THE Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) 2016 is gearing up to be the biggest fashion show, featuring about 60 designers from Nigeria and overseas. The fashion expo will flag off on July 1 and run through 3rd July. AFWN provides a unique platform that celebrates the best of Africa’s upcoming designers, showcase their creativity and colours to the rest of the world. Recall that the show which is the brainchild of Princess Ronke Ademiluyi made its debut in 2014, making this edition the third. According to plan, the week will open today with Street Catwalk at The Palms Mall, Victoria Island, Lagos, followed by a conference at the Eko Hotel next Friday. The day-two of the event is back-to-back catwalk shows from upcoming to established designers. The fashion extravaganza will be rounded off with gala night which is expected to attract the crème de la crème of the society, top professionals and fashion entrepreneurs. The organizers also disclosed that a young designer will be ‘introduced to the international scene as part of the inventions of this year’s outing. At the end of the show, someone will emerge as The designer of the year and will be sponsored to international shows.
Effect did a spotlight and spoke with some members of the organizing team.
PRINCESS RONKE ADEMILUYI,
Visioner, AFWL, AFWN
SHE was born in London but had her education in Nigeria and the UK. The business entrepreneur is a Law graduate of Thames Valley University, UK. On her return to Nigeria in the early 90s, Ademiluyi set up Rukkies, high street fashion boutiques with branches in Ikeja, Surulere, Lekki and Idumota all in Lagos. Her passion for young African designers was inspired by an exhibition which enabled boutiques to showcase their collections. Encouraged by the outcome of the event, she set up the first ever- Africa Fashion Week London in 2011. The show has since provided over 100 young UK-based designers, free platform to showcase their collections to a global audience. In 2015, the South African government sponsored 30 of its designers to participate at the Africa Fashion Week London, a show which is the biggest Africa-inspired fashion event in the UK. On May 18, 2014, Ademiluyi successfully hosted the first edition of Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, bringing the show to the home-front and African continent.
a.k.a Mr Mahogany
THE Creative Director of Mahogany International and Project Director, AFWL, AFWN has these to say about the forthcoming show. “This year’s season 3 is going to be an interesting year because it’s what I call, the first International Fashion Week Nigeria. There are designers and models coming from different parts of the country to participate. it makes us more international than other shows out there. The theme this year is about connecting with AFrica. We have models coming from Kenya, Cameroun, Ghana and Senegal, Uganda and Cotonou. We have quite a number of models coming from outside the country. We have designers coming from other African countries and from the UK. So, we’ve got to give it something different this year. We have the celebrity catwalk as well, showing what they feel is their passion on the Gala night, which is the 3rd of July. We are also trying to encourage the designers to bring in some show element into their collections. It’s not just a straight catwalk, it’s going to be walk mixed with music, choreography and allow the people to see how fashion is vibrant and colourful”.
YETUNDE Ogunnubi (Yetty D), a public relations professional is the Communications Director for AFWL, AFWN brands.
With over 13 years experience in the industry, Ogunnubi is the creative director and proprietor of Yetty D label/ Revolution, based in London. Over the years, she has organised an annual fashion event named after her label in which she uses the platform to promote emerging labels and artists following which many of them have gone ahead to become household names.
Yetty, who is a lady of many talents has co-produced, mentored and managed a reality TV Show, Uber Africa Unmasked which followed the lives of up and coming designers in London. The show which will be aired soon is to unveil the next generation of best African inspired designers. Ogunnubi also worked as fashion editor for a London-based Isaac Outlook Magazine.
ABIOLA’S assignment is to ensure there is no yawning gap in the show. His words, “I go after people who will give us support. I assist the founder to make sure things work perfectly. One of the things we are trying to do with AFWL/AFWN is improve on what we had done in the previous years. We improve in every area, in terms of designers that are going to showcase their talents. We, the organizers, also go the extra miles in terms of what we put into the show. So, expect more creativity, innovation, excitement, and colours at the forthcoming show. We are sure you all will be very happy and proud of us by the time the expo begins.
BOLA AWOSIKA, CEO, BEvent Logistics Synergy
“AS event consultant/planner, we’re involved in helping to plan, putting down a structure, ensuring brand visibility, getting sponsors and positioning the brand to the right network of people. The show has been in existence in the UK for six years, but this is its third year in Nigeria. This year, expect to see a lot of corporate organisations: from communication to banking, fashionistas, high ranking people. The show is aimed at discovering upcoming /unknown fashion designers. We are aware that Lagos State has funds for SME’s, We are aware there are funds for women and that Bank of Industry has funds for designers too. But how do people access these things? That’s where we are different. We need to access these funds by introducing these designers to the banks, or corporate organisations.