Genevieve Article: My Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2015 Experience
The 5th edition of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week (‘LFDW’) was an experience as usual and it gets better every year. I have nothing but praise for the organizers and everyone involved in LFDW because they have done a stand up job and I’m super impressed at how well executed the show was this year.
I couldn’t attend Days 1 and 4 because I had other commitments but the days I did attend I have very little complaints.
My only grouse would have to be how late the shows started every day. I know this is Nigeria and I know nobody gets anywhere on time but it is possible to put aside such thinking and improve. The shows started approximately 2 and a half hours after the advertised start time…every day. The guests were no better and the tent didn’t fill up till about 8 or 9pm daily. Everybody collectively…organizers and guests alike need to do better.
On Day 2, I came to the show after a long day in court and getting all gussied up was the last thing on my mind;
I kept it very simple in a mens t-shirt by Heathe, latex leggings and gladiator sandals.
Day 3, I wasn’t so busy and actually put a bit more effort into it;
In a maxi skirt by Maju and a simple crop top.
My absolute favorite collections this year were ones that I liked all the clothes as a whole and not just an individual piece here and there. That tends to happen a lot where I like one outfit and think the rest look like turds, and it just sort of spoils it for me. Luckily there were so many good ones this year and I was able to build up quite the repertoire.
Meena is an absolute force of nature in the most subtle, refined way ever. I get how that can be contradictory but it makes sense in the fact that her designs are so deceptively simple that you don’t initially realize the intricacy that goes into them, then once you do it hits you. Meena is probably the most consistent Nigerian designer today as every single collection she produces receives rave reviews, she never puts a foot out of place and this collection was no different.
EJIRO AMOS TAFIRI
My very first Nigerian designer outfit was by EAT and I’ve been a fan since time. She is also steadily consistent and is known for switching up her game and still bringing it constantly. Ejiro goes from ankara to jersey to structure to free-flowing and remains true to her design aesthetic of producing wearable, fabulous clothes every-time. This collection was inspired by stained glass windows in Spanish cathedrals.
Moofa was beautiful. Gorgeous, jaw-dropping outfit after outfit. The collection was inspired by butterflies and every outfit served ethereal, gossamer-like…almost fairytale clothes. It was such a pretty, feminine but still strong line-up.
I thought this collection was very interesting and it was one of the few that stood out for me. I’d actually never heard of the designer till the day of the show so I had no expectations. I felt like a lot of the clothes were very…me. Fitted, clean lines, cut-outs, originality….they didn’t hit me like a sledge-hammer but they worked their way under my skin. Definitely going to be following this designers progress. I’m very interested in what she does next.
Andrea Iyamah is the first Nigerian designer to do swimwear and she didn’t just give us basic, she came so hard she spawned international copycats (hi Draya!). I love the fact that she made it cool to be super creative with swimsuits, knowing that some of us wear swimsuits just to stunt, with zero intention of getting into any sort of water. Andrea Iyamah does it for coloured girls who have no intention of getting their hair wet. We can just lay by the pool and look bad.
On the other hand, a couple of collections stood out for me for completely different reasons.
Maki Oh is a really good designer. Creativity, detail, fantastic finishing and wearability…she ticks points across the board. However I’ve never really understood the maelstrom that surrounds her. I know she’s supposed to be the Nigerian fashion’s golden girl but I can’t see why. Yes…Michelle Obama, Solange etc; doesn’t take away from the fact that for me, her designs never live up to the hype that’s created around them. PR is a hell of a thing.
This was a very entertaining show. Someone sat beside me, in a very bewildered voice, described it as servants uniforms. I thought it looked like dystopian couture. Like something the inhabitants of District 11 would wear while harvesting crops for the Capitol.
It was of course not all sunshine and rainbows, there were a few collections that rubbed me the wrong way. A lot of the collections shown over the course of the 4 days were very forgettable, they might have been pretty but none of them stuck so I can’t remember. Some were just ridiculous and I really want to assume they were shown for shock value but I suspect those designers really believed in the genius of their effort and were not showing us what they did to elicit a response and get conversation started.
When it comes to fashion I am well aware that a lot of it is art and is to be respected as such. But forgive me for expecting clothes…to be wearable. I mean I understand wanting to give a show, to show how creative and different from the pack one can be. What I don’t get is sacrificing this false sense of superiority over good sense and retail value.
Lagos Fashion and Design Week is the madhouse in which all these different aesthetics exist and flourish and I can’t wait to see what happens next year.
This post was originally published on genevieveng.com under the column, Daks In The City, written by Adaku Ufere HERE