The 2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week held last weekend from the 25th to the October 2017. The annual showcase of not just Nigeria’s finest but some of Africa’s most notable designers were hosted this year at the rising luxury citadel in the City of Lagos that is Eko Atlantic. The show drew in all the usual local Fashion crowd; From Editors and bloggers to stylists, media personalities, Fashion ‘it girls’ and everything in-between. A host of international media including CNN, Vogue Italia, Marie Claire and Huffington Post graced the occasion to witness Nigeria and Africa’s take on High Fashion. With a much smarter approach to ticket sales than previous editions, HLFDW 2017 also raked in quite a crowd of fashion enthusiasts.
The evolution of HLFDW has been rather interesting to watch. This year saw a more organised and synthesised show; from the fashion from attendees to designs off the runway and the events and mini-hubs that ran on all four days of HLFDW. It is difficult even for critics to not acquiesce the positive evolution of the show since its inception. This year’s edition really put Lagos as a Fashion Capital on the map in a different way. Like every other truly credible Fashion Capital, Lagos appears to be forming its very own Fashion Week Signature. Vibrant, eclectic yet laidback styling, signature tents to host attendants and a rising focus on creative collaboration and business aspects of building a Fashion brand.
What’s even more mind-blowing than a regional aesthetic in evolution is the tangible presence of an equally growing Ideology at Lagos Fashion and Design Week. From its inception, HLFDW was geared towards empowering Nigerian and then African Designers. It’s been about charting direction and a future for African Fashion. HLFDW has strived to ensure that the African Voice in Fashion beyond being an Echo is a boom that shapes the conversation and the evolution of Fashion in modern times.
In years past, HLFDW had made some major gains in line with this vision; improving its strides and imprint on the global scene year after year with collectives in every capital from Milan to London and Paris. However, it was the strength of an ideology that was embedded in the entire show; from themes and sponsors to designers that were really the announcement that HLFDW is geared to take its place in the Fashion World.
The title of this year’s showcase was “Africa: Shaping Fashion’s Future” and it was no naming for the show. The progenitors of the brand took the theme to the task. Among the many wonderful and carefully aligned sponsors, the most notably aligned to this year’s title and the theme was Visionscape.
Visionscape is an internationally renowned utility group that brought their campaign for proper waste disposal to the 2017 Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Its campaign on waste disposal was anchored on “Sustainable Fashion”. This is part of the growing design philosophy and trend of sustainability. The objective is to create a system which can be supported indefinitely in terms of human impact on the environment and social responsibility. The Visionscape group, in a press release writes that , ‘’as a champion of environmental waste management, it sees its participation at this year’s HLFDW as a positive vehicle to drive the sustainability objective as the industry seeks to hit new heights in its development.
According to the organization, research shows that 12% of the 11, 000 tonnes of waste produced daily in Lagos state is from textile. Unlike other types of waste, however, textile takes approximately 200 years to decompose. The Organisation took time to educate stakeholder within the Nigerian and African Industry on the importance of proper waste disposal and recycling in accounting for the design process.
Sustainability in the Fashion Industry globally is a rising movement with brands like Stella McCartney, Viktor and Rolf Couture and Tome, innovating design along those lines. In the region, Visionscape was enthusiastic to reference and potentially partner with brands like; Lisa Folawiyo, Eki Orleans, Edun, Studio 189 and AAKS. With more Nigerian brands embracing ethical Fashion at a much quicker rate than visible in other parts of the world, Africa is poised to be a driver of Ethical Fashion in the near future. Having organisations like Visionscape drive conversation on this crucial element of sustainability in Fashion this year reflected an all-encompassing and thorough theme execution from the HLFDW Team.
Ever the group to focus on practical aspects that limit growth and sustainability in the Nigerian and African design space, HLFDW Hosted a Business series and Industry Talks.
The Business segments and Fashion talks with a number of established professionals were geared towards giving direction and information to remedy some of the challenges rising talent in the industry face.
‘Fashionomics Africa’ hosted Tony Elumelu, Chairman, United Bank of Africa, for a Masterclass. The Business Mogul and the driver of entrepreneurship addressed aspirants and young Creatives on opportunities and more detailed economic aspects of running a successful business.
Deputy Editor-In-Chief, Vogue Italia, Sara Maino, Fashion Director, GQ Style, MobolajiDawodu, Sisi Johnson, Brand Strategist at Huffington Post and more were on hand, alongside Creator of HLFDW, OmoyemiAkerele; to give talks and engage attendees on various important aspects of brand building and raising a successful and competitive Industry.
Seamlessly organised, carefully curated and well attended, the 2017 Heineken Fashion and Design Week was Africa’s entrée into a new, directional and hopefully sustainable design future.