#ReviewingAMFW: Where are the fashion critics?

by Lekan Olanrewaju

A popular bit of news making the rounds (at least in the fashion world) last week was that of Kanye West banning critics from his fashion show during Paris Fashion Week.

The popular rapper and producer turned designer apparently felt he had been treated unfairly by press in the past and proceeded to kick them out of his show last minute. This of course didn’t stop his collection for being criticized for apeing too much from Givenchy. But here’s a thought, imagine a Nigerian designer kicking out critics from his show? Kanye is pretty much known for such behavior so shouts of “arrogant” and ‘childish” are pretty much redundant at this point.

However, in Nigeria where so much emphasis is placed on manners and things of the sort, how delightfully scandalous would it be? As a matter of fact, a more pertinent question would be, why has it never happened? For all our attempts at maintaining appearances, Nigerians, to put it one way, “don’t take nonsense”. The thought of a designer firing back at a critic for ripping into their collection is all too imaginable. This however, isn’t commonplace, because for better or worse, the “fashion critics” corner in Nigeria is effectively empty.

Arise Magazine Fashion Week has come and gone, with some collections being hailed as the second coming of fashion Christ and others, well, not so much. However, any report on the event seems to have little more than pictures of the clothes. Who, in the fashion industry, is actually paying more than surface attention? And no, we don’t mean a Nigerian equivalent of Joan Rivers whose job it would be to rip apart red carpet looks, however fun that might be.

Regardless of the fact that a lot of people who masquerade under that title seem to want to do more than be the internet equivalent of Simon Cowell, it wouldn’t be too much of a stretch to say feedback goes a long way.

Unfortunately, the most by way of “fashion criticism” that exists would be twitter or blog comments section gossip about how one collection is “overrated’ and another is “groundbreaking”. It’s curious, and perhaps symptomatic of the fact that people still don’t take fashion “that seriously” here. The “insiders” do, of course; You’d be hard pressed to come across a stylist who wouldn’t take advantage of every opportunity to drill into you just how difficult and unglamorous their work really is.

However, it seems for those “looking in” it’s still at the stage of pretty clothes and hot models. How many people would pay attention to a fashion review? How many would read through what they would most likely view as ramblings about “structure” and “prints” for more than just the sensationalism that might come from the writer being a little too scathing? Perhaps an Emmy Collins Twitter tirade against any critics who dare speak ill of his clothes? Our guess is, not that many.

But how will our fashion get better if no one is professionally and analytically telling ouy talent the truth?

What say you? Would the fashion scene benefit from more professional critics as opposed to just observers and reporters excited to get a VIP pass?

Let’s know your thoughts.

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