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The 2016 fashion year in review

By Tobi Awodipe   |   31 December 2016   |   4:13 am

Olajumoke-Orisaguna

As the fashion year and the year in general is coming to a close, it is important to reflect on the defining events that have positively shaped the Nigerian fashion community through its runway, designs and lookbooks.

Although still considered a baby in the eyes of the international fashion community as major fashion weeks in Paris (1973), Milan (1958), New York (1943) and London (1984) have been around for decades, Nigeria fashion makes up for its youthfulness with its originality by establishing designers that are authentically African and embracing contemporary realities with relevance to the culture and environment where it is being sold. This year has been interesting to say the least. The economy is no longer what it used to be but thankfully, fashion did not die, instead we witnessed amazing shows, designs and creativity among designers, especially among upcoming designers. Top fashion trends that we saw this year include prints (they will always be in season hopefully), lace, chiffon, ruffles, bright colours, and stripes amongst others.

In this review, we bring you top three fashion events that defined the year and designers to watch out for in the coming year.

African Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN)
Held in July, AFWN is an offshoot of the Africa Fashion Week London (AFWL). It showcased 55 amazing designers to the world. Headlined by Yemi Alade, the weeklong event commenced with first ever “Textile and Garment Manufacturing Conference”, which aimed to boost job creation in the industry as well as redefine textile and garment production processes.

The three-day event featured catwalk and fashion shows from the array of designers, which included both upcoming and established designers.

Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW)
Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) was a four-day event that showcased arguably the best designers across the continent. Held in October, it was four days of high class and breathtaking designs.

Beyond the runway shows and presentations featuring new season collections from designers in the African fashion industry, the event provided platforms to reposition fashion as a useful tool for commerce and creativity in Nigeria. Showrooms featuring fashion products, textiles and accessories were present as well as The Fashion Focus supported by LFDW Fashion Hub – workshops and master classes that facilitate knowledge transfer, information exchange and networking opportunities across board and the Fashion Business Series to facilitate conversations with key players from the Nigerian and Pan African fashion industry as a useful tool for exchanging ideas, networking and developing the fashion industry.

Almost 60 designers showcased and strutted the runways with their summer collection and new trends have been spotted already with fringes, lace, chiffon and New Age Fashion being among the most popular.

The Guaranty Trust Bank Fashion Weekend (GTBFW)
Capping major fashion events for the year and also raising the bar and setting a new standard for fashion shows was the well-attended GTBank FASHN WKND. The GTBank Fashion Weekend, with the theme, Promoting Enterprise rounded up the fashion shows for the year. Held last month, it was one of the most anticipated fashion events for the year and featured six designers. In any case, the number of designers did not in any way water down the quality of designs even though we would have loved to see more designers strut their stuff on the runway.

Positioned as a consumer focused event, The GTBank Fashion Weekend was a meeting place for all stakeholders within the fashion community and apart from the runway shows, it also had retail exhibitions and master classes as well.

Designers To Watch
A lot of popular designers that presented at shows did not have any new designs; several did not have look books for this season and simply repeated what we have seen time and time again.

But it is not all doom and gloom as several newbies and some established still managed to impress. It would be very interesting to see what they turn out for us in the New Year. Notable among these include Maki Oh, Washington Roberts, All About That Curvy Life, T.I Nathan, Deji Eniola, Kiki Kamanu and DNA by Iconic Invanity.

Model Breakout Of The Year
Jumoke Orisaguna has to be the most fashion feel-good story of the year. Wandering into TY Bello’s Tinie Tempah shoot by mistake, can simply be described as being at the right place at the right time for the 29-year-old former bread seller turned model.

TY Bello photographed her for the cover of ThisDay Style after people pointed out that she looked like a model and, since then, her life has never been the same. She was signed onto Few Models before moving onto Beth Models and has graced the cover of several magazines and featured on television, even by CNN.

Jumoke is said to be taking courses at the up-scale Poise Academy where she would get a degree in English Grammar and Communication, and also in Total Personality Development. In only a few months, she became a brand ambassador for Payporte and other brands, and also scored modelling gigs with fashion brands like Salma Guzel.




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