From humble beginnings in Nigeria to a fresh start in Johannesburg

Akali’s tale begins in Nigeria, a place that teems with fashion-forward women—especially in luxury brands. But even as she chuckles about how “Nigeria loves luxury fashion, but not everyone can afford it,” there’s a sense of candidness that makes you admire her even more.

Her mother and her friends used to sell accessible counterfeit luxury, something she joyfully says is part of the culture back home. Surrounded by a sisterhood of women who sourced and crafted garments and accessories from the most renowned designers, riding the waves of the most sought trends and style and making it their own. This taste of “homemade” luxury and community served as inspiration to one day create her own brand, under her own name. Especially growing up in a community that makes time go by, by stitching and designing patterns in their free time.

The turning point

The pivot came when Akali moved to Johannesburg five years ago. “I knew I wanted to be a designer the moment I moved to South Africa,” she says. For her, the city’s local fashion scene was like a jolt of electricity. The streetwear culture, the sneaker obsession—it all resonated deeply with her own aesthetic senses. People of all ages, whether waiting for buses or leaning on balconies, became her muses.

Her design prowess found its roots in the vibrant energy of these streets. The bland, conventional clothing that crowded mall shelves didn’t interest her; Akali sought something more—an artistic blend of quality fabric and captivating design. Even as other designers questioned her concepts, she chose to “trust her gut” and bring Potrends to life.

Styled Garments from Potrend by Akali Faith
Styled garments from Potrends by Akali Faith

The unforgettable blue puffer

One piece that sky-rocketed her career was a controversial oversized blue puffer jacket from her 2021 Winter collection. The jacket divided public opinion: some denounced it as a fashion faux-pas while others heralded her daring originality. But for Akali, it’s more than just clothing—it’s an experience, and she wears each piece she designs to truly experience it as part of her wardrobe.

The iconic Blue Puffer from the 2021 Winter collection
The iconic Blue Puffer from the 2021 Winter collection

Weathering the storms

When asked about the hardest moment in her career, her eyes grow serious. “It’s now,” she confides. The fashion industry is harsh, its costs relentless. Yet, her resolve is unshakeable: “It will break you at first but it will be worth it,” she insists. Her advice to aspiring designers is simple yet profound: “Be patient and trust yourself.” This was a lesson she had to learn herself, as there was a time when she too had to be patient, a time where she didn’t have the resources she needed to launch another collection, but she kept moving forward.

“Don’t rush, just be”- Akali

Whether it’s her defiance against conventional wisdom or her unwavering belief in her own style, Akali’s story underscores the indomitable spirit required to make it in this demanding industry.

Her tale is not just her own but echoes the sentiments of everyone who has ever dared to dream despite the odds. Akali Faith is more than just a designer; she’s a storyteller, weaving her journey and inspirations into every stitch and seam. After trying times, she is back with a brand new collection. Stay tuned to ASA as we unpack her latest collection “Potrends Johannesburg”, a collection about her journey and inspiration since moving to Johannesburg, in our next article.