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AFW 2020: Ize wins as emerging designers dazzle

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The Arise Fashion Week 2020 is over. However, while it was a very ‘pandemic-like’ event, the clothes definitely were not. The event had to adapt to the pandemic by going virtual and streamed to a global audience across multiple platforms; that didn’t dampen the excitement, beauty and elegance that usually come with the show.

From garments made with brightly coloured Aso-oke material to pieces covered with glittering stones, designers held their own in creating garments and pieces that were as unique as they were beautiful.

Themed 30 under 30, Kenneth Ize walked home with the grand prize of $100,000, making him the first designer to win cash reward at the event; this is the first time the fashion show is attaching a monetary reward to its ceremony. The LVMH 2019 finalist featured colourful striped jackets, tailored suits worn over tights as well as knitted hats in his collection, mostly using fabrics sourced from within the continent.

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Top model Naomi Campbell named the top eight designers from the 30 that showcased amongst whom were Lagos Space Programme, Ziva Lagos, TJWho, Onalaja and Ajabeng. While Ize took home the grand prize, Re Lagos and Mmuso Maxwell came second and third respectively, going home with $75,000 and $50,000.

While his pieces definitely stood out for the judges, there were others whose collections were just as spectacular, lighting up the runway with their creative designs, including Wuman (Nigeria) whose very streetwear collection included prints and bold patterns in a muted palette of burnt orange, dark green and black, amongst other colours.

TJ, Who also impressed with his very structural clothes while Lambo’s expert combination of aso-oke with adire and sometimes cotton, gave the modern designs a very African twist. Coming in muted colours of mostly blue, red and white, the pieces were accessorised with big and long earrings and in some cases, cowrie beads that complemented them rather nicely.

Ziva Lagos with its shiny, carefree and playful aesthetic was also a breath of fresh air and though she didn’t make top eight, she’s a brand to watch out for in the nearest future.
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