The Shade Thomas-Fahm Legacy Project (STFLP) officially launched Wednesday 22nd with friends and supporters at the luxurious 5-star private business and social club, Capital Club, Lagos, and supported by Belvedere Vodka. The event featured an exhibition of Shade Thomas-Fahm’s works as a teaser for a larger exhibition planned for December featuring over 30 of Nigeria’s best fashion design talent. The event also marked Shade Thomas-Fahm’s 88th birthday.
The Shade Thomas-Fahm Legacy Project (STFLP) is a celebration of Nigerian culture, identity and entrepreneurship because it tells the story of a lady, born and bred in Lagos State into a middle-class family of traders, who championed these notions through the momentous period of Nigeria’s independence and on, as the country began to redefine its identity and spirit post-colonialism.
Through her fashion label “Shade’s Boutique”, Shade Thomas-Fahm promoted a Nigerian style that had not existed before – and we must remember that this was a time when the pressure to ‘be like’ and ‘look like’ people of the West was paramount in the minds of many colonized regions of the world who unwittingly traded-in their cultural identity because of the pressure to belong.
Shade Thomas-Fahm’s “Culture Fashion” stood against this, celebrating the good things she knew and felt about her culture, not as a political agenda, or to undermine or denigrate any other culture, she simply wished to celebrate what was her own.
Through literature, film, and events the STFLP tells her larger-than-life story, and the story of the iconic fashion label “Shade’s Boutique” which proudly flew the Nigerian flag both locally and internationally, giving the world the first image of the Nigerian ‘look’.
According to the Founder of STFLP, Fauzi Fahm:
The STFLP has many things on the agenda this year. We have the launch of the 15th year edition of “Faces of She: The Shade Thomas-Fahm memoir”, which has been revised and updated; we are also publishing a coffee table book of vintage photographs because we noticed that people marvel at the pictures of Nigeria back then and the styles that people wore. And we end the year with a huge exhibition in December, which is part educational part entertainment. The exhibition is in partnership with over 30 Nigerian designers. And it really is a who’s who list of designers – the response has been amazing!
The Victoria & Albert Museum, London is celebrating Shade Thomas Fahm as a ‘fashion vanguard’ in an exhibition titled ‘Africa Fashion’ that will be running for the next four years around the world. They did their research and concluded that they could not tell the story about fashion in Africa without telling Shade Thomas-Fahm’s story, so they got in touch and we have been working with them for about a year.
6 of Shade Thomas-Fahm’s original designs will be stored at the V&A Museum London as part of the V&A Museum’s ‘Permanent Collection’; thus enabling the study of her work by historians, academics, fashion designers and more, ‘in perpetuity’. This is a unique honour…We also feel that it is crucially important that the Shade Thomas-Fahm story is also told here in Lagos – and told by Lagosians in our own way.
See more photos from the launch event below.