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Fashion. Say what you will about it, it still remains one of the most connective threads we have as human beings. It transcends boundaries and goes far beyond the clothes, shoes, accessories etc. There is personality embedded in fashion regardless of your taste in clothes, choice of designer or style aesthetic and the vast growth in technology and the rapid pace of social media has torn down the barriers and made the universality of fashion even more apparent.
From the MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week held in Lagos, showcasing collections from 33 Nigerian designers, and international Guest designer Matthew Williamson to the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa held in Johannesburg, there were shows, exhibition and a celebration of the very best of African talent. After stops in New York, London, Milan and Paris, anything fashion related should be overwhelming but there was a freshness to this, a uniqueness and an unexpected charm. I loved it.
From seasoned pros like Jewel By Lisa and Tiffany Amber to newbies, ReBahia and contemporary cool designers Grey, there was a plethora of talent showing off the best of their quality and craftsmanship.
Over the years, steadily, African designers have come to the fore and their works have contradicted the preconceived idea about African fashion being of the tribal or traditional aesthetic. Designers, whilst still paying homage to their cultures, showed a range of contemporary looks, infused with intricate and exquisite detailing with a major, modern edge. The looks were luxury and laid-back, fashion forward and fun. Traditional fabrics were manipulated into eponymous pieces, a la Jewel By Lisa’s interpretation with the Fulani print, Lanre Da Silva’s butterfly prints were enthralling to behold and worked a sweet charm in her easy aesthetic. Duaba Serwa put on show edgy looks with a slick and sharp definition and Loin Cloth and Ashes was romantically charged, amongst many others.
And this is the true magic of fashion, surpassing the label but encompassing the talent and creativity.
The days are long gone when we can only pigeon hole fashion to the quartet, there is a new wave now, an enticing movement into a new era and its so fun to see this taking shape. Here’s to more of the very best.