At BNS HQ, we love smart, savvy and stylish BellaStylistas and few embody these ideas more than Industrie Africa’s Nisha Kanabar, so we were positively thrilled when she agreed to give us her perspective on Lagos Fashion Week. The Tanzanian native gives us a sneak peek into her whirlwind fashion week adventure – read all about it in her own words below.
Hi, BellaStylistas! Welcome to my BellaNaija Style Diary—serving up your insider dose of the event of the season, Lagos Fashion Week.
My name is Nisha Kanabar, and I am a co-founder of Industrie Africa—the continent’s first digital showroom. We are a platform of discovery and connectivity that provides the world with a focused profile of Africa’s contemporary fashion landscape.
If you have a vested interest in the continent’s fashion industry (and it’s safe to presume you do, given that you’re here!), Industrie Africa is your go-to guide to the best of its talent.
I’ve attended my fair share of Fashion Weeks all over the world. As a born-and-raised African (Tanzanian, for those who don’t know), neither New York’s edge nor Dubai’s excess could make my spine tingle like the prospect of attending my first Lagos Fashion Week. LFW, a palpable force in this industry helmed by my awe-inspiring friend Omoyemi Akerele, is a platform that gathers some of the continent’s biggest names in African fashion (including designers, creatives,
and press) culminating in a three-day extravaganza of shows and events. This year marked the beginning of a particularly special season, having opened up to Africans continent-wide for the first time. From industry-shaping conversations to press visits; interviewing the next generation of Fashion Focus finalists, to excitedly putting faces and memories to the designers and industry stalwarts that
have lived in my inbox over the past few months—it’s been quite the week!
DAY TWO saw a beautiful morning in Lagos.
Despite a packed schedule, Tamu McPherson (of All The Pretty Birds fame) and I decided to skip the day’s press activities and sneak off for a delicious lunch with our girls Zara Okpara (the girlboss spearheading Designers Consociate) and Sarah Diouf (the mastermind behind brand Tongoro–a show we were seeing later that evening). While the girls opted for healthy salads and dishes, I decided to go for a little something that evokes my short time in the South: Fried chicken and
waffles. Paired with their signature apple, pineapple and ginger juice, it was exactly what I needed to start the day right.
Our return to the hotel led to a rapid turnaround. My Bridget Awosika look—a sheer cobalt blue top paired with a black ruffle skirt from her new collection—was all steamed and ready to be worn.
When it comes to make-up, I prefer to go au naturel. Using taupe brown Nudestix, Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette and a NARS Walkyrie pencil, I created soft eyes and a nude pinky-brown lip. My go-to foundation, NARS Sheer Glow, served as a barely-there base that complemented the overall look.
Here’s the whole look, teamed with suede Nicholas Kirkwood block heels and a Building Block circular wrist bag.
Special credit to Tamu, for capturing me in these extremely poseur moments.
Our first stop was Tiffany Amber’s private SS’19 show, held at Alara. Inspired by today’s strong and confident woman, the collection adopted a stunning use of drape. Paired with designer Folake Coker’s signature lattice weave textile, an array of eye-catching hues and prints, and the dramatic setting of Alara’s central staircase, the presentation was one to remember.
We were late to the tents unfortunately, thanks to traffic, which means we missed a few of the earlier shows. Scurrying in just in time for Industrie Africa designer Style Temple—a brand that often delivers sophistication in the form of tailoring and structure—we took our seats.
I was particularly looking forward to South Africa’s Rich Mnisi, Senegal’s Tongoro and Lisa Folawiyo: all Industrie Africa designers that continue to push boundaries of African design, and reside at the top of their game. Rich, with his minimal but bold silhouettes; Tongoro, whose mesmerizing collection imbued the breeziness of a glamourous African vacation; and Lisa Folawiyo—a Nigerian powerhouse who delivered a print-heavy balancing act of volume and texture. Studio 189 (a label helmed by Abrimah Erwah and actress Rosario Dawson) was another show that did not disappoint, serving a soulful display of smiles and character. A few of my favourite looks below, captured by BellaNaija Style photographer Femi Alabede.
Overall, it was an inspiring day in a very long week of events, showcasing the work of designers with serious talent. True to its theme (“Africa: Shaping Fashion’s Future”), LFW’s line-up showcases a mark of promise coming from the continent, many of whom have the potential to disrupt stereotypes of what fashion from Africa “should be”. It’s a dynamic (and pivotal) time for the region’s industry—and it’s platforms like Lagos Fashion Week that breed real momentum.