Retrospective – 5 Years Of Lagos Fashion And Design Week

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As the annual African fashion circus sets sail for the fashion capital of Lagos to present their visions for Spring/Summer 2016 for this year’s edition of Lagos Fashion and Design week, it’s important  to reflect on the defining moments that have positively shaped the Nigerian fashion community through its runway.

Although still considered a baby in the eyes of the international fashion community as major fashion weeks in Paris (1973), Milan (1958), New York (1943) and London (1984) have been inaugurated from the time of World War II, LFDW makes up for its youthfulness with its originality by establishing designers that are authentically African and embracing contemporary realities with relevance to the culture and environment where it is being sold.

As a leading fashion event on the African fashion calendar, editors, buyers and bloggers from around the globe flock to Lagos to witness the offerings of the Africa’s hautest designers, live in the fashion capital of Lagos. Through the tireless efforts of Omoyemi Akerele (CEO of Style House Files), the LFDW platform has pioneered the brightest talents in Nigeria beyond the shores of the continent.

Every show on the schedule is a promise of artisan skill, innovation and creativity and in celebration of its return and 5th anniversary, here are some of the most iconic moments from Lagos Fashion and Design Week gone by…

2011 The Year of Pleasant Surprises 

LFDW 2011 was the stepping stone for new age creativity in Nigerian fashion, with stellar designs that possessed a new sense of what it meant to be African. Menswear designer Kelechi Odu reinvented the idea of manliness with a perfect mixture of traditional Western wear fused with African accents, incorporating soft hues like salmon, pink, yellow and still maintained strong masculine attributes. Jewel by Lisa (now Lisa Folawiyo) covered every aspect of women’s day and eveningwear with long/short dresses, pant suits, shorts and skirts. All her pieces were purely feminine incorporated through beautiful prints with beaded details and accessories. Anita Quansah decided to take things to another level by having one of her models ride a power bike on the runway while rocking one of her stunning embellished swimsuit pieces, however it was Maki Oh’s collection that delivered the fiercest runway moment, as four of her models simultaneously hit the runway like the girls from Charlie’s Angels leaving a blazing trail of hautness.

Kenneth Odu

Kelechi Odu

Kelechi Odu

 

Jewel By Lisa

Jewel by Lisa

Jewel by Lisa

Jewel by Lisa

 

Anita Quansah

Anita Quansah

Anita Quansah

Anita Quansah

 

Maki Oh

Maki Oh
Maki Oh
Maki Oh
Maki Oh

 

Bridget Awosika

Bridget Awosika Lagos Fashion and design Week 2011 runway

Bridget Awosika LFDW 2011

 

Grey

GREY Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2011

GREY 2 LFDW 2011

 

Gozi

GOZI LFDW 2011 2

GOZI menswear Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2011

 

Kiki Kamanu

KIKI KIMANU 2 LFDW 2011

 

Odio Mimonet

Odio Mimonet 2 LFDW 2011

Odio Mimonet Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2011 runway

 

MTN LFDW 2011 Awards had 3 categories, The MTN British Council Young Designer of the Year, won by Binta Shuaibu who went home with a car, Master Classes facilitated by British Council and a 3 month presence at Le Petit Marche’s monthly pop up store. MTN British Council Young Creative Entrepreneur Ayotomi Rotimi went home with one million Naira and a tour of the United Kingdom’s Fashion Capital during London Fashion Week by British Council.

 

2012 Reinventing Tribal Aesthetics 

The 2012 edition of Lagos Fashion and Design week established the art of mixing and matching Ankara prints in a fashion that seemed cacophonic but bursting with African artistry. Jewel by Lisa regaled us with the story of the northern Fulani woman by mixing colours and matching different prints with delicate handmade embellishments. Lanre Da Silva Ajayi’s collection was a rich mix of luxurious embroidery on lace, organza, and chiffon with a hint of romance that left the crowd love-struck while Re Bahia’s collection radiated urban chic seduction with its well defined striped patterns and Mai Atafo’s long line of cool blue suits and fairytale wedding gowns was a match made in heaven.

Grey pushed the boundaries of its ready to wear womenswear into menswear for the first time on the runway and LFDW guest designer Omer Asim’s collection featured remarkable simplicity and neutral colours with a palest hint of colour to explore the designer’s love for texture using fabrics as its artistic tool. Bridget Awosika returned to her minimalist aesthetic, exploring white, grey, beige and pastel touches as colours for presenting a collection with an underlying tone of softness, exuding sexiness with classy cutouts ruffled details.

Bridget Awosika

Bridget Awosika LFDW 2012 2

Bridget Awosika

 

The LFDW 2012 young designer competition was won by Josh Samuels who walked away with £25,000 and retail concessions alongside his runners up Orange Culture, House of Silk, and Meena. LFDW 2012 ended with the LFDW 2012 international guest designer showcase from Matthew Williamson.

Josh Samuels

Josh Samuels LFDW 2012

Josh Samuel 2012 LFDW 2

 

Anita Quansah 

Anita Quansah
Anita Quansah
Anita Quansah
Anita Quansah

 

Iconic Invanity

Iconic Invanity Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012

Iconic Invanity LFDW 2012 2

 

Jewel by Lisa

Jewel by Lisa Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012

Jewel by Lisa 2 LFDW 2012

 

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi LDA LFDW 2012

 

Mai Atafo

Mai Atafo Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012

Mai Atafo LFDW 2012 2

 

Re Bahia

RE BAHIA Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012

RE BAHIA LFDW 2012 2

 

Tiffany Amber

Tiffany Amber Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2012

Tiffany Amber LFDW 2012 2

 

Matthew Williamson

Matthew Williamson Lagos Fashion and Design Weeek LFDW 2012

 

 

2013 A Kaleidoscope Of Trailblazers

The runway was a battlefield as both the A-List designers and newcomers took us on a trip to fashion fantasy land with jaw dropping designs. Bridget Awosika returned her usual minimalist aesthetic with sheath dresses with fringe details and graphic details on sheer fabric in light summer colours . Lanre Da Silva Ajayi showcased pieces from her Colour Storm collection with eye-popping prints and exquisite cuts, her pieces reflecting the style of the 80s in a kaleidoscope of modern day colours. Tiffany Amber showcased her Nirvana collection; the pieces featured Tie dye/Batik patterns with a fusion of colourful spring artistry while Jewel by Lisa showcased pieces from her Bicycles & Acorns collection playing up her usual love for prints with beaded details. Lisa Folawiyo also redefined the process of infusing Nigerian fabrics and prints with a modern twist, with a fantastic mix of colour even on her monochrome pieces.

The runway was bursting with creativity as some of the designers showcased the most original aesthetics in the history of African Fashion.  Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh featured some of the pieces from her New York Fashion Week 2013 collection centered around the tales of a “woman”, interpreting the many roles of the African woman with fringe apron details, coconut shells, and embedded numbers on tie and dye fabric while iamISIGO’s Blood and Bones collection drew its inspiration from exploring and celebrating the human body through a unique combination of colours. The burgundy pieces were a representation a more formal, sultry and sophisticated look, while the beige/light brown designs have a rural but feminine look to illustrate a minimalist idea of toned down formal and sophisticated style. Iconic Invanity showcased pieces from her Elements collection in a fabulous tale of eye-catching embellishments on sheer lace fabrics and Ankara prints. Orange Culture’s pieces beamed with a hint androgyny using organza, silk and Ankara fabrics to represent the feminine side of manliness;  Male models strut out in metallic shimmery blue, gold and silver brows coupled with gold, green and silver laurel wreaths to illustrate the story of Greek gods with a modern day fashion twist.

Iconic Invanity

Iconic Invanity Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2013

 

Orange CultureOrange Culture 2013 Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 3

Orange Culture Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2013 2

Orange Culture Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2013

Rodney Emeka, the Creative Director of McMeka, won the MTN Young Designer of the Year competition at the Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2013 for his seriously dapper take on bespoke tailoring with The Man About Town collection.

 

2014 The Originals

The runway suffered a great deal of inconsistent and forgettable collections at LFDW 2014, too many brands copied designs from the last LFDW and a lot of those trends and patterns were actually not well thought out in the first place.

However, despite the alarming increase in copycats a hand full of runway royals and fresh talents reminded us of what it meant to be original. Soboye’s collection was about the basics with sweatshirts, straight cut pants and blazers for both men and women constructed from Ankara fabrics illustrating the perfect union between London and Nigerian fashion while newcomer T.I Nathan showcased pieces from PERSPECTIVE, a collection narrating the Illusion of “knowledge” with three basic colours: white, navy and red. His style was dashingly futuristic with hooded blazers, asymmetrical cuts, mesh tops, zips and funky prints.

Soboye

Soboye LFDW 2014

Soboye Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

 

T.I Nathan

T.I Nathan Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

T.I Nathan Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

 

Kenneth Ize’s collection had a rustic architectural minimalist theme as he exploited his roots by using the traditional clothing of the Fulani as a starting point, featuring trousers with carefully placed slits and well-constructed pockets.  McMeka returned to the runway after his big win at LFDW 2013 with the collection The Classicist, featuring graphic prints of music notes, trench coats, double breasted blazers, rich velvet blazers and laser sharp tailoring. His collection reinterpreted the meaning of bespoke tailoring with a fun and edgy turn.

