Lagos Fashion Week‘s 2023 showcase, themed “Standing the Test of Time,” spoke to the brand’s 12-year commitment to the industry and the continent by adding value to creativity through ongoing partnerships that contribute to the development of their knowledge sharing and skills acquisition base, equipping the youth with skills for job and wealth creation, with sustainability as the key driver for building longevity and a structure that creates impact. This year, they brought this to life through a series of collaborations and partnerships with ANKA, UNESCO, and Spotify, to name a few.
As stated in the foreword by Omoyemi Akerele, Founder—Lagos Fashion Week:
As an industry and an institution, we often ask ourselves, How Do We Stand the Test of Time? In other words, how do we grow, evolve and adapt in a way that is sustainable but also relevant to the times.
As an institution, we’ve always approached our engagement with the industry from a needs assessment point of view, that is, we identify the needs of the industry at each growth stage and identify how we can support in closing those gaps and connecting the dots with the limited resources that we have. This has been the driving force behind our initiatives. In 2011, when Lagos Fashion Week was established, bringing together buyers, consumers and the media to view the current collections of designers in the fashion capital of Lagos, Nigeria, it was to address the need for a consistent platform for African designers to showcase their collections, and the need to shift the conversation from fashion as entertainment to fashion as a business and useful tool for commerce and creativity in the continent.
4 days, over 60 designers, runway shows, incubator programs, and impact-driven discussions, consistently facilitated for 12 years, birthed what we now know as the Fashion Week Season attracting visitors from far and near to experience our culture, creativity, our beloved city; laying the foundation for all that we’ve come to experience during a period in time, each year, when African fashion takes centre stage. When we established Lagos Fashion Week, we were on a mission to advocate that fashion could, if given the chance, confidently take up space in a real way that galvanises people, organisations, and policymakers to take a seat at the table, and action tangible solutions to ensure fashion in the continent is leveraged as a vehicle for socio-economic development.
One thing is certain, the seats are occupied, and the Fashion Week Season is a coveted one, but there’s still room for more! We see stakeholders mapping their own way, carving out solutions for creatives and the businesses within the ecosystem. This season, we saw #LagosFW takeover Times Square, NYC and deliver a campaign that featured a collaboration between two creative exports – Music & Fashion (one, fully established, the other, wide-eyed and hopeful) , we co-hosted the launch of the UNESCO Fashion Report, which adequately captures the promise of the African fashion industry, and the challenges, and we all witnessed the Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency Babajide Sanwo – Olu, walk the runway in a bold declaration of the government’s commitment to nurturing the growth of creative industries, in recognition of its ability to significantly contribute to our GDP.
Our role in Africa’s cultural renaissance is not lost on us, as our commitment to fully actualizing economic empowerment through fashion remains unwavering. Our commitment to growth, evolution and discovery is key in “Standing the Test of Time” . We’ve witnessed the industry evolve from a centralised Fashion Week, to a calendar with a line-up of offsite shows, a vivid demonstration of the growing strength of the industry and the businesses within it. In the same vein, we’ve embraced the need to consistently Refresh! Key to a dynamic and sustainable fashion ecosystem is the ability to discover a wave of fresh new talent, nurture and support them through initiatives that foster collaboration, skills development and access to market. The 2023 showcase welcomed a fresh lineup of emerging designers, such as Kente Gentleman, Kilentar, and Lilabare, as well as the debut collections of the 2022 Green Access finalists Pettre Taylor, Oshobor, Lul’la House, and SVL Designs.
As the demand for ‘Made in Africa’ fashion continues to grow, Lagos Fashion Week looks to add value in strengthening the entire production value-chain. The UNESCO report, ANKA Growth Club, and ANKA White Paper Report 2023 on “Global African Commerce” map out a path to achieve this, and will increase the awareness of public decision-makers to support the growth and export of African brands.
At the core of Lagos Fashion Week lies our unwavering dedication to community building, collaboration, and the advancement of the circular fashion economy in Africa. Our mission to be a vehicle for fostering sustainable practices, promoting co-creation, and advancing the circular fashion model inspires our impact-driven initiatives.
As we shape the narrative and pave the way for the fashion industry across the continent, Lagos Fashion Week will continue to drive innovation, sustainability, and the celebration of African creativity. Our journey began over a decade ago, and we remain consistent in leading the charge towards a brighter, more sustainable future for African fashion.
Lagos Fashion Week 2023 is a title sponsored by Heineken and supported by Style House Files, TECNO, Lush Hair, Bioderma, Bank of Industry, MTN Nigeria, AfreximBank and Spotify.
Media Partners: BellaNaija Online, Bella Naija Style, Guardian Life, Style Vitae, Business Day, Okay Africa and Culture Custodian.
For more information regarding Lagos Fashion Week 2023, kindly visit lagosfashionweek.ng or follow our Instagram page @lagosfashionweekofficial.