There’s nothing that holds much anticipation like Lagos Fashion Week in October— the hustle from one event to another captures the city’s attention. The Fall/Winter 2023 fashion week was such an intriguing exprience with blockbuster shows. This year, it was evident that designers were keen on experimenting, whether it was with new fabrics different from their usual design scope or exploring more design options. Each designer added a subtle twist, making the shows riveting to see. IAMSIGO presented dazzling silhouettes, Elie Kwame made couture look easy, Abigail Ajobi reinvented Y2K and Orange Culture ushered a new type of elegance.
Here are eight standout moments from Lagos Fashion Week that caught the attention of ESSENCE.
“It Comes in Waves” by Orange Culture
Bayo Oke-lawal has a brilliant thought-process, as a matter of fact, understanding this thought process feels like unraveling the several mysteries to garment-making. For Orange Culture’s SS24 collection, “It Comes in Waves,” each design ebbs and flows. Macrame-made pieces, sequined two-pieces, corseted suits, pocketed flowers, and wavy pants dominated the collection. Bold cutoffs, inspired by old experiments, played a crucial role.
In a note, Oke-lawal expresses his state of mind in creating “It Comes in Waves,” “This collection for me has been one of the hardest collections I’ve had to create not because of the technicality of it but because like many others at the age that I’m at. I found myself questioning my love for everything and questioning my journey. I felt guilty wondering if this was something I want to do after devoting over 20 years of my life to loving this path. This collection for me was a realization that it is okay to question and to fall in and out of love once in a while.”
“Anti-Muse” by Abigail Ajobi
Abigail Ajobi’s show exuded a vibe of “Hey, I’m the main character. Watch me.” It was unexpected, had the crowd wowing and cheering; and very much came with fresh perspectives. For their SS24 collection “Anti-Muse,” Ajobi took to the contrary, becoming her own muse and walking down the runway in a sketchy ripped-shoulder top and zipped-slit skirt. The collection was a reflection of the early aughts, blurring the line between old Y2k and contemporary street style. It featured models in knitted crop tops, crafty bikini tops, net-shirts, hoodies, denim zipped gowns, and miniskirts. The prints seemed to do the talking, it felt like the designer wanted to spark a conversation around the brand and its ethos.
“Nostalgia” by Tzar Studios
For Ian Audifferen, the creative director of Tzar studio; creating a collection, entirely inspired from past memories, felt very important. Titled “Nostalgia” the collection takes viewers into memories,with every detail telling a story. The runway saw models in fluid gowns, tight-collared kaftans, golden off-shoulder dresses, and high-waisted miniskirts. Audifferen immersed viewers into a new world filled with imagination like the hairstyle-looks inspired by the 2001 Miss World queen, Agbani Darego. The riveting voice of Sade Adu “Kiss of Life” playing and the set inspired from playing hide and seek. “Nostalgia for me is the smell of tapestry I played hide and seek in,, long afternoons after school hours in my uniform and reflecting on all the little pockets of memories of my younger self that help me understand why I am the way I am today,” Audifferen said.
“Transformables” by Nkwo Onwuku
No one understands exotic craftsmanship the way Nkwo Onwuka does. The designs in “Transformables: The World Is Mine Too” are very cohesive, each story seamlessly leading to the next. The collection played with denims, featuring models in denim patchwork, quilted designs, and criss-crossed weaves. Onwuka created expressive clothing, appealing to a wide audience, irrespective of age, through designs that were sexy, elegant, and detailed.
‘Foundations’ by Elie Kwame
Couture was present in Elie Kwame’s presentation. The Ivorian brand showcased afrofuturistic, super-inventive, and exquisite designs, including flamboyant tulle gowns, open breasted tops, knitted dresses, and big-shoulder coats. All models wore bucket hats, adding a powerful twist to the couture brand.
Denims and gold embellishments were the core of Adama Paris’s collection. It felt like the designer was heavy on exploration and she decided to go with something that wouldn’t normally work together, yet it was a cohesive combination. Paris embraced elegance, emphasizing sexy, yet simple designs with constructive tailoring. It was a great one to witness from the senegalese brand.
Ugo Monye’s show was a sensory delight, from fabric choices to intricate constructions, all steeped in Nigeria’s cultural essence. For this season, Monye explored Nigerian royalty through clothing, emphasizing elaborate designs and meticulous styling to convey a powerful narrative.
“Shadows” by IAMSIGO
IAMSIGO’s showcase of “Shadows” was highly anticipated, featuring delicate, well-tailored materials in neutral colors. The show included an artistic performance, adding thrill to the presentation.