Fashion shows are still elitist and the 4 other things we learnt from LFDW2016

Traffic towards the Federal Palace, Victoria Island was unusually light on Wednesday, the 26th. It was almost as if Lagos didn’t know what was about to happen. The biggest fashion show in Lagos. The four-day long Lagos Fashion and Design Week, sponsored this year by Heineken.

Now four days of fashion, glamour, glitz and paparazzi have come and gone. The fifth year of Lagos Fashion and Design Week ended with a Lisa Folawiyo-cool. For the most, the platform delivered again this year. The promise this year was “Connecting the dots” and we have taken away 5 things from the fashion week.

The fashion community in Nigeria has institutionalised the concept of African time

Remember how we were shocked about the lack of traffic on our way to LFDW Day 1. Well not for long, it turned out Lagos saved us the traffic for the delay we were to endure at the hands of the LFDW organizers. The runway show was slated to start at 5.30pm, at least so the invite said, we arrived at the venue just in time and things happened slowly, the music was good, the glamour was heating up and we were struggling to take in the eccentric fashion of some of the guests as they sauntered in. It was all fun until the skies went grey and the stars took over and no show yet.

We understand that delay in kicking off shows like this is a Nigerian thing but the failure to announce an apology was what shocked us. But then again, it’s Nigeria.

Media reportage of events in Nigeria has evolved

We saw Pulse, ThisDay Style (of course), BellaNaija, individual news blogs, well we were there too, obviously. Portable cameras and smartphones did most of the work. Extensive reportage was carried out casually yet professionally. The stories are everywhere and the effectiveness of the work done by all these sites speaks for itself on their platforms.

The MiTVs, NTAs and LTVs of this world were nowhere to be found, we’re not sure about the traditional newspapers but what we do know is that, media coverage of events has advanced in Nigeria just as it has in developed countries.

Fashion shows are STILL elitist

After all said and done, the entire show is for a segmented audience and it’s the elite Lagos society. Popular OAP, Toke Makinwa graced the event with her dignified presence on the final night and she was wearing one of the pieces showcased on Day 1 by designer, Style Temple.

This perfectly explains what we mean when we say these pieces are not for the ordinary Nigerian who struggles within a spending bracket because salary and recession. So how much longer will fashion shows that hardly contribute to the larger economy rule the news headlines?

These fashion shows do not represent the reality of the happenings in the country, at least not in these harsh times.

Designers in Paris, New York and other fashion capitals should be very afraid of their Lagos counterparts

Needless to say, everything we saw on the runway was beyond average. Every collection showcased spoke the same language to us, though in their own unique and peculiar voices. It was creativity,  and a readiness to take on the rest of the world when it comes to fashion.

From up and coming O’milua to Ré, to Lisa Folawiyo to Orange Culture, we see a progression that is fueled by competition amongst the designers. Very healthy competition not just with their Nigerian fellows but the type that will bring them side by side with the famous international brands.

What is incredible is that the work is getting noticed as Vogue magazine was at the event.

The Nigerian government does not give a hoot about this budding industry 

A fashion event that brought a major part of Lagos to a standstill should get a thinking government to begin to ask questions.

We know how long it took for the Nigerian government to finally see the potential in the Nigerian music industry, so we doubt that this fashion industry that is steadily coming into its own is going to get any attention for a while.

Statistics have it that the UK fashion industry contributes tens of billions to the economy, and as at 2014, had provided 797,000 jobs. The potential is limitless but our myopic government doesn’t see that and frankly won’t for a long time.


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