‘I can’t come & kill myself’ reads one of the jackets from Burna Boy’s ‘Life on the Outside’ tour — and if you’re Nigerian, especially with the rollercoaster rocket launcher year we’ve had, you know exactly what this sentiment implies. And as always, Damini ‘Burna Boy’ Ogulu is right on the money, and this arguably applies to his laidback style on and off-stage.
Effortlessly cool and undeniably 90’s inspired are descriptors that come to mind when thinking of Burna Boy’s eclectic vibe.His Afrofusion, dancehall-influenced unique sound is what celebrity stylist Ronami Ogulu emphasizes with a carefree yet irrefutably stylish visual signature.
Ever since dropping his critically and commercially-acclaimed debut single, Like To Party, back in 2012, Burna Boy has developed a broad following thanks not only to his music but his killer style. His debut is one of the best examples of crystal clear branding in Nigeria I have ever come across, from the Shabba Ranks meets Hendrix via Cobain styling to his unique sound. It all works. And none of it is by accident.
His sister Ronami has been the fashion force behind his one and offstage wardrobe from the very start. And with his LOTO tour on right now, she’s been working triple-time. Below, Ronami discusses how she started out styling Burna and what’s next.
BNS: What’s the styling process been like for the LOTO tour?
It’s been pretty interesting. Each city on the calendar has a different energy, a different ambiance and a different take on fashion which I like to infuse into Burna’s wardrobe choices. I try to steal an hour in every city to explore the fashion district and nab a few items to add to the wardrobe selection.
BNS:How do you let Burna’s personal style shine through when you’re styling him for the stage?
His style has always been eccentric. He’s very big on deviating from the status quo which is my M.O. as well so it’s always an easy transition on stage and off stage. It’s all in the details, the subtle fashion quirks e.g sunglasses, socks etc. Whether in view or not his socks tell a story in relation to every outfit. It’s so bad that I now know the different sock textures appropriate for different shoe styles to ensure comfort etc. (It’s honestly more complex than it needs to be!)
BNS:How do you go about pulling all the clothes for shoots and performances, etc?
Well it depends on how much notice I get before each event and the location of the event, I either reach out to designers or their PR companies to pull items from an existing collection or have it made specifically for him. I also spend quite a lot of time researching upcoming designers in the most bizarre parts of the world and figuring out how to infuse those designs into his wardrobe.
BNS: How did you first start styling your brother?
I think I started styling him before I realised it was an actual “thing” I was doing. I remember his break out video “Like to Party” was coming up. I was in A level school in the UK at the time and came home for the holidays right before the shoot; bragging to my mum about the vintage Versace shirt I found in an obscure corner of South Wales (side note: vintage hunting is a sport we both take pride in). Before I finished my story he walks up, takes it from me and announced that it matches the Versace sunglasses I got him for Christmas and the rest is history.
I guess now I’ve moved back to Nigeria, it has become a more permanent part of my life and I’m excited about the journey!
BNS: Who are your shared style icons?
Oh! Several, Super Cat, Cam’ron from his “Killa Cam” era, Kurt Cobain to name a few.
BNS:Dream designer to pull for Burna?
This dream changes very often, Nigerian brand, probably getting Ré to create a piece for him from her main line. She’s a genius with textile design techniques and manipulation. Internationally, right now I’d say Sies Marjan, who recently created the coolest outfit ever with MM reflective material.
Check out more looks from the LOTO Tour below: