By Funmilola Olukomaiya
It’s not a fleeting trend that’s here today and gone tomorrow. “Curvy” is here to stay! After the triumphant success that Latasha Ngwube’s The About That Curvy Life Collective achieved at Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016, ATCL is engaging Africa in the conversation about body positivity and size inclusion via LFDW’s esteemed platform.
The About That Curvy Life Collective is proudly powered by tech giant, Intel. This amazing brand supported ATCL last year, and they ar returning this year again, to offer their support.
This is a particularly exciting time for the industry as key players like Intel, who understand the value of empowerment and exist to give technological support to platforms like ours. In this digital age, a brand like Intel keeps us connected, allowing us go further with every stroke on our keyboard is definitely one to have on your team and we are super excited they have come on board once more, on a project like this. Intel itself is no stranger to fashion, as it has been the official technological partner of New York Fashion Week for the last couple of
years. Their current slogan #IamPowerful is in line with Aboutthatcurvylife’s message of empowerment which affirms a woman’s right to want to feel beautiful, confident and stylish at whatever size.
Speaking on what can be expected at the ATCL Collective showcase this year, Ngwube says:
“We are extremely proud of the historical success The About That Curvy Life Collective achieved in 2016. Launched at The Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016, we made history as the first plus size fashion show on an international fashion runway in Africa. Pursuant, The Collective was featured across several international media outlets including CNN, BBC, Yahoo, and The Guardian. This eventually led to our invitation to make history in Ghana by taking The Collective to the Glitz Africa Fashion Week 2017, Accra, Ghana.
Notwithstanding, we’ve had one year to grow and set new goals and we have taken that chance seriously. Some of the value adds include, but are not limited to, the following:
First, we’re working with two new designers will be debuted on the runway including Abuja based NORI by Uga Akinbode and Lagos based Osuare by Osuare Egbuonu. Alongside veteran Assian by Matthew Gordon, who debuted his brand at The Collective last year and has since gone on to showcase at several international fashion shows around the world, these three designers have an eye for the material best suited for a curvy consumer, as well as the elements that make any piece more suited for their bodies, such as colour and fabric. Their clothes are constructed with the body of the wearer in mind. Further, they have terrific personalities and work well as a team, which is integral to success of The Collective.
Also, we’re placing laser focus on creating market opportunities for participating designers. For the first time, we hope to take the designers on a continental roadshow. Thus, in addition to having noteworthy aesthetics and a point of view, our designers must demonstrate a capacity to scale up production to meet consumer demands.”
ATCL believes that the opportunity to look and feel your best should be available to all women and men, without prejudice. Fashionable timeless pieces are required by people of all shapes, shades, and sizes, and as such, the About That Curvy Life Collective showcases fashion brands that are committed to inclusive fashion. The Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week provides a creative outlet to promote some of the nation’s most talented designers; offering curvy consumers additional shopping options; and helping local designers build a retail business in an under-served market.
Beyond the message of body positivity, which ATCL champions unapologetically, plus-size fashion is one of Nigeria’s biggest untapped apparel-related market opportunities. Comparatively, in 2016, Americans spent US $20.4 billion on plus size clothing exclusively. While Nigeria does not offer such specific statistics, data gathered by Price Waterhouse Cooper (PWC) indicates that in the same period of time, Nigerians spent US $10 billion on clothes.
“When I look around at the women and men in my life, my parents, my siblings, my friends, I can’t help but imagine that a sizeable amount of that money can be attributed to sales from plus-size clothing. Whatstrikes me even more is the possibility, in light of the dearth of plus size brands in the country, which the majority of money spent on plus size clothes are on imported items. As the nation looks to curb imports and promote exports, and as Nigerian fashion brands, in the midst of increasing competition, struggle to create and communicate unique value propositions, plus size fashion merits serious consideration,” Ngwube says.
ATCL DESIGNERS’ PROFILES
1. Eponymous brand, Osuare, is a cosmopolitan African women’s wear brand that caters to the needs of women of all shapes and sizes. Osuare Egbuonu specialises in the use of hand-painted and hand-dyed prints. Her pieces are edgy, reflecting originality and heritage.
2. Owned by Uga Akinbode, Nori Clothing is a woman clothing brand based in Abuja. The brand specializes in ready to wear and bespoke. They cater for people of all sizes, and ages, and for the simple yet
sophisticated, fashionable and edgy woman.
3. Creatively led by Matthew Gordon, Assian is a contemporary plus size fashion and lifestyle brand that strongly believes in being size inclusive and operates based on the belief that “we all matter. “