In 2004, Olowu launched a women's wear label under his own name, beginning with the Spring/Summer 2005 collection. A high-waisted patchwork skirt from that collection, later dubbed the "Duro," developed a cult following after being discovered and publicized by American Vogue editor Sally Singer and Julie Gilhart of Barneys New York, leading to it being hailed the dress of the year by both British and American Vogue. In 2005, he was named London Fashion Week's New Designer of the Year, the only designer to do so without having a catwalk show. In 2009, he was named the Best International Designer by the African Fashion Awards and received one of six nominations for the Swiss Textile Federation's coveted prize of €100,000. In October 2012, Olowu announced a partnership with J. C. Penney. Under the label "Duro Olowu for jcp," consumers could purchase clothing, accessories, and paper and home goods with his signature bold prints. Duro Olowu has enjoyed support from American First Lady Michelle Obama, who frequently wears his designs. “Michelle Obama was a real supporter and I felt very honoured because she wore very few non-American designers” Olowu said in an interview. Michelle Obama also engaged Olowu in decorating the White House for Christmas 2015, where he decorated the Vermeil Room with ornate trappings and teddy bears made of vintage African fabrics. The designer said, "My idea [was] to create a beautiful feast for the eyes reminiscent of a warm and joyful season filled with international treasures and signature fabrics."