All photo credits; Kola Oshalusi (insigna)
The most anticipated fashion show in Nigeria; Lagos Fashion Week has come and gone but it left most mesmerized, inspired, excited about the future and ready to swing into action.
The recurring global attention on the rich African culture; the arts, diversity and love for vibrant colours or the need for the industry to adopt growth strategies that could better place brands on the global scale may have informed the theme; Beyond Creativity. LFW founder, Omoyemi Akerele (who has become a renowned fashion authority for Africa) in a conversation with Nima on CNN in 2012 emphasized the need to look into industrialization, apparel manufacturing, retail structure and creating meaningful impact for future generation.
The week started with the usual private Fashion Business Series ‘The Gathering’ where stakeholders in the fashion space discussed the current state of the industry and the need for Africans to value their craft. Richelieu Dennis; CEO of Essence Ventures, Bandana Tewari, Selly Raby Kane and Hirofumi Kurino where keynote speakers for the evening. Subsequent days started off with a number of insightful panel discussions during the day flaked with photo sessions at the photo booths and on the streets. Nigerians never pass on an opportunity to dress up and take pictures and a good number of photographers were at the venue (Federal Palace Hotel) to capture the best street styles. The crest of it all where the shows in the evening.
With approximately 40 brands on the runway (mostly Nigerian) and an average offline audience of 600 people per day for 3 days Lagos Fashion Week remains a magnetic pull for the African Fashion Industry. Like every well put together fashion show, there is the constant desire to charm the audience and create remarkable moments. A few noteworthy brands that left their imprints this year were DZYN captivating with the Rise Collection, Studio 189, Sisiano with the theatrics, Christie Brown and Style Temple with painstaking craftsmanship, Tokyo James, Mai Atafo who used the show as a medium to introduce the rebrand to ‘Atafo’ and entertained with a live band and Ugo Monye with the brilliant Wazalendo collection
Pieces on the runway echoed a few global trends we expect to see next summer; power suits, corsets and pleats to name a few.
Celebrities and influencers walking the runway for brands has become a norm as they create memorable moments and receive the most cheers from the audience; a strategic play that could impact the brand positively; improved brand awareness is one.
The impact of fashion shows such as LFW on the industry
A glimpse at the number of people gainfully employed during shows such as LFW; the activities and media indicate the impact the industry has on the economy. It has been alleged that the fashion industry is the second largest contributor to Nigeria’s manufacturing. It also has been alleged that the industry recorded a growth of 20% in 2017; growing faster than the Nigerian economy. Now there are more fashion shows, more fashion SMEs and increasing number of investors. LFW was sponsored by Heineken, Sunlight, Fetswallet, DSTV, Techno, Alara Foundation, Farouz, Darling and NEPC.
Beyond creativity lies an industry still in need a number of changes and innovation in order to reach its potential.