Here at the Cerebral Lemon, it is our job to inspire Africans through the deployment of carefully cultivated and practical content. One of such content is ‘Chatter’, created by the fashion and lifestyle curators Kayito Nwokedi and Favor Olugu, to discuss the serious business of fashion in a relaxed manner.

This is the first of many sessions, as the curators will talk about different facets of the fashion industry both home and abroad. For this session, they will be speaking on the upcoming Lagos fashion & design week and how it has been thus far.

Kayito: So Favor, the dates for the upcoming Lagos fashion & design week have been announced. How excited are you?

Favor: I must confess, I’m quite indifferent. Fashion week hasn’t quite caught up to me yet. So I’m not excited but hopefully as the days draw closer, I’ll get my excitement on.

K: It’s the exact same way I feel too. Even the fashion weeks of the four major fashion capitals are kicking off in a matter of days, and I’m not even as excited as I would normally be. What do you think is the cause of this feeling of indifference?

F: To be honest, I don’t know. It could be a number of things. But personally, I think it is mostly the cliche that has become of the Nigerian fashion scene.

K: True, I get your point. Nothing seems new any more. But even some designers abroad have noticed that, and have decided to sell attitude, not newness. Cases in point: Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane, Vetements, and Gucci by Alessandro Michele. Nothing they design now is particularly new, but the difference is in approach. Are we at that point where you can say so and so designer can sell an attitude?

F: I think the only designers that sell attitude are the young designers, and I’m talking about people like, Orange Culture, Tzar, and a youngster named Dricky. I feel like the older designers are too focused on being commercial and getting their pieces on the international scene without particularly reinventing the wheel. There are a few older designers, such as Ituen Basi, that can sell attitude.

(l-r) Orange Culture, IAmIsigo, Tzar

K: Agreed. Ituen Basi is the only member of the older generation of designers we have that can sell attitude. She has a youthful spirit. I also agree with you on the designers that you mentioned. But in the long run, do you think attitude would be able to sustain a brand?

F: Attitude is definitely not enough to sustain a brand in an industry like ours that is still growing, and as much as I appreciate the progress our industry has made so far, there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done both individually as designers and collectively as an industry.

K: But then again, there are designers who have been able to create attitude and still maintain a commercial appeal. An example of such is Maki Oh. Her designs have an attitude, and she’s received a commendable amount of international press. Michelle Obama and Solange knowles are amongst her fans.

F: She’s just one out of a whole lot of designers, so we can’t judge the entire industry based on her achievements. I also think Clan has managed to create attitude, but I don’t think it was a deliberate attempt.

K: I agree with you on that as well. Clan has produced some of the most ubiquitous garments out there. Their suits and sheath dresses have been best sellers. Speaking of ubiquity, can you predict the possible trends we might spot in this upcoming LFDW?

F: I feel like everyone is going to do the off-shoulder thing and it is going to drive me crazy.

K: I know. I feel like capes might make an appearance too. Ever since Lupita wore that red Ralph Lauren caped dress, Nigerian designers don’t want to let it go.

F: Death to capes. They are so 2014.

K: Amen! all this talk about fashion has restored my faith again. I am actually now anxious to see what the designers want to put out. Particularly two of my faves: Meena and Bridget Awosika.

Meena (left), Bridget Awosika (right)

F: Yes! They are Nigeria’s best kept design secret. Can’t wait to see what everyone does. Here’s to an exciting 2016 showcase.

Author: Kayito Nwokedi