Before I start my ramblings on the instances I witnessed at the Nigeria Fashion Week, let me first mention that since my circumcision into the fashion/entertainment industry I’ve come to realize the very long list of to-do and not-do list which often don’t get followed but then that’s the way of life; things people say, things you see/hear and lastly things you choose to live by. And same is fashion.
Let me first introduce myself, my name is Adeola Ojedokun, a fashion-possessed writer/ blogger/coffee addict/poetry lover amongst other things. I have been given the priviledge to share my observations, suggestions and miss-giving about the just concluded Nigeria Fashion Week. And I’ll be reporting all that happened within the premises of Muson Centre, Onikan venue of the fashion week.
The 2011 edition of Nigeria Fashion Week featured daily fashion shows, exhibition/buyers & sellers lounges, workshops and after-event parties. The opening ceremony scheduled to begin by 10 am, Thursday, 17th November, commenced about 11:35am with a red carpet.
Opening the ceremony, Lexy Mojo Eyes organizer of the event addressed guests giving details on the schedule of event; according to Lexy, each day will feature two shows, the first to begin at 12noon, while the evening show will begin at 6pm. The theme of the Nigeria Fashion Week 2011 is 'Going Green'. This is with the goal of drawing attention to climate change issues by encouraging values that will ensure a sustainable environment.
Over 32 local designers, as well as international ones are expected to showcase their works. Some of these include Lagos-based Frank Osodi, O'makdesigns (Washington DC), Aremu Couture (Johannesburg), Ama Glow (Amsterdam), and Amakdesign (London). Others include Zizi Cardow (Lagos), Beldies La Mode (Abuja), Chrystalix (Cameroun), Fed Eboka, House of Misiano (Lagos), Frankoo Designs (Tanzania), Ra’cogh Couture (Lagos), Amksdesign (London), Poisa (Nairobi), Adebayo Jones (London), BebeGrafiti (Lagos), Serendipity (Abuja), Tangerine (Abuja), Modela Couture (Lagos) Amaksdesign (Lagos), Chrystalix (Cameroun) and a host of others.
For the first part of the pre-first day show few colleagues and I decided to take a quick trip through the backstage (which by the way should be referred to as the side track dressing table), the catwalk and the display room where the scheduled designers had their collections. The backstage which is supposed to possess the models, makeup artist and hairstylists looked nothing of such but on the contrary a store turned into a quick change room – quite out of the deserving.
There’s something so exciting about the catwalk show. There was a good use of colour, shape, textile development, and right measure of risk that altogether spiked my tranquil for colourful fashion trends. Of course in the midst of this enticing package there were bits of undismissable disappointment, like Zizi Cardow’s presentation, one of the shows I projected. For her collection, Zizi showed designs with daring cuts and sizes, most of the in and out cuts (if you know what I mean) revealed a lot, a very sure attribute of her designs, while Zizi still tried to cut her garments as ‘careful’ and ‘daring’ enough, for a Nigerian woman the cuts appear to go beyond the decent length, rather tend to unveil too much amount of skin. It breaks my heart even verbalizing the thought, but I guess that is the nature of the fashion business; it’s hard to reinvent yourself each season with something more than perfection. On the bright side of the catwalk was Dabo Fashion’s blossoming outfits, Toorad Couture intergalactic shields of armour, Bendtmark’s impressionistic prints, Aremu Couture’s Tribal remix, Theodora’s royal chic, and House of Jola’s pop culture femme fatale.
A large number of people may have seen most of the collections showcased at the Nigeria Fashion Week at one point or the other but each designer still endeavoured to bring out uniqueness out of each piece showcased. Designers played around with lots of accessories; beads, pearls, strings, pins, etc which really brought the best look out of each design. It could however be said that the Nigeria Fashion Week not just showcases designs but it showcases everything about African culture with a touch of fashion, the Nigerian style. I can tell specifically that getting to see some of those designs on the runway gave me a feeling that questioned my opinion; “Why represent fashion at all, if you cannot represent it in your own cultural way that also relates with everyone?”
From the beautiful African prints, the lovely accessories, the lush leather bags, to the textured fabrics and the simple details emphasized on each outfit which I must say brings quite uniqueness to each piece – it’s quite thrilling as well enigmatic that Nigerian fashion industry has come to standard but shall we say that the downgrade and miss-representation of quality is often construed poorly by those who claim to have been in the business for so long but lack the true definition of it’s worth.
In few words, the Nigeria Fashion Week can only qualify on a scale of average but considering standards, protocols and logistics the organizers of this event haven’t made any improvement to the entire package – perhaps just a change of venue gave a more relaxed atmosphere but definitely nothing worth commending.