Lagos Fashion Week presents ‘Season One’

By Funmilola Olukomaiya

From the 3rd to 26th of April, Lagos Fashion Week presented it’s annual “Season One” showcase which provides an opportunity for a deeper exploration of concepts and themes from the October showcase.

This year, the theme – “Woven Threads” was inspired by traditional craftsmanship, it’s slow fashion appeal, circular design and the need to adopt a more responsible approach to producing fashion on the continent by creating a careful balance between the people, processes and products involved in the creative process.

In light of COVID-19, this year’s season one showcase was a digital presentation running across existing social platforms.

Week 1 kicked off with a panel discussion with Nike Ogunlesi (Founder & CRO, Ruff ‘n’ Tumble), Ayo Amusan (Founder/Executive Director, Persianas Retail), Jumoke Oduwole (Senior Special Advisor to the President on Ease of Doing Business), Sola Babatunde (Founder and creative director OSC College of Fashion & OSC garment factory), Hamman Kwajaffa (Director-General, Nigeria Textile Garment Manufacturing Association) and Yegwa Ukpo (Head Maintainer, NewType) which was moderated by Omoyemi Akerele (FounderLagosFW).

The 3-week schedule featured panels, showroom presentations, workshops, and fashion films exploring the future of fashion beyond creativity.

The panel discussion focused on the future of fashion and retail in Nigeria, and what the prevailing circumstances indicate. Speaking on this, Nike Ogunlesi shared “the entire global supply chain has literally gone belly up. There has never been a better time to promote ‘Buy Nigeria’. There has never been a better time to reinvest in the textile and garment sector in Nigeria”

Also in week 1, Mark Van Iterson (Global Director, HeinekenDesign & Sustainability) joined Omoyemi Akerele on Instagram Live for Heineken meets Fashion to discuss the role of sustainable design in fashion. In this conversation, Mark highlighted that African fashion has an advantage because it’s younger, energetic and growing with no rigid restrictions in place.

A workshop by Bandana Tewari, virtual studio tour by IAMISIGO, a fashion film presentation – “LINES”, Strands I were also amongst the line- up for week one.

In Week 2, Woven Threads hosted a session addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and exploring what’s next. The session highlighted the Covid-19 effects on the market and what this means for creatives & SMEs.

The panel comprised of Tokunbo Akerele (TOA Advisory), Ijeoma Ogbechie (Global Director, Capital Markets Technology. Bank of America Merrill Lynch), Acha Leke (Senior Partner, McKinsey & Company Johannesburg) and Sanyade Okoli (CEO, Alpha Africa Advisory).

Ijeoma Ogbechie shared some practical steps for MSMEs, “as a small business owner, look at your cash flow, think and have tough conversations with yourself, employees and suppliers”.

Dana Thomas, Author of Fashionopolis and Veteran Style Writer joined Woven Threads for a session that focused on sustainability, better practices and consumers’ approach to valuing their clothes.

She shared that there is a need to find a balance for where we take craft and the knowledge we had before the industrial revolution, and integrate with what we have from the digital age.

The third and final week of “Woven Threads” explored the approach to designing, producing and consuming fashion.

Sarah Diouf Creative Director and Founder of Tongoro Studio joined Woven Threads for a session on ‘Building a Direct To Consumer Brand’ in Africa and creating a new dynamic for Africa-based manufacturing.

She highlighted the importance of visual storytelling and how instrumental for social media and digital platforms help brands to present themselves.

Nana Otedola, Founder Garment Care Nigeria hosted Awa Meite in conversation to discuss the designer’s belief in the “healing power of cotton”, slow fashion and creating clothes that last.

The discussion highlighted ‘The Healing Cotton’, a presentation that takes us through Awa Meite’s work with communities in Mali, from handpicking cotton to spinning, dyeing and the recent production of face masks for her local community.

Designer Nkwo Onwuka, Creative Director of Nkwo joined #WovenThreads on Instagram Live to discuss her “Philosophy of Less” and the need for invention and innovation.

Week 3 also featured a workshop with Yegwa Ukpo as well as a virtual studio presentation by Fashion Focus Alumni, Emmy Kasbit.

“Woven Threads” digital presentations challenged our experience of fashion content. In addition, the platform spearheaded critical conversations within the industry, championing the need for sustainability to be the core of all business processes.

Applications for the Heineken Design Challenge are still open. Find out how to apply – @lagosfashionweekoffical on Instagram. All of the sessions can be found on our Instagram page @lagosfashionweekoffical or on our YouTube page.