Lagos Fashion Week can be described as Africa's leading fashion event - known to attract big names in the industry and for promoting both local designers and those from across the continent. The jam packed week consists of a series of events and initiatives which include swap shops, panel talks, runway shows and of course the after parties. Taking place in the countries creative capital, Lagos, over a 4 day period, we headed down to see what the hype was all about.
Lagos Fashion Week
The multi-day fashion event was founded in 2011 by Omoyemi Akerele, a Nigerian fashion mogul. Over 60 designers showcasing at onsite or offsite locations, attracting an estimated 3000 plus people in attendance. The crowd can be described as eclectic, with a diverse mix of people from journalists, fashion enthusiasts and corporate investors. The metropolitan island is known to be a city of hustle and bustle, with over 20 million residents, Lagos' fast pace is something that can immediately be noted once you land. This goes on to say that if you're planning to attend any events, give yourself enough time to avoid Lagos traffic also known as go slow.
When arriving at the Federal Palace Hotel, where the majority of shows take place, you are greeted by the buzzing, electric vibe. The venue has plenty outdoor space where guests are free to mingle and create content using branded props and displays. Inside the venue is a more immersive display with many of the event sponsors hosting pop-up style shops, including an open bar from Heineken.
The runway shows did not disappoint, with a mix of contemporary and more traditional African styles. Some of the designers that stood out to me were Rick Dusi, Abiola Olusola's tie dye, minimalistic collection and Elie Kuame's "Born In Africa" collection which portrayed wealthy African royalty using head pieces, exaggerated silhouettes and ruffled tulle: it was everything you would want to see on the runway of an African fashion show.
Odio Mimonet closed the show on Saturday evening with a beautiful display of colour and culture which she explained the rich use of embroidery and embellishments were to "further tell the story of sustainable fashion and traditional know how".
Lagos Fashion Week
Something that was noticeable throughout the course of events, was the lack of awareness to Nigeria's current state of disaster. An overwhelming number of people have died in the past month due to floods across the country with the BBC reporting 1.3 million people have been displaced, and more than 200,000 homes have been destroyed. There is also a heightened sense of insecurity as Nigeria undergoes its 2023 political rally which has disrupted a lot of the country's economic and environmental needs. Fashion is known worldwide for being a tool for activism and it would've been appropriate to see more brands or the Lagos Fashion Week organisation themselves, shed some light on these troubling issues.
That being said, Nigerian-American designer, Tia Adeola put on a showstopping runway performance, consisting of a solo ballerina opening and bold designs throughout. Tia was one of the very few designers who drew attention to the country's critical situation. Premiering a daring yet elegant sheer cowl neck dress with "God Help Nigeria" written boldly on the front.
Lagos Fashion Week
So to answer the question: Lagos Fashion Week is very much worth the hype! The joyful celebration of fashion brings together African creatives from across the globe for a fun filled array of activities. Beyond the runway shows, the energy surrounding the city during that period gives off very much"fashun". Streetstyle is taken very seriously with many attendees wearing custom designs made specifically for the event. There are also optimal opportunities to network and I would highly recommend attending the afterparties (if you can hack it).
Nigeria continues to be a talking point within many industries and Lagos Fashion Week is something to definitely add to your calendar if you're interested in discovering new and exciting designers or making new business opportunities.
Written by Misi Ogunlana, 2022