Kenneth Ize

Kenneth Ize Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Kenneth Ize Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

 

McMeka

McMeka 2014 Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2

McMeka Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 3

McMeka Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

 

Maki Oh’s pieces hit the runway in a fluid and Adire infused theme, exploring some intriguing ideas about femininity, virginity and the exploitation of the female sex as a sexual object. From vulva prints over shorts to a constellation prints done in adire, her pieces evoked a virgin bride’s last night as a single woman before going to her husband’s bed in order to consummate their union. The boxy shapes, the diagonal cuts, the midi and the high slit gave a more lucid clarification of what it meant to be a sexual female being.

iamISIGO’s Taboo collection was also centered on a nomadic Fulani group (the Wodaabe), a tribe celebrated for their beautiful culture; elaborate ceremonies and eye-catching attires and also known as ‘People of the Taboo’. Using fabrics that run the gamete from knitted metallic fibers to crinkled taffeta, needle lace to Gabardine, and more, the collection featured ponchos, trousers, skorts, bomber jackets and strapless pieces in navy blue, beige, indigo, army green and black colours.

Iconic Invanity made her return as the crowned queen of runway luxury with the Rhythm collection. A wide array of pieces ranging from crisp white embellished cape dresses symbolizing royalty with beaded geometrical abstracts to the bold coloured heavily bedazzled and structured separates.

Maki Oh

Maki Oh LFDW 2014

Maki Oh Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

Maki-Oh-GTBank-LFDW-October2014-BellaNaija001

 

iamISIGO

IamIsigo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

IamIsigo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

 

Iconic Invanity

Iconic Invanity Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Iconic Invanity Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

Lisa Folawiyo’s collection was a mix of African print in a seemingly “un-African” style, with features like structured cuts, muted tones, pleats, layering and asymmetric hemlines with surprising playful, colorful details overlaying the structures.

Orange Culture’s pieces were quirky with an artisan expression of the story behind its theme Pieces of H.E.R, the pieces had images of women adorned in beads, crowns and beautiful hairstyles adding to the ode to H.E.R.

The Mai Atafo Inspired collection was such a suave one with long line pastel colours for men and even going into a few bright bespoke pieces in pink, florals and Denim. For the women MAI went a bit more African with Niger-delta inspired designs in maxi dresses, cropped tops with talking drum shaped bags and bowler hats.

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi showcased pieces from her Rock Delight collection with was originally inspired by the Olumo Rock landmark, interpreted with basic silhouettes; shift and cocktail dresses, cropped tops, peplum and ball gowns. The Okunoren twins were amongst the last designers to showcase at Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2014 showcasing a tribute collection to the late designer Remi Lagos who passed away three years ago. The pieces featured sleek designs, and fine tailoring, in a combination of sharp and casual suits designs made from velvet, pique, fine pure wool and gorgeous embroidery.

Lisa Folawiyo

Lisa Folawiyo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Lisa Folawiyo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

 

Orange Culture

Orange Culture Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Orange Culture Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

Orange Culture Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 3

Orange-Culture-Day3-GTBank-LFDW-October2014

 

Mai Atafo Inspired

Mai Atafo LFDW 2014

Mai Atafo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

Mai Atafo Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 3

Mai Atafo LFDW 2014 4

Mai Atafo LFDW 2014 5

 

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

Lanre Da Silva Ajayi Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 3

 

Okunoren

Okunoren Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014

Okunoren Lagos Fashion and Design Week LFDW 2014 2

 

2015 High Expectations 

With the ground breaking experience and innovation birthed on the Lagos Fashion and Design Week runway landmark since its inauguration in 2011, the 2015 edition beams with high hopes of spectacular fashion. From the purely creative red carpet outfits from the likes of Latasha Nwube, Mrs. Nkiru Anumudu, Yegwa Ukpo and many others to the trailblazing aesthetics on the runway from Fashion royals like Maki Oh, Lisa Folawiyo, Iconic Invanity, Orange Culture and many others.

The top ten colors for men’s and women’s fashion for Spring 2016 are Rose Quartz, Peach Echo, Serenity, Snorkel Blue, Buttercup, Limpet Shell, Lilac Gray, Fiesta, Iced Coffee and Green Flash. These colours are already making waves on the international runways and we can’t wait to see how our African designers incorporate them with the hottest fashion trends for S/S16.

 

 

4 COMMENTS

  1. This is such an amazing write up!Thank you Emmanuel for the research and effort that went into this piece. Makes for a great historical read!! #Sharing

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