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The Fashion Conversations Program ~ Fashion Meets Whisky as The Macallan and Mai Atafo Collaborate to Mentor Budding Nigerian Talents


The worlds of fashion and whisky might not seem to have much in common, but when two leading brands in these industries come together, the result can be truly magical. That’s precisely what happened when The Macallan, one of the world’s most prestigious whisky brands, joined hands with Mai Atafo, a top Nigerian fashion designer, to create a unique collaboration that is helping to mentor and promote budding fashion talents in Nigeria through Atafo’s Fashion Conversations program. The event was held at ATAFO Studio in Lekki, Lagos, on April 2, 2023.

The initiative is offering 40 young creatives the opportunity to engage the designer in conversations about commercialization in Africa’s over $31 billion fashion industry, and navigating one of the world’s most promising industries. In line with The Macallan’s investment in Africa’s fashion industry, the ultra-premium whisky brand sponsored Mai Atafo to facilitate an exchange of critical information that can empower young people to identify their roles in the industry and succeed.

The fashion mentorship initiative, geared at inspiring and enabling the next generation of fashion creatives, involved sessions that focused on topics such as the ‘Guide to Running a Successful Fashion Business in Nigeria’, ‘Fashion Commercialization’, ‘Branding’, etc.

At the event, Mai Atafo passionately addressed the young creative designers about the importance of having a well-thought-out business strategy and how to leverage it in the industry. He provided actionable tips and advice on how to navigate the fashion sector and shared pointers from his over two-decade experience. This initiative further indicates The Macallan’s interest in Africa’s fashion industry and Atafo’s goal of inspiring creatives within the industry. Founded in 2018, ‘Fashion Conversations’ has become an immense success.

Mai Atafo said, ”This is an opportunity for young creatives and entrepreneurs to gain insight and knowledge about the fashion industry. My goal is to create access for the next generation of masters in fashion to the right resources to make more informed decisions. The Macallan bringing these sessions to life enables us to reach more enterprising young people looking to harness their craft.”

Macallan’s Brand Manager, Nigeria, Edrington, Hammed Adebiyi

The Macallan’s Brand Manager, Nigeria, Edrington, Hammed Adebiyi, stated, ”The Macallan has been the hallmark of quality and distinctive character for nearly 200 years. Our unique taste and style, methods and craftsmanship are some of the particular qualities that have made our whisky remarkable for years. This is also one of the reasons for our collaborations in the fashion industries across the world. It is important for us to invest in ensuring that for years to come, unique craftsmanship remains an important aspect of the industry. And there is no better way to do that than to invest in the future through forward-thinking initiatives such as this.”  

The collaboration is more than just a showcase of talent and creativity. It’s a testament to the power of collaboration and mentorship, and it’s a reminder of the importance of supporting emerging talent in different fields. By bringing together two seemingly disparate industries and providing a platform for young designers to showcase their skills and learn from experts, The Macallan and Mai Atafo have created something truly special that is helping to shape the future of fashion in Nigeria and beyond.


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