‘On The Catwalk’ is a new column by BellaNaija’s former fashion writer and critic turned fashion publicist and vlogger – Richard Akuson. The column seeks to explore the length and breadth of the emerging Nigerian fashion industry. Richard shares his thoughts on happenings within the industry, one issue at a time.
The Glitz Africa Fashion Week has come and gone, but the presence of some of Nigeria’s most promising design talents at the week, I feel deserves some further questioning. Despite the fact that it was in Ghana, and indeed, the week might have helped in introducing them to a new audience – the question still remains, is it a good platform? If not, what could have necessitated such an outing?
From a personal point of view, while at BellaNaija and after, I got many job offers from established and emerging lifestyle/fashion print and digital publications offering me editor-level positions. The one question that always kept me in-check was if any of them was a step-up for my career and personal brand, that’s the question that I’ve employed throughout the span of my career. If I’m doing it, then it has to be adding something new or better to my career.
It is in the same vein that I view designers/brands and the decisions they take. At the end of the day, the reality of this industry is that you’re only as good as your last presentation or design, and if going with this line of thought, then Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Tokyo James and Maxivive are only as good as their most recent showcase at the Glitz Africa Fashion Week, which I must say wasn’t their strongest outings for the three brands.
Additionally, I am of the opinion that they did a not-so-great job in affiliating their brands to a fashion week that hasn’t visibly grown from their aesthetics, to the designer line-up and show goers. Regardless of how good an appearance fee might seem, assuming they were paid to show – because that’s the only logical explanation I can think of that can sufficiently explain why these quickly emerging Nigerian brands will decide to affiliate their brands to the fashion week – the long term effect of their decision should have taken priority over any momentary gratification they might have enjoyed.
For the record, I have nothing against the week, but for brands such as Tokyo James and Maxivive that were just fresh off a highly acclaimed showcase at South Africa Menswear Week, and Ejiro Amos Tafiri’s much talked about presentation at last season’s Lagos Fashion & Design Week, this was just an anti-climax to all the good work they’ve put out this year.
I thought the collections shown did so little in showing their skills. Ejiro Amos Tafiri showed what I thought wasn’t her best collection thus far, which is quite unsual especially because I’m aware of the level of showmanship and expertise that the brand employs in their shows and collections. The collection had structured ruffles in the glossiest organza that I’ve ever seen. Then there were pieces in glittery red that didn’t appear runway ready! The collection didn’t look cohesive and seemed a little bit rushed. What do you think?
Between Maxivive and Tokyo James, they both showed the same collections they’d shown in South Africa Menswear Week, which puts to question the need to show the same collection twice especially when worn the same way with no variation in presentation or styling. Tokyo most notably styled the collection in the same remarkably unmistakable bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and machoism (BDMS) theme with the neck cuffs, chains and belts.
In this regard and the above mentioned, I find it difficult to understand the rationale behind these brands’ presence at a fashion week that does not compare to the last platforms they’ve shown at, but perhaps some of you might have clues as to some of the reasons that could necessitate such, I’d love to read your thoughts in the comment section.