Duro Olowu Selects is the twentieth installment in Cooper Hewitt’s Selects series, which invites designers, writers, and cultural figures to explore and interpret objects in the museum’s collection. This exhibition is curated by Nigerian-British designer Duro Olowu who has received international recognition for his eponymous fashion label, textile designs, and curatorial work, which take inspiration from art and artists both known and unknown, his curious and discerning eye, and his cosmopolitan perspective.

Olowu’s exhibition highlights the theme of pattern and repetition throughout Cooper Hewitt’s collection, demonstrating how skilled and novice makers have relied on pattern to express ideas, preserve heritage, capture attention, and construct objects and environments.



Headshot of Duro Olowu

Duro Olowu. Photo by Uzoamaka Maduka.

Olowu (born 1965, Lagos, Nigeria) lives and works in London and New York. The Nigerian-British designer is internationally renowned for his womenswear label launched in 2004 and shown twice a year at London Fashion Week. Olowu’s work is characterized by unique fabrics, evocative patterns, original juxtapositions, and impeccable construction. In 2005, he was awarded New Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards and pieces of his work are featured in various institutional collections. Olowu has also curated critically acclaimed contemporary art exhibitions, including Making and Unmaking in 2016 at Camden Arts Centre in London and Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago in 2020.


This exhibition was guest curated by Duro Olowu and organized for Cooper Hewitt by Curator of Contemporary Design and Hintz Secretarial Scholar Alexandra Cunningham Cameron with curatorial fellow Amanda Forment Hirsch and curatorial intern Claire Quong.

Exhibition design by Roger Diener of Diener & Diener Architekten and Architect of Record Garcia-Menocal Studio. Graphic design by Kelly Sung.


Duro Olowu Selects: Works from the Permanent Collection is made possible by the Marks Family Foundation Endowment Fund. Additional support is provided by the Cooper Hewitt Master’s Program Fund.

Printed fabric has a design of wheat sheaves in black against a background of orange and yellow.
The Glow of Althea McNish
Althea McNish (1924–2020) was one of the first Black women designers to receive international recognition for her achievements in design. Her textile Golden Harvest marks the beginning of a remarkable career for an under-recognized pioneer of 20th-century textile design.