by Ifeanyi Dike Jr.
Arise Magazine Lagos Fashion Week, 2012 redefined fashionably late, period! Being 48 hours behind schedule, in an environment brimming with fashionistas, tensions were bound to flare. Evidently, this year’s show was destined to be an interesting one – whether it turned out good or bad.
Forgivably, the first day of the show did not hold but one could latch this to preparatory issues. It was not until, the second day’s inadequacies did people start to realise something might be wrong. The kick-off time kept moving upwards, forcing people to move from the lobby to the venue and disappointingly back when it did not start at the set time without any confirmed explanation.
At 10pm, people had given up any hopes of seeing a fashion show that day. It was then the models decided to put up their own show. Now the bone of contention was that the local models, on hearing what the international models earned were upset at the significant difference. They did not take this lightly, storming out in protest. Prince Nduka, publisher of Arise and Thisday and brains behind the fashion week explained that this was so because of their level of experience (or inexperience) and professionalism.
In addition to the night’s chaos, were speculations that power supply was the primary reason the show did not hold as planned amidst several other inadequacies. Disasters that flooded the first two days ranged from accommodation issues to transport and logistics. At the end of the second day, whether the show was to go on or not was as good as everyone’s guess.
However, the show did go on, even if it did a couple of hours late. 77 designers were congested to show in next four days plus a concluding award show, this meant quite a tedious adventure.
When the shows finally began, all chaos disappeared. Photographers, journalists, models, designers and stylists got in their ‘show-mode’ and suddenly, fashion alone took its place as the order of the day. Different from previous years, the audience was packed with people you can call clueless or arguably irrelevant to the process. This was apparent because these were the ones that were simply overdressed (and not in an artsy way) or the ones that looked like they were headed someplace else but decided to stop by first.
The designers stole the heart of many with designs that will surely (if not already) draw international appeal. Designers that showed on the first day included Mai Atafo, Laquan Smith, Loza Maleombho, Femi Handbags, Imane Ayissi, Toju Foyeh, Re Bahia and others.
Whether the audience purchased clothes or not, the crowd’s enthusiasm as some models cat walked down the runway was more than enough. Designers such as Laquan Smith and Loza Maleombho, who later went on to win the awards for Emerging designer of the year and Young designer of the year respectively, were climaxes of the evening.
Loza Maleombho did not disappoint in the quirky department despite making use of familiar fabric while Laquan Smith took us into the future with his choice of fabric, colour palette and overall design. the audience made up of editors, journalist’s, fashion critics and well, novices were anxious to see veterans such as Tiffany Amber, Jewel by Lisa, Ozwald Boateng, Kluk CGTD, Petrou/Man, David David, Odio Mimonet, Gavin Rajah and emerging designers like Bridget Awosika, Maki Oh and CLAN.
Ozwald Boateng who closed the Arise 2012, show and bagged a well-deserved Lifetime Achievement Award was a grand finale everyone was frantic to see. The British fashion designer of Ghanaian decent, famous for his for his trademark twist on classic British tailoring style did not cut expectations short and he got a standing ovation to show for it.
It was not only the designers that captured our attention – there were also international models such as Aisha of America’s Next Top Model fame, Oluchi and South Sudanese beauty, Alek Wek whom many African models seeking to break into the international scene aspire to.
The minor (or major) depending on how you look at it deficiencies in logistics and other aspects are some of the signs that the Fashion industry in Nigeria and some parts of Africa is in its baby stages. Some of the designers have done well for themselves and have been able to gain some international acclaim. Designers such us Deola Sagoe, Jewel by Lisa and Tsemaye Binitie have been many times featured in international press and had their designs worn by international celebrities.
For the models, an international crossover would be the ultimate goal and for a show of this magnitude, one can in a few more years see it taking its rightful place on the world’s fashion map as Africa’s foremost fashion week with a powerful capability to put fashion designers and models on the world map.
Regardless of the hullabaloo that began this astronomical fashion event, one can agree that the purpose for which we were all gathered in the name of fashion was fulfilled. We converged from all parts of the world, networked, witnessed beautiful fashion and were a part of something big – Arise Magazine Lagos Fashion Week, 2012.
And that, after all the stitches are done and the cuts are made, is all that matters.