Evolve: The Future Ready You
Mai Atafo is a fashion designer and bespoke tailor. The charismatic businessman is the founder and creative director of fashion brand, ATAFO, who specialise in bespoke menswear, womenswear alongside bridal and evening couture. The dynamic brand is also known for their stylish approach to traditional Nigerian wear, testament to Mai’s deep connection to his heritage and his own roots.
Mai Atafo, a fashion icon in his own right, known for his quintessential style, is the epitome of the perfect gentleman both in his dressing and his bearing. A multi-hyphenate, Mai Atafo’s skills go far beyond design, and he has experienced an illustrious career before launching his label. He worked in Market Research, Sales and distribution, Innovation, Brand marketing and Project management with British American Tobacco and Diageo. He left his role as Senior Brand Manager for Guinness at Diageo to pursue his love for fashion.
Mai also worked in various roles post his exit from Diageo, these include the role of Head of channel; Spice TV (Africa’s foremost fashion channel), Strategy director for advertising agency The Fire House and Fashion Editor Genevieve Magazine. He was Chairman of the Central Working Committee of The Future Award Africa for 6 years before taking up the leadership role in the Advisory Council.
Choosing ultimately, to pursue his love for fashion full-time and never one to do things by halves, Mai went on to gain formal training at the prestigious Instituto di Moda Burgo in Milan, Italy. Once he set up his atelier, determined to give his staff elite training, Mai brought in a master tailor from the then Savile Row Training Academy to upskill both himself and his workforce in the fine art of garment-making.
Mai is a firm believer in empowering the next generation of creatives and pays it forward where possible. He created a free fashion mentorship initiative called Fashion Conversations which gives young designers the knowledge of the fashion industry and the tools to start their own businesses. A huge supporter of the slow fashion movement and empowering African seamstresses and artisans, Mai is passionate about harnessing fashion as a vehicle for development by connecting people at every step of the fashion value chain.
Being a man who wears many hats, Mai Atafo finds time in his hectic schedule to indulge in work as a MC/Compere and voiceover artiste having done shows like 2010 Miss Nigeria Pageant alongside Agbani Darego, City People Fashion and Style Award, Face of Sleek Model Competition, Etisalat Masterbrand Re-launch, FCMB Employees Award Night , voiced a Glo advert, voice-over for Soundcity Video Music Awards live-show and most recently host the Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards in Uganda and Glitz Style Awards in Accra in 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The brands he has worked with, either in the capacity of an ambassador, spokesperson Judge or influencer include Samsung, Intel, HP, Google, Etisalat, Baileys, Chivas, Amstel Malta, Fayrouz, Heineken, Lux, Ebonylife, Vlisco, Nivea, SA Tourism to mention a few.
His high point till date is his finale walk with Naomi Campbell and speaking at Harvard Business School during the African Business Conference in 2018. Mai Atafo is married to Ede-Christine and blessed with a daughter, Aima.
AWARDS FOR BRAND AND DESIGNER
2009: Hottest New Male Designer – City people Fashion and Style
2010: Special Recognition – City people Fashion and Style
2010: Fashion Designer of the Year – Mode Men Magazine
2010: Best Dressed Man – Mode Men Magazine
2010: Fashion Brand of the Year – FAB Magazine
2010: The Redefinition Contribution to Fashion – Covenant University
2011: Top 10 Best Dressed Man – Mode Men Magazine
2011: Most Stylish Man – Vanguard Allure Magazine
2011: Top Best Dressed Men for the year – Thisday Style
2012: Designer of the Year – Glitz African Fashion Week Ghana
2012: Fashion Brand of the Year – FAB Magazine
2013: Bridal Fashion Designer of the Year – WED Magazine
2013: Nigerian Designer of the Year – Sideview Magazine
2013: Named one of the 50 best dressed under 40 – Thisday Style
2013: Named most stylish man of the year – Vanguard Allure
2013: Menswear Designer of the Year – City People Fashion and Beauty
2013: Bridal Designer of the Year – City People Fashion and Beauty
2014: Man of the Year – EbonylifeTV Sisterhood Awards
2015: Menswear Designer of the year – Lagos Fashion and Design Week
2016: Fashion Designer of the Year West Africa – Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards Uganda
2017: African Designer of the Year – Glitz Style Awards Ghana
2017: Fashion Brand CEO of the Year – La Mode Magazine Ever Green Event Awards
2017: Man of The Year – (The Man Award) Men’s Fashion Week Nigeria
2017: Lifetime Style & Fashion Icon Achievement – Abryanz Style and Fashion Awards Uganda
2018: Person of The Year (FASHION) – Glazia Magazine
2018: Menswear Fashion Brand of The Year – Fashion’s Finest Africa Awards Lagos
2019: Outstanding Contribution to Nigerian Fashion – Fashion’s Finest Africa Awards Lagos