#StyleByZenith2019: Focus on Banking; Leave Fashion Alone!

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Fashion week… Fashion weekend …Fashion souk… Do any of these ring a bell? Yes, well
just like any other trend, we are now faced with the dreaded trend of fashion events.

Fashion events that are irrelevant, off calendar and off base. Plain and simply put: these
events are pointless. More and more, I’m beginning to see that these fashion events
exist for pure entertainment. They are literally being done just for banks to show that
they have “something going on”. And this is very, VERY obvious.

Let’s take it back a few years. GT Bank, known for their bright orange logo, decided to
delve into the world of lifestyle. They took it a step further and delved into fashion. First, they started with sponsorship, then they backed Arise Fashion Week and later Lagos Fashion Week until another brand, Heineken took over.

I guess instead of focusing on how to keep their mobile apps functioning properly, they
decided that this was sign for them to start their own fashion week/weekend/show thing.

Every year, around this time, they fly in big names in the fashion world and open up
Landmark to fashion entrepreneurs in hopes of selling not only tangible fashion pieces,
but the idea that the Nigerian fashion industry is marketable. They’ve done a pretty
decent job at this, they seem to be the only bank that has gotten a grip of how the
fashion world works, and how they can be of benefit to fashion designers and
entrepreneurs.

Can the same be said about StyleByZenith? Absolutely not. In fact, the opposite is the exact case. Zenith Bank, what was that?! What was that flop of a show?!

Zenith Bank is known to be good at a lot of things, but as evidenced by what happened over the weekend, delving into fashion is definitely not one of them. Yeah, we  look forward to their pretty lights in December, but I can’t say that we look forward to their attempt at taking on the complexities of the fashion world. Last year, they launched their StyleByZenith initiative, one that took place right in the middle of the festive
season.

I found out about it through other influencers and not really from advertisements from
their end. According to an insider, the company that planned and managed the event –
FashionOne – didn’t really seem to know much about how anything, including fashion
shows, work. Let’s take it step by step, so that we can see why I’m so annoyed.

FashionOne as you may or may not know (you probably don’t) is a television station
and to be completely honest, as I’m typing this article, I’m still trying to understand why
they were selected to do it. According to an insider, they straight up lied about certain
designers that were coming (Dolce & Gabbana) and also promised a host that allegedly was in Nigeria, but couldn’t make it. Mhmm, maybe it was the traffic?

Anyways, let’s get back to it; The StyleByZenith event last year was a complete flop.
From musical performers leaving due to no production, to the fact that the event was
planned A WEEK BEFORE.

Now with all of this terrible feedback, you would think Zenith would go back to the
drawing board and outdo themselves. Well, depending on your outlook, they actually did
outdo themselves. Just when we all thought it couldn’t get any worse… it did! The marketing was awful;. I’m sure you can tell that I wasn’t impressed by the
advertising from last year. This year wasn’t any better.

Look at how they completely disrespected the beautiful Bolanle, from their iPhone 6
videography, to the setting… everything was just plain wrong. Someone approved that
video; someone said, “yes, this will work as an advertisement for our event”. That
‘someone’ needs to be fired, but that’s a conversation for another day.

To be fair, Zenith stepped it up a bit: I saw a few billboards on the Lekki-Epe
Expressway, three or so days before the event. But what’s my business with a billboard
when I’m trying to zig-zag between buses and bikes? Also, if you were to ask my what
the billboard said, I wouldn’t be able to tell you.

Then let’s move to their social media “campaign”. If you weren’t too observant, you
would think they were advertising for a new season of Big Brother Naija with the way
the used this year’s contestants to promote the event.

I try not to believe in omens, but usually poor advertising promises a poor event. And
guess what? They kept that promise, extremely well!

Just a simple search of the hashtag #StyleByZenith would show you videos of maybe
100 people trying to fill up spaces that are potentially meant to hold 1000s. Pretty bad,
right? It gets better: entire shows were cancelled, the DAY OF.

Even the shows that took place were a disaster. Multiple attendees noted that there was
ZERO security. People could freely walk backstage and they were given free reign to
harass the models. Oh, you thought the 100 people in attendance were people who
were actually interested in the event? Nope, of the 100 people, probably 80 of them
were “local champions”, for lack of a better term. Just take a look at this:

The models not only had to fight off being harassed by touts, but they also had to walk
from the make-shift “backstage” in the sand to get to the stage, one that was not even
properly set up.

In summary, everything went extremely wrong, from frying pan into the fire kind of
wrong. We can come up with all kinds of theories as to why the show went wrong, but
I’m not into complicating things. Zenith and every other bank: LEAVE THIS FASHION
THING ALONE.

I mean what are you really doing for the designers and the fashion entrepreneurs? How
can you say that you’re hosting a fashion event without seeking counsel from people that work within the industry? Look at the disaster that was StyleByZenith. I’m not
advising you all to go back to the drawing board Dear, Zenith; I’m asking you guys to
save money and space on your iPhone 6 Camera and don’t do a fashion show, week,
event, etc ever again. Full stop!

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