As part of Africa Day and the Africa Union’s celebration of African ‘Arts, Culture and Heritage’, Facebook’s ‘Made by Africa: Loved by the World’ campaign is celebrating Africa’s growing cultural impact on the world. This campaign spotlights the story of eight phenomenal creatives and business owners from across the continent who are breaking ground across the world. One of the Nigerians being spotlighted is Ohimai Atafo, popularly known as Mai Atafo.
Mai Atafo is a fashion entrepreneur; he is the founder and creative director of fashion brand ATAFO, a brand that specializes in bespoke suits and traditional outfits for both men and women, alongside side bridal with a special focus on wedding and evening dresses. His attention to detail has tailored his brand into the international realm and is loved by runways all over the world.
Here are 9 things you most probably do not know about this fashion designer.
His first name means ‘Well made by God or God made a perfect person’
Mai Atafo has his first name “Mai” derived from a shortened from of his name “Ohimai” although the full name is “Ohimaimefo” which translates better from Edo language to Pidgin English as follows, Ohi = God, Mai = We made, Me = Me and Fo = Finish AKA God make me finish.
Mai Atafo is a brand expert
Before venturing fully into the world of fashion, Mai Atafo worked in Market Research, Sales and distribution, Innovation, Projects and Brand Management with several multinational companies. His branding experience has greatly benefited the ATAFO brand, as the brand is currently one of the best to come out of Africa.
His rise to stardom began with a reality TV show
Mai’s rise to stardom took an interesting route, the award-winning designer actually became popular when he styled celebrities (Musician; Pasuma and Ex-beauty queen; Omowunmi Akinifesi) in a competitive dance reality TV show created by Spirit Of David Gospel Dance Company. The show was called ‘Celebrity Takes 2’ and has since gone off-air, but the Mai Atafo brand has grown from thereon.
His brand wasn’t originally called ATAFO
The brand was originally called ‘Mai Atafo Inspired’. However, as the brand has evolved, so has the name – to Mai Atafo and now ATAFO. When asked why he changed the name, Mai explained that he rebranded to separate his person from the brand as it was important for him to grow the brand and what it promises outside of himself.
Mai Atafo is also an incredible MC/Compere
Asides from his success in the fashion scene, Mai Atafo has over the past years functioned as a Master of Ceremony and has anchored shows like the 2010 Miss Nigeria Pageant alongside Agbani Darego, City People Fashion and Style Award, Face of Sleek Model Competition, Etisalat Masterbrand Re-launch and more recently Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards in Uganda and Glitz Style Awards in Ghana. He also has a flair for voice-overs which has led to his voicing a Glo advert and Soundcity Video Music Awards live show.
Mai Atafo has Featured in Nollywood
That’s right! The popular bespoke tailor and fashion designer was cast in the highly grossing movie, ‘The Wedding Party,’ which debuted in December 2016.
Mai Atafo has recorded a song
Already known for his delectable bridal dresses, Mr. Atafo decided to back his outfits up with an enjoyable love song. The song titled “Stay with me” features Waje and Praiz and has a really cool video, which was written by Mai Atafo and directed by award-winning Nollywood director, Stanlee Ohikhuare. Key to note that music is his first passion and love.
Mai Atafo doesn’t consider his brand as a luxury brand
For a Nigerian brand that’s been likened to top brands, Mai has said that his brand, ATAFO is not a luxury brand but a premium brand. In fact, he’s mentioned that he doesn’t think there is a luxury brand in Nigeria yet. He thinks there’s room for further improvement to attain the luxurious status of international brands.
Mai Atafo doesn’t follow trends
For a fashion icon and a known name in the industry, it’s surprising that Mai Atafo doesn’t believe in following fashion trends. This is because he believes that being fashionable is subjective since everyone can be fashionable in their own way.
Watch his story on the official Facebook Africa page and on a dedicated ‘Made by Africa, Loved by the World’ microsite to get a glimpse into the growth and success of Mai Atafo, the African creative whose style is loved by the world.