Fashion Week is finally here! In celebration of the behind the scenes work as well as the countless roles and industry insiders it takes to bring Lagos Fashion Week to life, we’re profiling inspiring people from across the industry and asking them to share their Fashion Week Prep routines, their tips and tricks, and productivity secrets. Consider this your sneak peek into the insider knowledge and a mini handbook into the business of fashion from your fave fashion insiders, From stylists to publicists, models to editors and more check out what the secret sauce for a successful fashion week is! Following our chat with Derin Odugbesan Thomas, Style Vitae contributor and beauty entrepreneur, we have Rhema Akabuogu, head retail (makeup) artist at House of Tara International. 


Rhema Akagbuogu, Head Retail Artist at House of Tara  International. 

BNS: How did you get your start working backstage at fashion shows?

Our first foray into fashion shows was for the maiden edition of the Lagos Fashion Week in 2011. At the time, there were no annual fashion shows with the scale of models, number of shows or capacity to put Nigeria on the map as a fashion hub. The industry has quickly evolved and there are several notable fashion shows now.

BNS: What was the first time acting as a lead makeup artist like for you?

2011 was the first time for me. There was no model to replicate. So I to sort of wing it. I spent time researching international fashion shows, back stage set up and makeup looks from previous shows. I was also nervous. I guess that paid off eventually and every fashion show I have had the privilege to lead has gotten better and seamless afterwards.

BNS: How do you get ready for fashion week in general?

The preparation is different depending on the scale and I have been privileged to work on both. For larger shows, the prep starts mentally. We have to psych our team, that they would be running on pure adrenaline for about 10 days- test, during the event then the break up. Then there is the physical preparation- vitamins, walks to build stamina and manage the pressure. We also have the artistic preparation- the mood boards and face chart creation, makeup testing, sourcing for products that creates the best effect. Most importantly, we listen to lots of music and keep a positive energy throughout, that way we control our space.

BNS: What was your first fashion week like?

It was intense, I was literally a baby, tasked with coordinating a team of about 30 artists for the first show. I made lots of mistakes but I got learnt as I went on. Right now it’s literally second nature.

BNS: Are you doing any shows this season?

We just concluded the Design Fashion Africa show with 50 models and 20 shows in one day. One of the strategic decision we took was to run a compact but efficient team. I worked with 5 artists on my team and the reviews have been amazing- coming from the models(they have to feel confident with the look), observers and the press .

BNS: What’s your favourite thing about fashion week?

The creative energy is just on a whole new level. It’s like seeing the best in the parts that makeup the fashion industry work in harmony to produce a great experience.

BNS: What’s your best fashion week makeup look to date?

Most people who know me know that I am a sucker for the clean , youthful look. I like to see glowing skin with the dewy finish.

BNS: How do you train your team on the specific aesthetic for fashion week?

The training is now pretty much all year round. With the trends now being streamlined and the looks more wearable, the looks are pretty much plug and play. For technical details, the face charts with the description are sent in advance

Check out the rest of our #FashionWeekPrep Series!