Inside Africa’s leading fashion week
Lagos Fashion Week, while yet to be recognised on the same scale as its international counterparts, proved itself as a launchpad for emerging African designers who have their sights set on global growth.
Maxhosa Africa, Emmy Kasbit, Andrea Iyamah, Iamisigo and Lagos Space Programme were standouts during the five-day event, which brought together an audience of press, buyers and local fashion advocates to the Nigerian city. Some African heavyweight designers were absent from the schedule, including Orange Culture and Christie Brown, who showed at Portugal Fashion Week in October.
In its 12th year, Lagos Fashion Week continues to grow, creating a buzz in West Africa’s biggest fashion capitals. The buzz is attracting international financial support. This year the Bestseller Foundation, a private fund, which has invested in businesses with positive social and environment impact, sponsored the event. “This is one of the best known fashion weeks on the continent,” says Bestseller’s deputy managing director Tine Fisker Henriksen, adding that Lagos Fashion week’s drive to provide long lasting support for the designers is what drew the Denmark-based organisation to the fashion week. Last year, some 1,800 guests attended the two-day showcase saw, while this year, approximately 3,900 guests attended.
“Lagos Fashion Week might be over, in terms of what’s happening on the runway, but the work still continues behind the scenes,” says founder Omoyemi Akerele. As the event grows the overall goal of the event remains as prevalent as ever, which is to continuously engage with the African fashion ecosystem and develop new initiatives to generate lasting impact on the continent as well as open up these designers to the international market, she says.
“There’s a need for a consistent platform like Lagos Fashion Week to not only consistently showcase the collections,” she says, “but to be able to shift the conversation from fashion as entertainment to fashion as a business, and provide useful tools for commerce and creativity across the continent.”