With its unique, burgeoning art class and dominating business ventures, the city of Lagos has quickly established itself as a culture hub for Nigeria and much of West Africa. For the sixth time, Lagos Fashion and Design Week held at the Federal Palace Hotel returned with a bigger than ever line up of rising and established industry talents. The four day runway affair had more than 50 designers from the across the continent brandishing their creative know-with-all in an effort to speak on the current Afropolitan experience. This new generation of sartorial whiz-kids are as obsessed with luxury tailoring, street style, and social media as their Western counterparts and ready to flaunt their fashion scene to the global masses. Models.com traveled to LFDW to discover for ourselves the buzzing energy and noted the stand-out collections that are on the precipice of worldwide notoriety.
Photos by Clement Ogoh
When it came to the new guard, there were countless talents that revealed their growing design expertise from first time showers Tokyo James’ androgynous tailoring and edgy hardware and Lamipo Somoye’s Rayo conceptual collection of utilitarian chic with raw edges and quirky cowboy headgear, to Orire Omatasola’s easy-fitting, sorbet colored stamped Ré line that included her first foray into gender fluid menswear.
Côte d’Ivoire hosts Loza Maléombho’s eponymous line and along with her collaboration with Dutch wax textile maker Vlisco, the designer displayed an ample showing of ruffled, print heavy pieces with ornate gilded embellishments. Senegal’s Sophie Zinga focused on evening and cocktail frocks in hues of ivory, canary, and crimson with fringe, lace and tulle peppered throughout. Grey embraced all the colors of the rainbow with bold, monochromatic looks in hues like sky blue, pale lavender, and coral and had an advanced eye for print mixing.
Nkwo, Ladunni Lambo, and Washington Roberts played with conceptually sculptural silhouettes and textiles that were a pleasant surprise to see in reality. Nkwo represented deconstructed indigo and white denim with embellished gossamer tunic dresses for an exploratory collection that paired soft with hard seamlessly. Ladunni Lambo similarly had a stellar execution of delicate meets stiff with her inspired Itsekiri tribal take of dove white, feather light organza shirting mixed with traditional aso-eke textiles woven into molded shirts and skirts. Washington Roberts went big with vibrantly tailored full length skirts and trousers that played with proportion for the evening.
From the menswear side, many pushed the boundaries of gender flux with looks made for the boys but borrowed by the girls for a whole new category of power dressing. Kenneth Ize’s stoic, pinstriped silhouettes were loose and easygoing while Adebayo Oke-Lawal’s Orange Culture was youthful and rebellious in spirit with colorful shorts paired with tunics, shirts, and blazers emblazoned with a sign language graphic. South Africa’s Maxhosa by Laduma Ngxokolo made a case for vividly woven Xhosa inspired knits for Spring in matching short and skirt sets as well as cheeky bra tops for the ladies.
When it finally came to elevated evening wear designers presented their interpretations of the stylish, modern African woman with grace and high glamour. Bridget Awosika’s woman was polished, contemporary, and on the move and her wardrobe reflected perfectly with flowy silk separates that were far from fussy and a winding road motif that was sprinkled throughout. Lanre Da Silva Ajayi was cocktail focused and mature and excelled best in a trio of pearly printed gowns that resembled landscape murals. With a focus on his core DNA, Tsemaye Binitie presented a well curated color palette of nudes, cream, black, turquoise, and tangerine, deconstructed personal drawings printed on flowy, silken looks, and paillette adorned lace pieces that hit at the mid-calf. Week closer Lisa Folawiyo made a momentous return to the LFDW catwalk with quirky, mix media printed looks peppered with sequins that were certain crowd-pleasers for her LF girls.