It is the most wonderful time of the year – Fashion Season in Lagos! Over the past decade, African fashion brands have continued to receive well-deserved attention from across the globe with designers like Adebayo Oke-Lawal, and Emmanuel Okem showing their latest offerings on major platforms across Europe – this recognition is very welcome and exciting. The climate around Lagos Fashion Week has evolved greatly as well, this year we witnessed the organization being deliberate with impact-driven initiatives such as the Green Access Initiative, Digital Buyer’s Preview, and XRetail – grooming younger Nigerian designers for a global level and putting serious issues like sustainability, circular economy and access to markets top on the discussion board.
As always, I was excited to experience and immerse myself in all of this and for a 5th year lead the amazing BellaNaija coverage at Lagos Fashion Week 2022. From the vibrant street style of showgoers to the best collections from newcomers and known favourites – our coverage, aptly supported by the BellaNaija team was next level.
As usual, through my Editor’s diary, I have chosen to highlight some of my favourite collections from the past week now that it’s officially over. Here are my impressions of some of the most memorable shows from the Spring/Summer 2023 season.
Over 4 days the Lagos Fashion Week platform hosted over 50 African designers – celebrating the beauty in our diversity and promoting the best of African fashion. One brand I was very excited to see on the runway was JZO – led by Joseph Ike and Ola Akindeinde, the duo is way more than what meets the eyes, with a slew of other businesses and impactful work around Northern Nigeria up their sleeve. The brand’s designs are unmistakable – and its aesthetic challenges the ideas of what traditional African menswear should be.
Feeling powerful, I wore a double-breasted magenta suit from their Spring/Summer 2022 collection for Day 1 – if you didn’t know already I absolutely love styling menswear.
FIA made perhaps one of the most exciting shows of the evening with wearable daywear and wardrobe staples with an authentic African twist. Following that theme, Dakar-based Algueye presented glamourous evening and occasion wear that featured striking Senegalese fabric with sophisticated but subdued colour combinations perfect for true fashionistas.
The LFW grounds on the second day was filled with so much energy – with more showgoers and designers in attendance. The vibe from the runway was a mix of theatrics, groovy afrobeat music, and the best made-in-Africa fashion. Among my favourites, Ghanaian brand Duaba Serwa showed us the beauty in detailing – the designer focuses on ethical production to create one-of-a-kind staples for women that retain an air of elegance and sophistication. Emmanuel Okem’s Emmy Kasbit is a Lagos Fashion Week standout staple, being the recipient of the Fashion Focus Fund in 2018 – the designer has since then made it a point of duty to show on the LFW platform. He first debuted his SS23 collection “Bloom” at Portugal Fashion Week, informed by a love for Nigerian craft, local artisanship, and cross-cultural experiences, his handwoven Akwete designs are favourites of fashion insiders from around the world.
Informed by a love for Nigerian craft, local artisanship and cross-cultural experiences, Emmy Kasbit’s handwoven Akwete designs are favourites of fashion insiders from around the world. I wore a custom-made Akwete skirt with beautiful fringe detailling for Day 2.
Ejiro Amos Tafiri
The last day of shows on the LFW grounds is usually packed, from editors and mega influencers to buyers and key stakeholders The lineup included experienced designers MaXhosa, Ugo Monye, and Odio Mimoment as well as newcomers AJOBI, Orire, Pettre Taylor among others.
Earlier in September, I got the opportunity to visit Laduma Ngxokolo‘s MaXhosa studio in Johannesburg and was inspired by the designer’s strong connection to his roots and Xhosa heritage and his strong commitment to zero waste, ethical production, and promoting local artisanship. While at the studio, I was able to preview the latest collection ahead of his LFW outing.
Epitomizing an urban African vibe, Ngxokolo draws inspiration from traditional knitwork patterns, symbolism, and colours to create each collection. The brand’s core philosophy of African luxury was evident in this season’s offerings of ready-to-wear menswear and womenswear as well as accessories.
On the last day, I attended the Andrea Iyamah “Love” presentation at the brand’s newly redesigned space in Victoria Island. The new collection featured some eye-catching swimwear staples of the brand which we have come to know and love, as well as some new pieces that immediately made it to my wishlist – a crotchet two-piece set, the multifunctional halo bag which was debuted in a new colour and the IT-girl fan-style pleated blouse. Without any doubt, these pieces will be in every fashion girl’s luggage for summer 2023.
Watch highlights from the runway presentation here
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And with that, another exciting fashion week has come to an end.
Till next season, stay consciously stylish!