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On The Catwalk: Should Nigerian Designers Who Show at International Fashion Weeks Show Those Same Collections at Local Fashion Weeks?

Richard Akuson

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On The Catwalk’ is a regular column by BellaNaija‘s former fashion writer and critic turned fashion publicist  – Richard Akuson that explores the length and breadth of the emerging Nigerian fashion industry, weighing in his thoughts on happenings within the industry, one issue at a time.

Fresh off a remarkable showing at the recently concluded South Africa Menswear Week (SAMW) (read my review here), Nigerian menswear designers, Maxivive, Orange Culture, Tokyo James, Kola Kuddus, Mai Atafo and Emmy Kasbit showed collections ranging from 3 looks (in the case of SAMW first-timer Emmy Kasbit) to 18 looks (in the case of Mai Atafo).

Orange Culture samw 2016 bellanaijaIMG_284472016_

After my review of their different collections, I was on a phone conversation with one of the designers when I curiously asked if he was showing a different collection at Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) 2016, which starts sometime in October or if he’s show the very same collection. The designer wasn’t sure either. He says although he’d like to show something completely different from what he’d shown a few days ago at the SAMW, funds are not necessarily available for that. The likelihood? He might most probably show the same collection at LFDW.

This is the case with designer Lisa Folawiyo, who showed the same collection she’d debuted at New York Fashion Week (NYFW) Spring/Summer 2015 at the 2014 Lagos Fashion and Design Week and Mai Atafo who’d shown the same collection he’d debuted at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Africa some days earlier at LFDW.

Somewhere within this thin lining, lies a slight disrespect or a lack of regard for LFDW or its show goers. And for me, that’s a letdown and a bore. Why should I come to a show that I’ve seen several months before either in person or  by proxy, via blogs, at a completely different fashion week several months later?

Absolutely not! Not even as a recap or for the sake of the presentations as the clothes are primary to everything else. I’d want to come to a show with great expectations and have them met with pleasant surprises. And seeing the same clothes that I’d seen months before will not count as that.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that these designers should be made to choose. To either debut their Spring/Summer collections at LFDW exclusively, or made to create new ones specially for LFDW after such international showing.

But beyond the surface value of things, I know there’s the slippery slope of fashion politics. LFDW would not want to loose these major designers who are somewhat the placeholders of it’s schedule. And an ultimatum of LFDW vs. NYFW or any international week at that, almost anyone would go for the latter.

Consequently, LFDW might not be ready for such a drastic step. After all, last season without Lisa Folawiyo and Deola got tongues wagging, imagine one without Orange Culture and Mai Atafo.

As LFDW 2016 draws nearer, it’ll be interesting to see what happens next. Will the likes of Orange Culture (the hallmark of Nigerian menswear), Mai Atafo, Tokyo James, Maxivive, Kola Kuddus be forced to create new collections specially for LFDW, or will they take the easy way of showing the same collections that they just did at South Africa Menswear Week?

What happens next? Only time will tell! But I keep watch with unabated gaze.

Richard Akuson is founder at The PR Boy a boutique media and press relations agency for fashion, beauty and lifestyle brands with a specialty in raising the overall awareness of a brand, product or image of a company or person. Richard is also a weekly columnist at Bellanaija.com ('On The Catwalk' and 'Collection Conversations'), he's also a party host at The Front Row and a vlogger at Get Pink with Richard . Want to reach out? Follow @richardakuson on Instagram and @richardakuson on Twitter or send an email to [email protected]

11 Comments

  1. Moral Briggz

    July 16, 2016 at 4:40 pm

    Well personally, i see nothing wrong with a designer showcasing his works at an international level and showcasing it at a local level. Now some would not have seen all the works or not even privileged to have attended the fashion week or day.
    Well, it might not be right professionally, as a designer… if truly you are one. One design shouldn’t be the only thing that makes the name. So there are many other works you can showcase and still make your name and keep the prestige.
    It only gets us bored when we keep seeing the same thing over and over. No developments and poor creativity, zeal and skill.
    Not showing the same set of collection again further speaks for your Label; shows more creativity and skills ( this guy is really into the fashion design thingy)

  2. E-O

    July 16, 2016 at 4:56 pm

    I’ve had this same discussion with my friend before and I’m glad we’re not alone as regards this issue. This shouldn’t be a problem for unisex brands like Mai Atafo, he can decide to show the male line at SAMW and the female at LFDW and not the funny stunt he pulled last year at the show. However, solely Menswear brands like Orange Culture, Maxivive (my weakness.lol) and Kola Kuddus will have to decide if they want to show two collections in one season, split in half or alternate where they show each season, otherwise, this repeating collections just seem like a slap on the face of LFDW.

