One of the fashion industry’s most eagerly anticipated show will occur two weeks from today in the most populous country in Africa. The Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) will begin and the founder Omoyemi Akerele is a global gatekeeper to reckon with so much so that The Business of Fashion described her as the “driving force behind the burgeoning Nigerian Fashion Industry.”
So no pressure, but expectations are high. All eyes will be on Lagos to see if the collections presented will raise the profile of the Nigerian Fashion Industry as well as attract a host of international buyers. Here is a city with a growing list of designers that have the potential to reign supreme in design, which means Lagos Fashion and Design Week will enable the world to decide which Nigerian fashion designers are worthy and which are not. So it is worth repeating again, the expectations are high and not only for the designers themselves, but for Omoyemi and her team. As we await the unveiling of the schedule, I look forward to this multi-day fashion event to celebrate collections from emerging designers like Weiz Dhrum Franklyn and seasoned designers like Maki Oh in a venue with adequate lightning and set design that is as comparable to any you would see in New York or Milan. The runway like the designs on display, should and must evoke an emotion, this is what the audience will be expecting this year (not the lackluster signage in the background from last year).
In addition, chic would be quality everyone would be looking for in Lagos. More than innovative designs and clear trends, if the collections presented are not chic, then consumers, or journalists or retail buyers both local and global, will have nothing to look at. With all eyes on Lagos, for this city to count and I mean really be on equal footing in the near future with New York or Paris, the collections on display must provide an insight into dressing. Then there are the salient things that all designers should and must do. Again, for Lagos to gain a wide reputation, these designers should make us have that sudden feeling of wanting to change how we dress because we have seen something inspiring. Very few did so last year, Lisa Folawiyo, Ejiro Amos Tafiri and Grey come to mind (see select pieces below).
Omoyemi Akerele has garnered attention for Lagos Fashion and Design Week and rightly so, thus the expectations this year are high (I’m sorry, but it’s worth repeating). I would also expect the same from the local media covering the events. It’s not enough to say the collection is beautiful, be critical in your assessments. Follow Isioma’s Style Report for a thorough review of the shows presented and as a forewarning, I will be very opinionated, praising those who deserve praise, while questioning the design ability of those who deserve it.
So to all the Nigerian Fashion Designers presenting their collection, everyone is expecting to see whether Nigeria would change the look of fashion come 2015. I look forward to a fascinating display of classic tailoring or technical mastery in standout looks that are hopelessly glamorous. As the day draws near, my hope is for our designers to get down to business at LFDW, sending out smart collections that we the media and consumers will find inspiring and buyers would find worthy of purchasing for their markets both for the local audience and international markets. This is the essence of any fashion show and so it is worth repeating again, for the Lagos Fashion and Design Week, expectations are high.