So, the Lagos Fashion & Design Week is finally over. In the end I only made it to two shows (and I am really disappointed that I couldn’t make it for Saturday’s show), but I think overall it was a success for the sponsors and designers that showed. The fashion industry is still in its nascent stage in Nigeria and we can only go up from here. I just hope that our designers realise that the majority of them have so much to learn and that there’s so much infrastructure to put in place that they have their work cut out for them. I am constantly worried that too many of them believe that “they have arrived” and seem content to sit on their laurels and service their relatively tiny client base with mundane clothes.
The first day was very poorly attended with most guests leaving before the runway shows began. It seems the majority of people showed up for the exhibition that was being held in the adjacent hall earlier on in the day and to be caught by the photographers judging by how many I saw in photos on various style and fashion blogs and didn’t see during any of the shows. To be fair though, the runway shows started about two hours and thirty minutes later than scheduled. Nothing really stood out to me on the first day of shows. Ituen Basi had a really surreal short film/advert instead of a runway presentation that I feel could have benefited from some better directing and music choices. It basically presented her dream (my nightmare) of covering an entire house and homeowner with ankara fabrics. It even started with a little girl reading a book that had ankara pages!
Once her video was done we were treated to a runway show by MANGO. Yes, MANGO the high street store chain. The clothes were all nice enough I guess and the styling was pretty nice too. It felt like it was more of an advertisement to me, a way of reminding people that they had a store in Lagos.
After that, we were told to leave the hall for another thirty minutes while they prepped for the next show. This irked a lot of the guests (including myself) who did not understand what sort of preparations could be going on. We returned a little before thirty minutes had elapsed to find not much changed and the show continued.
Phunk Afrique then showed. The clothes themselves looked okay, but in motion the material to me just looked lacklustre and the designs themselves were pretty generic. I am really tired of seeing Nigerian women’s collections that are made up of gowns and long dresses made from this variation of chiffon and what looks to me like Rayon x Cupra. It was not inspiring when Tiffany Amber started doing it and it is still the same now. We really need to look for a different “basic look” for women over here.
Xclamations! and Koke showed after Phunk Afrique and the Okunoren Twins canceled for some reason so we didn’t get to see their runway (pretty sure I can imagine what it would have been though…). Xclamations! had some interesting ideas and had some nice prints and fabric, but overall I found Koke’s collection the most interesting of day 1 because of her execution and the way she used her fabric with very nice draping on a lot of the outfits. Not everything was a success, but overall I applauded her effort.
More photos of the various designers that showed can be found here.