  3. Olulinks

    July 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    Are the people over there better? Why can’t we have it there and here? What’s good for the weed is also good for the ganja

  4. Manny

    July 16, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I find it upsetting that Nigerian designers repeat collections on the LFDW runway. I can perfectly understand the funding Issues with making a seperate collection but still it would be better if they showcased something different.
    And frankly speaking, if you take all your pieces out of the country and still return with all, then why go in the first place? And if the case is that you sell some overseas and remake them when you get back, why not just include new ones?
    The world is too small for you to be repeating pieces for us to see, everytime!
    Either way, I love all the effort you guys put into your collections and I just wish you will defend your #buyNigerian hashtag by truly putting Us 1st.

  5. flip23

    July 16, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    what a lot of people commenting here do not realize is this- most of these Nigerian designers are self financed, and the cost of making a collection is really crazy. And personally i do not see how most of them get back their investment, considering the economic situation in Nigeria and the size of the fashion industry in Nigeria ( bend down select, cheap Chinese import, lack of major malls and distribution outlets, and lack of a proper fashion manufacturing industry).
    The ones who probably make some money from this fashion business are very few ( Deola, from making wedding dresses, and considering her whole staff is “imported” i do not even think she will be making a whole lot, after paying their wages. Jewel by Lisa, we know she does not need the money from her line anyway, i dont even think she has made a complete collection in a while). But these young designers who do not have a “couture= made to order” side to their business, i cant see how they can ever turn a profit.

    The whole point of the fashion show is to showcase what you have for the season to buyers, and manufacturers. I do not think they are getting that in either the international shows or the Nigerian one , so what is the point of making two collections and investing money you wont get back.

  6. Baby gurl

    July 16, 2016 at 9:45 pm

    Who are the buyers? The so called media is totally and I mean 100% uninspiring. What press? There is no defined fashion industry in the real sense of the term. We really have a long way to go. As I have deviated, let me come back. The reason our designers show abroad is different from the reason they show at home. Food for thought.

  7. Joke

    July 17, 2016 at 3:50 am

    The problem with Nigerians is that we copy the Western world to do things the way they do it, but our environment is very different. There’s too much hype in the business, but the truth is that the world is not necessarily looking for African designers to buy from them, so most of this international shows they attend, though good, are a waste of funds, time and energy. I think some designers need to stick to look books for now as the industry grows. Focus on making affordable ready to wear and not the unaffordable couture everyone seems to want to do. Most of the big name designers support fashion shows by selling store brand ready to wear clothes and accessories. They sell these in high numbers and keep their businesses moving. We are not at that point. So, if a self funded designer doesn’t have the time, funds and energy to create a line for each show, then they can show what they have. It is very easy to sit down and say what others should do. Try doing a line and see what it takes before talking.

  8. LeSigh

    July 17, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Richard, I employ you to do research on the fashion calendar. When you do, please delete this write up. I employ you do so much research on fashion in general, take a short course or something.. before you declare yourself a fashion critic and all those many grande things in your bio. Fashion is NOT entertainment. It is a business! It is not for you to sit on the quack FROWS at LFDW expecting a spectacle. Please google “explanation of the fashion calendar”… then you will understand why designers show the same collections weeks or months apart. Your articles break my heart most times, because of this huge platform you have been given. Bella Naija gives you a great opportunity to educate Nigeria and Africa but instead you are misinforming people and doing designers no favours. Please do more research.

  9. Prince

    July 18, 2016 at 5:42 pm

    EMPHATICALLY YES!!! What’s wrong with that

  10. plsBequiet

    July 19, 2016 at 4:04 am

    Richard this article shows that you know nothing about fashion or Fashion weeks which is shameful since you are a self proclaimed over sabi fashionista fashion critic. As a fashion person you should know that pictures hardly ever do collections as much justice as a visual presentation of the story line to the collection. Also its very expensive producing a collection in sample sizes for models only because after the shows then what??? Alot of Nigerian consumers and even celebrities are bigger than model sizes so the samples cant even be sold after the shows, but for Richards entertainment designers should produce new collections overnight to entertain you at your LFDW that helps no one but a select few. Shame on you for this article!!!

    LeSigh your very correct.

    Bella Naija PLEASE start screening Richard’s posts before they are posted, he’s making too many errors.

  11. orji

    July 19, 2016 at 8:19 am

    This post is stupid. Someone needs to go research.. by someone I mean Richard.

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