crowd together in the exclusively curated space. While Alara is located in the heart of Victoria Island in Lagos, it has been compared to concept stores such as London’s Dover Street Market, Paris’ Colette, and Milan’s 10 Corso Como.
Folawiyo’s vision of African luxury goes beyond arts and fashion. Together with Senegalese Chef Pierre Thiam Reni started ‘NOK by Alara’, a restaurant that puts a new meaning to world-class African culinary experience.
However, the entrepreneur stays true to her purpose, encouraging exceptional quality and beauty that celebrates and elevates all aspects of an African luxury lifestyle, which can not be found anywhere else in the world.
She has made an impact in priming Nigeria to become the biggest fashion hub in Africa through her global retail and luxury lifestyle founded upon a blend of traditional and contemporary African art, design, and fashion. Her gaze is fixed on changing the pan-African narrative, empowering young designers and artists, and encouraging growth through fashion funds and schools.
Reni says “Alara was conceived to show the world who we are today, to share how we live and to show Africans that we have a lot to be proud of, that we create and enjoy objects of exceptional quality and beauty, to celebrate those who have done it, and to support and encourage those who wish to exchange, educate, elevate and beautify.”