These three emerging Designers are some of the most promising Nigerian fashion designers to watch our for in the next couple of years
Masks may still be a crucial accessory, but the extravaganza roared back to life with live runway shows after the coronavirus pandemic had disrupted plans for Lagos Fashion Week to take place in 2020. The annual event kicked off on Wednesday, October 27 with big names like Lisa Folawiyo having an off-site presentation. Conversation-starting fashion brand, Orange Culture also hosted a live off-site show for their collection dubbed “Peacock Riot”, with pixelated clouds as the backdrop and live music provided by Nigeria’s very own Falana and Lojay. There was a frenzy of activity onsite and offsite, as some of the biggest names in the African fashion industry participated in the continent’s most prestigious and important fashion event.
Andrea Iyamah — a true beachwear designer — also had a stunning presentation at LFW with her eponymous label’s comfortable pieces. Iyamah is a proponent of empowering women by creating practical pieces that suit their individual style and her presentation reflected this. She threw a curveball with her LFW 2021 show as she had her presentation at sunset — a period which suited the rich earthy summer theme her collection focused on. The fabrics and prints were light, and she stayed true to her typical colourful feminine palette.
Lagos Space Program’s indigenious-themed presentation did not fail to impress spectators as well. Titled Osun Sèègèsí/Project 6, the collection which was exhibited at Alara’s show space embodied the culture of the goddess Osun worshippers and explored Yoruba indigo-dying traditions.
From Lisa Folawiyo, to Andrea Iyamah, Lagos Fashion Week is never short of big names who have become synonymous with Nigerian fashion. But, a renewed focus on emerging talent this year means a new generation of designers shook up the schedule, as many of them took a fresh approach to design. While the most anticipated African fashion event had the usual participants of African fashion, there also were plenty of new names showcasing themselves.
From the new labels championing unconventional takes on Nigerian fabrics to designers who are squaring creativity with consciousness, here are three rising designers that stood out at the 2021 Lagos Fashion Week
If there’s any designer out there with outstanding talent and worth being known for it, it is definitely Desiree Iyama. This up-and-coming artist nourishes hearts and souls with exceptional designs suited for those who yearn for luxurious wears rich with classic details which include beading, frills and corsetry. Her impeccable craftsmanship is genuinely obvious in her works as was evident in her LFW 2021 presentation, and this highlights the glamour of those who wear her creations. She presented her newest collection with the theme “Tomorrow’s Blooms”, which consisted of three looks with one common thread – asymmetric-layering silhouettes. The warm colour collection was inspired by the Saguaro Cactus – a plant indegineous to the Sonoran Desert. According to the designer, every single garment represents strength, joy, audaciousness and femininity. Sturdy fabrics and quintessential details such as the fringe beading and the puritan collar from Desiree’s masterpiece are rare items in the ultra-modern sartorial world. Her great attention to details, not to mention her classy taste in choosing fabrics resulted in her elegant and regal creations.
Top-notch fashion and environmentally friendly are a few of the words we can use to describe Kadiju’s collection. The designer’s creation was inspired solely by transparency and zero waste and serves as her contribution to climate action and environmental preservation. The collection was created entirely out of fabric waste which wonderfully transformed into ultra-modern sophisticated garments with the glamorous silhouette of needle felt fabric and silk-like hypoallergenic breathable recycled cotton linter fabric. Kadiju brought the fusion of exaggerated details and her passion for sustainability to life through this colourful, modern cutting and variety of high quality fabrics. Kadiju’s presentation revealed a whimsical ready to wear line, with wholehearted feminine shapes and lavish detailing. Her authentic know-how has turned her into an outstanding promising designer.
Lohije chose to pay homage to the people who work to bring designers’ visions to reality with their Lagos Fashion Week debut collection. The collection featured bold patterns and prints on fabrics like adire, silk and aso oke all made by hand by Nigerian artisans. The designer took it a bit further and incorporated components made from earthy materials like the coconut shell buttons and the bucket hat made from loom-woven water hyacinth sourced from the riverine areas in Lagos. The collection was a reflection of a world where artisans are respected and appreciated. Full of primary and secondary colours, stripes, geometric patterns and cloud-like batik patterns, the urban looks based on African fabrics were a far cry from the subtle pieces Lohije is typically associated with.