Why the 2015 edition of Lagos Fashion and Design Week Needs A Critic

When Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) starts on Wednesday, the event will be covered by local and global news media and treated by the usual media suspects in Nigeria with the excitement that country bumpkins often have for fashion shows. Lagos deserves the same praise like any other fashion city in the world and so the excitement is well warranted. But what exactly is Lagos Fashion and Design Week all about? This is a legitimate question that will require insight from a critic. Not just because all eyes are in Lagos this week. And not just because an estimated 4000 fashion insiders, buyers, and everyone in between will be in town to partake in all the festivities at LFDW. But rather, the old stereotype of Africa fashion as lacking structure no longer holds true for some African-designers thanks in part by the opportunity provided by LFDW platform. Continue reading Why the 2015 edition of Lagos Fashion and Design Week Needs A Critic

Weiz Dhrum Franklyn is one African Fashion Designer to Know: It’s all in his precise details.

One of the defining characteristics of a designer is precision. Precision in drawing a particular style, precision in cutting and measuring every detail of that style, precision in productivity and accuracy as your roll out the style to everyone, and precision in the final finished product seen and loved by everyone. Whatever you do, in the end people will judge only if they find what you make as something that precisely fits their taste. Enter Weiz Dhrum Franklyn, the Nigerian fashion designer whose style middle name in my opinion is precision. Continue reading Weiz Dhrum Franklyn is one African Fashion Designer to Know: It’s all in his precise details.

Why we desperately need to teach more people how to make beaded jewelry in Nigeria

There is something deeply personally about beaded jewelry in Nigeria. Whether it the type with 20 lines or the elaborate designs used, every piece worn by every woman you see in Nigeria is handmade by a local artisan trying to or working successfully to make a living out of making custom beaded jewelry for a client. Today’s post is focused on why we desperately need to teach more people, particularly young people how to make beaded jewelry in Nigeria. This is because women in Nigeria have taken the concept of beaded jewelry to another level. Continue reading Why we desperately need to teach more people how to make beaded jewelry in Nigeria

The Igbo: An excerpt from Chinua Achebe’s “The Education of a British Protected Child”

Happy Sunday everyone and may your day be filled with lots of love. So today is dedicated to the arts, and in my bid to keep the work of great African literary icons alive,  I would like to share an excerpt from a book that I read this summer, Chinua Achebe’s book “The Education of a British Protected Child.” Just a brief background and culled from Amazon: Continue reading The Igbo: An excerpt from Chinua Achebe’s “The Education of a British Protected Child”

On Aso-Oke: A made in Nigeria fabric

You never quite know when fashion from African will get  to shine bright, but most certainly, when it does, everyone is paying close attention, like when the wisdom of the Nigerian Aso Oke fabric is translated into shoes thanks to Tunde Owolabi.

Over at deisgnindaba last week, Tunde shared insights from when he began to research the fabric that many Nigerian women wear on their head as a headtie. Aso Oke is worn by women at many social gatherings and special occasions and tied in many different ways. Culled from the site: Continue reading On Aso-Oke: A made in Nigeria fabric

High Expectations for Lagos Fashion and Design Week, 2014

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.”

Lagos-fashion-and-design-week-2So 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).
grey 2 blue 6black 10 white 1Omoyemi 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.



An Ode to Nigeria’s BellaNaija at 8

It is time to give BellaNaija the praise it deserves. For the past couple of days, if you followed any of the BellaNaija social media feeds (my guilty pleasure being Bellanaijaweddings on instagram), you would have noticed the countdowns aptly described as “something new is coming to BellaNaija.” It all started almost 6 days ago, when the first countdown appeared with the question ‘You ready’?! and talks to “expect greatness” as BellaNaija would be 8 on July 1st.

Truth be told, I watched my feed everyday, wondering what the new thing could possibly be. I read the comments from it followers. Some wondered if it would be a “new app” (something that would honestly be great), others noted that maybe it’s “the best brides of 2014” (another brilliant idea considering I am a new bride too… wohooo). The anticipation was rising with each new day. And we waited like we were pregnant with unapologetic excitement for what BellaNaija would unveil on July 1, 2014.

So yesterday, the grand day arrived. BellaNaija turned 8 and in the process they unveiled their new and more refined site with a really awesome logo that I love.
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Gone are the days of red BN color we have all come to love all over the site, instead the site has been revamped and replaced with a modern silhouette, in black and white colors that truly take BellaNaija to another level. There is also a section on “star features” which lets you access the BN articles you love directly. Also, as a junkie for quotes, I am digging the BN quote of the day section, and the “love this” button #deservesanapplause. While we celebrate 8 years of BellaNaija and wish them much success, it is the comments from it’s followers that we applaud today as we reminiscence how BellaNaija has revolutionized social media (see it’s first logo below)…
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For example, it’s followers are best beyond grateful for BellaNaija and they clearly reveal why the site has the ultimate staying power, case in point, follower Molara Akande noted the following ” you have been a blessing in so many ways to a lot of people and a great ambassdor in showing foreigners that Nigerians are really stylish and hardworking.”

But one instapost (not a comment, an entire post) that made me really take a step back to reflect on BellaNaija today is the post by follower Abisola of makeupbyashabee. She stated the following (and I know this is long, but you really have to read it in it’s entirety to see why this ode matters) ‘Happy Anniversary BellaNaija. Congrats to their amazing and talented team. May God grant you many more years of prosperity and fulfilment. May God continue to bless you as you’ve been a blessing to Young entrepreuners. Thanks very much for the support and encouragement. Those reposts have been life changing. You don’t want to imagine the bookings we get after every BellaNaija repost. May God continue to announce you for good…Greatest wedding blog that liveth @bellanaijaweddings…
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Now these are everyday Nigerians and many of them took the time to celebrate with BellaNaija yesterday…Truly BellaNaija is the most important style influencers for Nigerians, Africans, and beyond. And though it’s hard to believe that it’s been 8years since BellaNaija was first introduced to our lives, (visit the original blog seen here to see how time flies), their diligence and perseverance is truly a testament of why this site #deservespraises. BellaNaija has managed to etch itself into our collective consciousness as the number one site for all things naija style and entertainment which we here in the diaspora have come to appreciate and love. And honestly, it played a huge role in my decision to curate my own stylereport.

So, I am am writing this post to send a toast to you today BellaNaija and I wish you many, many more years of delivering nonstop inspiration to help women in Nigeria and beyond live a more stylish and creative life, as we catch your fire, naija style…