HEINEKEN LAGOS FASHION DESIGN WEEK 2016

HEINEKEN LAGOS FASHION DESIGN WEEK 2016

The Heineken Lagos Fashion Design Week (LFDW) 2016 recently held to great success at the Federal Palace Hotel and Casino. Now in its 6th year, it was themed Connecting the Dots, and well attended by models, fashion designers, bloggers, celebrities and style arbiters alike. This 4-day event over the past 6 years has featured master classes and seminars on topics relevant to our burgeoning fashion industry in addition to daily fashion, lifestyle exhibitions and runway shows. Fashion and modeling competitions organised within the LFDW have over the years, propelled the works of budding talents to limelight. This year’s package had 2 new and interesting additions that will hopefully remain permanent fixtures; a plus size models’ and clothes showcase led by Latasha Ngwube, the founder of About That Curvy Life (fashion is not only for the slim ones) and the Heineken Experience Tunnel photography booth set up by leading fashion photographer, Kelechi Amadi-Obi. Under the Fashion Business Series, there were also enlightening seminars and presentations about the fashion and textile industry facilitated by organisations like the African Development Bank and the British Council. Agatha’s Interiors provided furniture and props for the booth while the set design and construction was by Oma Collections, another interior design outfit in Lagos, underscoring the synergy within the industry.

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Image credits: Kelechi Amadi-Obi

Omoyemi Akerele under her Style House Files founded the Lagos Fashion Design Week to further enhance the Nigerian fashion industry by raising, support and promoting emerging and established models and designers. In the first two years, MTN Communications were headline sponsors followed by GTBank for the next 2 years. Last year, the international premium beer brand, Heineken joined as sponsors. I however observed that quite a number of times over the years, the same designers show their collections with only a few new names. If the days are extended and the daily shows start earlier, I presume there could be more designers showing their work. As was showcased, many talents abound in Nigeria and Africa.

Over 40 collections from Nigeria and across Africa were presented on the runway over the 4 days. Ejiro Amos Tafiri and Mai Atafo, both fast rising designers, displayed their Heineken-supported customized designs which 2 lucky people won after buying a 6-can Heineken pack.  It was great to see companies and organizations like Nigerian Export Promotion Council, Maybelline, British Council, Vlisco, Jumia and Sterling Bank supporting our creative industries. Hopefully, this will be sustained with even more indigenous brands supporting our creative industry. There were few menswear designers like Kelechi Odu, T.I. Nathan, Tokyo James, and Naked Ape whose collection utilized black, blue and white to very good effect. Unisex designers like South African David Tlale also showed a creative, cohesive and quirky detailed 4-part collection that people loved. There was also Kenneth Ize, Orange Culture, and Nkwo whose knotted denim and indigo was combined with white organza using a lion’s head motif in some looks. Mai Atafo also showcased a beautiful wedding collection that lit the runway. Most of the other designers focused on womenswear like LDA, Lisa Folawiyo, with Amede who featured some elegant tie-dye and batik work, Bridget Awosika, Kiki Kamanu, Washington Roberts, Tsemaye Binitie, Ethiopian Fikitrte Addis of Yefikir with her asymmetrical, fluid and drapey designs and crotchet details and a minimalist palette of white, beige and yellow.

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About That Curvy Life Collective. Latasha Ngwube the founder of About That Curvy Life put together a collective of designers making clothes for plus size women. The collective included Makioba, MaBello Clothier, Aisha Abu Bakr, Tosfa and Assian.

Rayo’s sandy palette and tasseled raffia hats inspired the deserts while Ibrahim of House of Kaya presented brightly coloured, stately clothes with swathes and yards of flowing fabrics – ultra feminine without any show of flesh. Ruff and Tumble children’s wear designer’s presentation had models sporting t-shirts with the same message “Shop Locally” while Bridget Awosika’s city styled looks featured paintings and appliqué of tarmac designs, buntings and awnings. Tastefully styled Mai Atafo Weddings extravaganza showed a selection of cuts and styles of suits for the groom and his men including single buttoned, double-breasted and tailcoats. The women were not left behind with traditional and contemporary wedding gowns, suits, shirts and trousers added to the looks and capped with veils, fascinators, top hats and tiaras. Kaline Akinkugbe performed her original song Ololufemi and covers for some other ballads like Seal’s Kiss from a Rose and Jason Mraz’s I am Yours, which she customized and arranged to the timing and themes for the collection as the models walked the ramp. Known for the dramatic in Atafo’s last look was a fairy tale like wedding gown, which revealed more details when the Princess Diana-sque train is detached. Drawing much applause on a comedienne, compere and actor Chioma Omeruah also walked down the runway donning Kiki Kamanu’s pop-culture and United States politics inspired collection. Later, Waje performed some of her songs live for Wanger Ayu’s presentation. Vlisco, the 170-year old textile company and one of the sponsors of the event showcased their beautiful ready-to-wear collection followed by a presentation by Maybelline the makeup sponsor for the show. The fashion carnival closed with the ‘Live Your Music’ party headlined by American singer T-Pain.

Naked Ape‘s collection was a heady and stylish mix urban, lounge wear and tailored separates with several touches of Africa via hand-woven, textiles used beautifully. The colours – white, black and blue, made a bold, cohesive collection more appealing to style sensibilities.

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Rayo’s nomadic and desert moods inspired collection styled with raffia sun hats.

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In Amede’s collection, we saw a medley of beautifully draped tie-dye fabrics, much like chiffons.

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House of Vaya

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Bridget Awosika

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The Weddings by Mai Atafo was the only wedding collection at Lagos Fashion and Design Week this year and was complemented by befitting decor. Kaline who performed the songs for the runway presentation was dressed in one of Mai Atafo‘s creations – her signature performance blazer and shorts.

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Vlisco showcase

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Washington Roberts’s collection was an eclectic mix, which celebrated the spirit of Lagos with ‘Eyo’ appliqué on some designs, highlighted the play of warm against cool colours, primary against secondary colours. Analogous and complimentary colours were also skillfully included to heighten the drama.

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Kiki Kamanu

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Image credits: Kola Ohalusi (Insignia)/BellaNaija.


Adebimpe Adebambo is the Business Development Officer at Revilo, an art and culture publishing company. She studied Painting at the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos. Adebambo is also a fashion and accessories designer, and her work is concerned with environmental sustainability and recycling. She debuted as a costume designer on Tunde Kelani's award-winning film Dazzling Mirage, garnering for her efforts, 2 nominations in 2015 for an Africa Magic Viewers' Choice Award and an African Movie Academy Award for Best Costume Designer and Achievement in Costume Design, respectively. Adebimpe Adebambo loves to write and is presently working on a storybook.