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24 Nov

Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For

Since its inception in 2011, the Lagos Fashion Week platform, under the Style House Files mother agency, has successfully managed to position itself as one among the pioneers of African fashion. From its collaborations, incubation programs, mentorship initiatives, and proffering of solutions to the experienced funding problems of fashion brands in Africa through its Fashion Focus Fund— amongst many other means, the impacts of the platform are so solid it rubs off on key stakeholders in the style industry including models, designers, photographers, buyers, stockist, and the likes.

The recently concluded 2022 edition of Lagos Fashion Week (October 27— October 29) saw an immersion like no other. This SS/23 season recorded well over 3,000 attendees, on-site shows on the convention center of the Federal Palace Hotel, and personal shows/presentations by designers like Dye Labs, Banke Kuku, Lagos Space Programme, Sisiano, and a couple of others.

Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For The African Fashion & Beauty Industry
Models walk the runway to indicate designs by Elie Kuame, an Ivorian/ Lebanese designer, through the Lagos Fashion Week in Lagos on October 28, 2022. – Lagos Fashion Week is held yearly and provides a platform for African designers to present their collections to buyers, media and fashion enthusiasts in Nigeria’s business capital. (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI / AFP) (Photo by PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP via Getty Images)

This season, themed ‘Collaboration, Co-creation and Community,’ saw individual works, collaborations, and partnerships with other high-profile agencies, all targeted at a option to elevate the African fashion industry. “To keep up our three strategic pillars for the season— collaboration, co-creation and community, we at Style House Files and Lagos Fashion Week have had to think about recent ways to interact the African fashion ecosystem in a way that may generate lasting impact, which is the last word goal,” founding father of Styles House Files and Lagos Fashion Week, Omoyemi Akerele, tells ESSENCE.

Following this, LFW continued its ongoing relationship with Global Fashion Exchange through the Swap Shop initiative, a program where consumers could bring their graded fashion items in exchange for an additional. Global Fashion Exchange is currently established in over 90 countries and has over 250 partners across the globe, including Lagos Fashion Week. “The Lagos, Fashion Week community, is doing such an incredible job in promoting sustainability and circularity,” Patrick Duffy, founding father of Global Fashion Exchange, tells ESSENCE. “What’s great about that is that it opens a complete recent door of ‘swap-ortuinities’ for people looking to interact with fashion week and beyond.” Sustainability is a very important topic inside the fashion ecosystem, and Lagos Fashion Week is using this to further the conversation.

Also, through the Green Access program, emerging designers are trained, mentored, and supported to construct brands that affect economic, environmental, and social impacts, all in a bid to ascertain a more eco-friendly environment in the longer term. Whether it’s through the Swap Shop where established brands like ATAFO or emerging brands like Abiola Oluso are being racked, or it’s through the presentations from Green Access finalists, one thing is for certain— it’s an avenue for the African fashion industry to thrive. “This has been the driving force behind our initiatives,” Akerele says.

Africa’s fashion retail sector has also been influenced by the LFW platform. For instance, Lagos Fashion Week worked with retailer, Zinkata for its XRetail initiative and with e-commerce platform, The Folklore for its first-ever Digital Buyer’s Preview. Each of those sales models were targeted at bringing brands off the runway and closer to the market. “Lagos Fashion Week is vital since it’s afforded us the chance to find recent brands,” Amira Rasool, founding father of The Folklore, tells Essence. “You already know, when individuals are in search of the perfect of African fashion— not only Nigerian fashion, they’re seeking to Lagos Fashion Week.”

In establishing this partnership with Lagos Fashion Week, brands of interest are easily inside their reach, as they’re in a position to work with them on B2B wholesale levels. “[Lagos Fashion Week] were gracious enough to open up their list of participating brands to us, providing their contact details, and sharing with those brands what our platform presents,” Rasool continues. “A partnership like this that furthers a wholesale e-commerce capability is certainly invaluable and something we’re extremely thankful for.” Through this, consumers are in a position to digitally find these designers and are able to interact with them digitally and in a single location.

Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For The African Fashion & Beauty Industry
LAGOS, NIGERIA – OCTOBER 29: Models walk the runway for Austrian Lace, during Lagos Fashion Week 2021 on October 29, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Emmanuel Obianke/Getty Images)

Nigeria’s beauty market was not disregarded. Over the past months, Nigeria’s cosmetic market hit NGN1 trillion turnover, and a record of about 14.5% growth. The Lagos Fashion Week platform has for a really very long time, built successful sponsorship deals with high-profiled beauty brands like Lush Hair and Mac Cosmetics. “Lagos Fashion Week is an enormous platform for us, and will be likened to other top fashion weeks like Paris Fashion Week,” Bimpe Onakoya, the creative director of Makeup for Lagos Fashion Week, and artistic director for Maybelline Recent York, tells Essence. “This 12 months, Mac Cosmetics got here onboard attributable to the big influence Lagos Fashion Week has, and it’s really interesting to see the collaboration between fashion and wonder come into play here.”

Watching tens of models pose for cameras backstage or effortlessly strut the runways is a definite stamp on the impact the platform has had on the modeling industry. From Beth Models Few Models, and 90’s Models Management, to MyBooker Model Management, and LED Model Management, the platform has provided itself as a stepping stone for models, most of whom at the moment are being snagged internationally.

“It’s been a journey ‘cause we began from Lagos Fashion Week, but it surely’s exciting to see that we’ve finally gone international,” says image consultant and founding father of 90’s Models Management, Maurice Sokari, to Essence. “We have now models walking for probably the most prestigious fashion houses on this planet. Lagos Fashion Week gave us the forefront we would have liked to push these models internationally.”

Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For The African Fashion & Beauty Industry
LAGOS, NIGERIA – OCTOBER 30: Models walk the runway for Emmy Kasbit, during Lagos Fashion Week 2021 on October 30, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Emmanuel Obianke/Getty Images)

With Nigeria being a conservative country and with guardians hardly willing to permit their wards to chase dreams within the direction of modeling ,Lagos Fashion Week, which is a widely known and trusted platform, has “strategically been placed as a channel for access to those ones, because it’s something they’ll see,” Sokari continues. Currently, plenty of male models from 90’s Model Management like Hamaam Peleruwa, Nonso Ojukwu, and Feranmi Ajetomobi, are all exclusive to fashion house, Prada, while others proceed to walk for powerhouses like Bottega Veneta, Balmain, Dries Van Noten, and Celine.

Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For The African Fashion & Beauty Industry
LAGOS, NIGERIA – OCTOBER 29: Models walk the runway for Austrian Lace during Lagos Fashion Week 2021 on October 29, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Emmanuel Obianke/Getty Images)
Lagos Fashion Week Continues To Carve Out Space For The African Fashion & Beauty Industry
LAGOS, NIGERIA – OCTOBER 30: A model walks the runway for Emmy Kasbit, during Lagos Fashion Week 2021 on October 30, 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria. (Photo by Emmanuel Obianke/Getty Images)

“Lagos Fashion Week is a platform of discovery. It gives an ideal impact to the modelling industry, especially to the upcoming models,” Perpetua Oforah, one among the breakout stars from this season of Lagos Fashion Week, says. Signed to Reivon Management, Oforah walked a complete of thirteen shows— one among the longest walks this season recorded. Lagos Fashion Week continues to set precedence for the African fashion industry, and grant support to her industry dwellers. “Lagos Fashion Week is about trade, not aid,” Akerele adds. “It’s in regards to the finest craftsmanship that Africa can boast of. It’s about creativity and innovation. It’s about job creation and empowering people. It’s about collaborative efforts, it’s about setting the pace for African fashion to thrive and it can.”

The increasing effort of the Lagos Fashion Week platform to contribute to pivoting the African fashion industry is a really obvious one, and certain key stakeholders are beneficiaries of it. Beyond its influence within the diversified sectors of the industry, it has been a method for sensitization on key functions within the industry— sustainability, collaborations, funding, partnerships, etc. There’s, obviously, a renaissance within the African fashion and wonder space, and it’s exciting to see where it’s headed.

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