By Ugochi Obiajunwa
Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW), which has been in existence since 2011 has established itself as the premiere fashion event in Africa.
This fashion event holds annually in Lagos and has left the Nigerian metropolis of Lagos to become the fashion capital of Africa.
Some of the designers we expect to see at this year’s edition are Maki Oh, the Lagos-based brand founded by Nigerian designer Amaka Osakwe, which has helped propel African fashion into the western spotlight after being worn by Michelle Obama and Beyoncé.
There’s also Alara, the striking Lagosian concept store founded by Nigerian businesswoman Reni Folawiyo, which has championed African talent from the very beginning, stocking local designers alongside the likes of Raf Simons and Stella McCartney.
This season, LFDW will run from October 25-28 at Eko Atlantic. Hailed as a celebration of a Pan-African fashion industry, the line-up will feature 50 fashion shows, alongside showrooms, after-parties, and discussion panels with business leaders and designers.
Ahead of the show, see the five designers on our radar this season.
Maki Oh designer Amaka Osakwe, who makes all of her clothes from start to finish in Nigeria, is celebrated for her bold prints and liberal application of raffia and silk fringing. Her signature is adire, a manual textile dyeing technique passed down by the Yoruba people of West Africa. This week, Africa’s most famous fashion brand will return to headline Lagos Fashion and Design Week after a critically acclaimed outing at New York Fashion Week last month.
Born in Brazil and educated in America, designer Loza Maléombho established her brand in New York in 2009 before relocating the company to Côte d’Ivoire in 2012. With production entirely based in the West African nation, Maléombho’s designs inject ultra-modern cuts with a dose of Ivorian tribal aesthetics. Finding inspiration in the diversity of Côte d’Ivoire – where more than 60 distinct ethnic groups co-exist.Expect tribal prints with unexpected slits, futuristic cuts and hypnotic geometry, which can be found on Oxosi – the luxury e-tailer dedicated to made-in-Africa brands.
Lisa folawiyo established her label in 2005, Nigerian designer Lisa Folawiyo continues to carve out a unique niche for African design around the globe. Known for her fusion of modern western silhouettes and colourful African prints including ankara, Folawiyo counts, in addition to the dozens of Nollywood stars and Nigerian it-girls, western celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o, Lucy Liu and Solange Knowles as her clients. Preserving traditional embellishment techniques, local artisans meticulously craft every single Lisa Folawiyo creation by hand in a process that averages 240 hours from start to finish, winning the attention of stockists like Selfridges, Moda Operandi and Mytheresa.
Like many Nigerian designers, Nkwo Onwuka does not have any formal training in fashion design. Having attained a psychology degree, Nkwo was discovered at the London department store Liberty in 2006 while wearing one of her creations -a wrap top that caught the attention of an employee, who introduced Onwuka to the store’s buyer. Since her discovery, Onwuka has exhibited her work – exemplified by her experimental usage of traditional beading and weaving – around the world, from New York to Berlin.
Cameroonian designer Imane Ayissi, the son of a beauty queen and a champion boxer, began his career in fashion as a model, walking for the likes of Dior, Lanvin and Givenchy before coming into his own as a fashion designer. Fascinated by the idea of bricolage and known for his volume, movement, pleats and draping, Ayissi finds inspiration in dance – he was once a member of the Ballet National du Cameroun – and architecture. His creations are available made-to-measure through his e-commerce store.
Credit: Getty Images
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