Back in 2011, Omoyemi Akerele began a journey that would ultimately place Nigeria as a key part of the global fashion scene. As the Founder and Artistic Director of the creative agency Style House Files, Akerele staged runway shows periodically in Lagos for around three years, observing the city’s rapid transformation into a hub of new design talent. Eventually, she launched the biannual Lagos Fashion Week platform to increase local designers’ exposure while providing them with the framework needed to develop thriving businesses in the long run.
Over a decade later, Lagos Fashion Week has not only launched some of the biggest names in African fashion, from Kenneth Ize to Maki Oh and Orange Culture and more but also provided diverse educational and apprenticeship programs that have led to significant growth in the fashion industry for the first time in decades.
As we approach the 11th edition of Lagos Fashion Week, we revisit some of the most memorable runway moments from the BellaNaija Style archives seen over the past decade.
Mai Atafo (2016)
We begin by looking at the only wedding collection showcased at Lagos Fashion and Design Week in 2016, courtesy of Mai Atafo. Although the brand is now known as ATAFO, it has been and will still be its wholesome experiential shows. Even as far back as 2016, Mai presented classic wedding attire to an audience that was serenaded by a string quartet with a stunning backdrop of tall flower vases to bring to life the concept of a wedding venue. It’s clear to see why this particular fashion show lives rent-free in our heads.
Orange Culture (2012 vs 2019)
Adebayo Oke-Lawal, Creative Director of Orange Culture, was one of the first designers to debut at Lagos Fashion & Design Week 2011. Since then, his brand has achieved numerous successes and has appeared in prestigious publications.
In 2012, Orange Culture showcased male models in suits, print outfits, and wait for it, a skirt!
The 2019 runway show had mostly androgynous pieces and also featured female models. Nonetheless, both runway shows displayed Adebayo’s love for bold prints and colours.
At the 2016 Heineken Lagos Fashion & Design Week, the Grey team – Rukky Ladoja, Obi Obi, and Tola Ayanwale proved to us once again that when you go “Grey”, there’s no going back. However, in 2018, the brand closed up shop almost a decade after it launched. We are hopeful for its return as we reminisce on the high-quality, well-designed pieces and innovative brand collaborations.
Maki Oh (2018)
We fell head-over-heels for Maki Oh‘s collection at the Heineken Lagos Fashion Week 2018. From intersections of gently elegant folds, layers of glimmering asymmetric drapery, brocades and print on print combos. What was not to love?
Odio Mimonet (2019)
Nigerian fashion label Odio Mimonet showcased a stunning collection at Lagos Fashion Week 2019. The brand’s perfect blend of Aso-Oke and lace fabrics remain an inspiration to this day.
For Nkwo‘s presentation at the 2012 MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week, the brand presented a variety of outfits featuring floor and knee-length dresses with fashion-forward dramatic cuts and upcycled denim. Making it an eco-conscious brand way before sustainability was a topic.
Kiki Kamanu (2018)
Kiki Kamanu presented a compelling collection at the Lagos Fashion Week 2018, which featured asymmetric pieces in bold prints, vibrant hues, and more. From afar, the pattern seemed traditional. A zoom-in, however, reveals the designer’s artful use of shapes, textures, silhouettes, and colours.