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‘Why we appointed Olajumoke Orisaguna as face of WAFW 2017’

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The fourth edition of the West Africa Fashion Week kicked off with a press conference recently, with the theme, ‘Fashion On The Streets’. In this exclusive interview with Evelyn Okorie Oyum, the creative brain behind the concept, she tells TOBI AWODIPE of how this year’s edition has been made more affordable, bigger and better as well as the reason behind making Olajumoke Orisaguna the face of the event

What is today’s launch all about?
St. Eve is not new to the media or the world of fashion but we are here to formally introduce to and address the media on this year’s major project called, “Fashion On The Streets” for the 2017 West African Fashion Week. This edition is mainly to cater to designers and creative people who don’t have the opportunity of an international platform to showcase themselves and what they do but we are going to change that this year. Most of the fashion shows around are very expensive, before you can get into it, you’d be asked to pay over N100, 000.

So we decided to make this year’s edition very cheap- just N5, 000. With this token amount, we want people to come and audition and if you have the creativity, there is no bias here; the audience and judges would decide right there and you would be the next star. We are doing it in five categories this year: photography, make-up, hair styling, modeling and fashion designing. Come and show what you have and that is it, we would make you the next star.

How many countries are participating in this year’s edition?
It is still holding in Nigeria for now, but hopefully, next year, we intend to move it outside Nigeria. Designers, stylists and models from three different countries have indicated interest that they want to participate, so it is talent-hunt all the way, all over Africa.
This is the fourth edition so far, what is going to be different about this year?
This edition is going to be bigger and better. It is going to be innovative, inventive and creative. We are actively hunting for talent in the fashion world: photography, modeling, beauty, hair styling and fashion designing.

How do interested participants get in touch with this event?
Everything is on our website, www.westafricanfashionweek.style, you can get the forms, send us an email on which category you want to participate in, make your payment and you’re done. It’s as simple as that.

Olajumoke Orisaguna is the face for this year’s event. How did you come about this choice?
Her story is the embodiment of this year’s theme. She started from the streets and rose overnight to stardom. With what has happened to her, those who have lost hope can now say, “This is an opportunity for me, I can be like Olajumoke.” This year is focusing on street fashion, most of the designs we wear today emanate from the streets and are now made vintage. When you go on the streets, you’re inspired every single time to create things. Most of the time, the streets are responsible for many creative designs that we see on the runway.

What are we expecting from this year’s edition?
It is going to be a wow show, it is going to inspire conversations, it is going to be relative, everyone would play a part in deciding who the next star is going to be. Fans would be allowed to vote on that day, there would be no bias in deciding the winner.

What would the winners go home with?
First place would win N500, 000, second place N250, 000 and third place would go home with N125, 000. Runners-up might get endorsements and we would try to help and support them or link them with companies that would support them. Sometimes, a runner-up might end up doing better than the winner; I believe it would be a door-opening experience for all participants. They would be given certificates of participation.

You have been in the industry for about five years now, how else have you been supporting and encouraging the up and comers?
The last three editions were mainly fashion shows and being a fashion designer myself, my goal is to sell creativity and improve my brand. This year, a lot would be done in improving this brand. We want to sell, we want to encourage them to sell and after this event, we shall launch an e-commerce for all the designers that have graced our stage, so that they can sell. Our social media and PR team would work round the clock in helping them brand their craft properly on every social media under this sky. This is the dream and end goal of every designer if I’m not mistaken and that is what we shall work towards.



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