This past weekend, ARISE Magazine hosted 50 local and international designer in Lagos, Nigeria for their first edition of ARISE Fashion Week. Over time, AFW is set to move from providence-to-providence, thereby forming the first continental fashion week in Africa.
Organizers shrewdly programmed the three-day event by drawing on the local talent with names like Odio Mimonet and Tiffany Amber, yet called on the star-power of U.S. designers like LaQuan Smith and Project Runway’s Kortou Momolu. In addition, the shows also peppered in London’s street-cool with the inclusion of Bunmi Koko and Wale Adeyemi. Overlooking the logistical nightmare of production challenges that week, there’s no denying that it was a power move by AFW to enlist the creative savvy of stylists Pholoso Selebogo (originally from South Africa but residing in Antwerp, Belgium) andArieta Mujay(born in London but raised in Nigeria), who together crafted a polish the runway may not have seen otherwise merging both the traditional and trendy.
Also lending their international hands, or shall I say names and faces, were models Abayomi, Ajuma, Amina, Aminat, Dap, Georgie, Millen, Sigail, Sosheba and the “Model of the Year” Flaviana, leaving both bloggers and the world’s press with plenty of beautiful images.
Belgian designers Angelo Von Mol and Pierre-Antoine Vettorello, who won top prizes at AFW in Menswear and Womenswear, left perhaps the boldest of impressions. Hailing from the Royal Academy of Art in Antwerp, the recent graduates are no doubt names to remember you should be seeing them on the worlds’ fashion stages in no time. For me, the most exciting time in Nigeria was traveling around with my new friends from New York on the vibrant city streets, watching Sigail Currie engage a pack of star-struck Lagosian children and having the closest thing to a Malick Sidibe moment at Club Deuces post machine gun scare. This leaves me with my final thought deriving from a Facebook conversation between designer Charles Anastase and New York Social Michelle Harper I will always be “hardcore” Ms. Harper, even when I have to straddle guns to find what is “next” in fashion and, YES, you are right Mr. Anastase nobody will be able to change me. Its in my blood.
Kristopher Arden-Houser, born in California, now lives and works between New York City and Antwerp, BE.Visithttp://from1000.tumblr.com/