Lagos Fashion Week: S/S 2021
Fashion is finally breaking through global boundaries and embracing a more inclusive attitude to international fashion weeks, celebrating regional talent and its place on the fashion stage. As a result, Lagos Fashion Week (Nov 17 - Dec 1) forged ahead this season in its efforts to provide local fashion brands with access to market opportunities.
Forming showroom partnerships with Le New Black, Moda Operandi and Tranoi with some support from the Nigeria Export Promotion Council, the result was a four-day runway event and diversified interactive platform. The latter promoted Nigerian commerce and creativity through workshops and networking opportunities, aimed at maximising exposure and opening gateways for more global business strategies.
A key focus was the promotion of authentic Nigerian crafts and textiles, with a focus on sustainability and environmentally friendly fashion brands. Our Lagos Fashion Week round-up highlights some of the best designers from the event.
One of the more established designers on the Lagos Fashion Week schedule, Lisa Folawiyo has built her reputation on her mix of traditional Ankara textiles (the wax-resist dyed fabrics from West Africa) with contemporary tailoring and feminine silhouettes. This season, she delivers playfully mismatched prints and a palette of vivid brights on cropped tops and midi skirts, alongside slickly tailored trouser suits.
Adebayo Oke-Lawal created his contemporary menswear label Orange Culture back in 2011, and has since become synonymous with promoting an androgynous approach to dressing. Print and pattern and bold colour are the drivers of his S/S 21 collection, which happily mixes street references with his youthful men’s and women’s silhouettes.
African art and culture are deeply intertwined in Aisha Obuobi’s Christie Brown label. Created in 2008 with the first runway show in Accra, Christie Brown is an aspirational label, combining bespoke gowns with decorative textiles and traditional wax-resist fabrics. For S/S 21, Obuobi combines a rich colour palette with lace and brocade for the ultimate in feminine silhouettes, featuring waisted shapes enhanced by bustiers, ruffles and statement sleeve details.
Faith Oluwajimi created his Bloke label back in 2015, and in the short space of five years has made his name as a designer who deconstructs stereotypes with his genderless approach to dressing. This season, he plays with a palette of sweet pastels, mixed prints and patchwork with his signature hole-strewn knitwear pieces in an androgynous collection that spans the gender gap.
Slick and contemporary, the Andrea Iyamah label is known for its unique swimwear, inspired by creative director Dumebi Iyamah’s African heritage combined with retro-influenced design details and silhouettes. First created in 2013, its S/S 21 collection fuses relaxed poolside dressing with shapely one-piece swimwear and structured two-piece sets in a palette of lush sunkissed browns, orange and blush pink.
Created in 2013, Papa Oyeyemi’s Maxivive label quickly gathered a reputation as an edgy alternative menswear brand. Seven years on, the designer has added womenswear and a luxe sports diffusion line, MXVV, to his creative output. Dispensing with traditional seasonal collections in favour of two collections driven by Africa’s dry and wet seasons, 2021’s Harmattan (dry) collection delivers a searing palette of hot pinks and cool indigo blues, worked in relaxed, layered silhouettes with an Eastern appeal.
Sustainability and a celebration of traditional African crafts are at the heart of Nkwo Onwuka’s Nkwo label, which combines a cornucopia of embroidery, hand-dye techniques and beading with strong contemporary silhouettes. The artisanal brand is heavily inspired by the free-spirited lifestyles of Africa’s nomadic tribes. This season, it rocks a youthful vibe, with patchworked denim pieces alongside iconic indigo tie-dyed cottons worked in casual, cocooning silhouettes.
For more on Black design talent, see Rising Black Fashion Influencers and Black Creatives to Know, as well as Diversity for a New Decade: How to Champion Black Communities.