This Year at Lagos Fashion and Design Week
The Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW2017) is easily one of the biggest events on the Nigerian cultural calendar with much of the publicity centered on the outrageous outfits worn to the three-day show by celebrities and fashion enthusiasts, as well as exquisite new collections presented by established and emerging designers.
In this article, we profile 10 of the most exciting brands that graced the runway at this year’s edition.
Ejiro Amos Tafiri
Ejiro Amos Tafiri (E.A.T) is a fast-growing brand on the Nigerian fashion scene by Yaba College of Technology graduate, Ejiro Amos-Tafiri. The designer honed her skills at Zizi Cardow and Tiffany Amber and since establishing her label in 2010, has made significant progress to establish E.A.T as a well-known brand among fashion enthusiasts and clients looking for a glamorous, indie-inspired piece. E.A.T also offers haute couture services and takes pride in the production of clothing and accessories influenced by the vibrant, fun-loving, culture of Lagos which stems from the diversity of her people. In addition, the brand produces a ready-to-wear line with accompanying accessories for women and men.
Born in Brazil and raised between Côte d’Ivoire and the United States, Loza Maléombho began designing when she was 13, graduating in 2006 from the University of the Arts of Philadelphia with a BA in animation. Her career took off when she interned with New York-based designers Jill Stuart, Yigal Azrouël and Cynthia Rowley, which inspired her to establish her own design company in New York City in 2009 before relocating to Côte d’Ivoire in 2012. Her brand is best described as a fusion between traditional cultures/sub-cultures and contemporary fashion. Her pieces celebrate the paradox of the old and the new, not just culturally and futuristically, but more specifically, the synergies, contradictions and similarities between Ivorian tribal aesthetics and New York’s urban fashion.
Uju Offiah is the creative director of Meena, a fast-rising Nigerian fashion label described as cosmopolitan and dealing mainly in ready-to-wear lines. Offiah began her career as a protégé under award-winning Nigerian designer, Ituen Basi. Since launching in December 2010, Meena has made a name by incorporating strong shapes and well-defined lines reminiscent of modern architecture while accentuating the feminine form.
Bridget Awosika draws her strength from her ability to claim a stake in the African fashion industry, without having to rely on “African prints”. Her brand is one of the first truly international brands seen to emerge from the new crop of young Nigerian designers. Her style is clearly geared at the young, fashion-forward, African woman who views herself correctly as a global citizen.
Style Temple is a contemporary African fashion brand created by Og Okonkwo, who has always had an eye for design and elegance. She grew up surrounded by extremely creative and stylish women in her family, who inspired her to pursue her dream to become a designer. The Style Temple’s aesthetics is a combination of classic yet modern fashion and a play on the balance between the feminine and edgy. The ready-to-wear line is a mixture of structured pieces with a couture edge, clean geometric cuts and shapes with a standout detail.
Founded by multilingual Kiki Kamanu, this eponymously-named Nigerian fashion label appeared on several runways including ARISE Magazine Fashion Week and twice at London Fashion Week. Kiki Kamanu has also been featured in major American, British, Russian and Turkish media networks including CNN International. Her eclectic collections also offer vibrant accessories including sassy shoes, totes and handbags. Prior to establishing her own label, she worked with Ford modelling agency in Boston and had the honour of modelling for several major designers including Chanel and Gucci.
Adebayo Oke-Lawal is the creative director of androgynous fashion label Orange Culture. He holds a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s degree in business and international management from Newcastle Business School, England. Lawal built his portfolio while he was a member of the creative collective of stylists called BUBAAI but left the group in 2011, to establish Orange Culture. Since then, he has achieved enormous success has been featured in several publications including Vogue, Elle, Voice of America, Financial Times and Wings.
Founded in 2010 by Caterina Bortolussi and Francesca Rosset, Kinabuti was inspired by a long-term vision for the African fashion industry. Its iconic Afro-urban style brings cultures together by combining exquisite “African textiles” with Italian design. Its ethical business efforts are focused on inclusive development, empowering women and young people in the community to result in positive and meaningful social change.
British-Nigerian designer Tokyo James studied mathematics at Queen Mary University London. The Tokyo James brand is for modern men who want simplicity with an edge. With an emphasis on traditional techniques and clean lines, the brand owes its core competence to the designer’s philosophy— creating and living your individuality.
Nigerian fashion label I.AM.ISIGO seeks to create a striking awareness of the fusion of African culture with an audacious yet minimal design aesthetic. Established as an independent brand in 2009 and rebranded in 2013, I.AM.ISIGO is now primarily based in Lagos with a showroom, along with retail stores in Lagos, Accra, Lusaka, London, Johannesburg, Addis Ababa and Paris. I.AM.ISIGO has exhibited at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015, the International Fashion Showcase (London Fashion Week) in February 2015 and South Africa Fashion Week Exhibition Durban in May 2015.
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