10 Naija fashionistas you’re likely to encounter during African Fashion Weeks
It’s Fashion Month – and that can only mean one thing: endless circuit of Fashion Weeks. While our global counterparts are hotfooting it to New York, London, Milan and Paris; on the continent our runways stretch from Lagos to Nairobi, from Kinshasa to Johannesburg. With African fashion now firmly on the map and a fast growing fashion industry from style blogs to concept stores, there are as many fashionistas on the streets of African fashion capitals as there are trotting around Covent Garden on a wet September afternoon. With Africa Fashion Week London this weekend, and Lagos Fashion Design Week at the end of October, there is no better time to look at our unique breed of Naija fashionistas.
The Nobody who claims to be Somebody
Not to be confused with the Blogger that never Blogged, The Nobody who claims to be a Somebody is what it says on the tin: nobody. The fanciful business card, if they do have one, often reads ‘Fashion Consultant’ for their title. With accomplishments very few and far between to speak of, they had rather let their flamboyant style do the talking, and yet, with one signature item taking centre stage (and not in a good way), they fall wide off the mark. Think patchwork flares that went out of style in the ‘90s, or corduroy blazers sporting elbow patches.
The Blogger that Never Blogged
If a she, likely to sport a fringed bob, if a he, one of the beardy bunch. They are often seen wearing quirky clothes and nerd glasses, with a Macbook Air under their arms for good measure. They may occasionally even head over to the blogger bar, but the truth is they have not blogged since 2007, or ever, but somehow made a name for themselves as a style blogger which now scores them tickets to the front row at the top shows and the best Fashion Week parties.
The ‘Content Creator’
Her Instagram bio says ‘content creator’ but you fail to see the content she creates unless endless images of her #ootd (outfit of the day to you and me) and avocado on toast at fancy restaurants can be considered content. Often the daughter of an business tycoon or the girlfriend of a pop star, and often easy on the eye, they are invited to shows as frow candy where they can ‘create content’, i.e. Snapchat their favourite runway looks.
The International Fashion Writer
The most revered species at an African fashion show is the international fashion writer, regardless of how obscure or niche their international title is. Male of the species will often sport button down shirts paired with skinny jeans, the female will have a combo of a top designer with something she found in a New York thrift shop, always accessorised with a notepad.
Nigerian Weekly Editor
She shows up with her clique, dressed in Lanre Da Silva, Lisa Folawiyo or Mai Atafo and spends the first part of the evening doing selfies with her girlfriends while barking orders at her photographers to take pictures of certain personalities for next week’s society pages. She will then disappear to hobnob in the VIP lounge only to show face again at the finale of the show to cheer for her designer bestie.
The Demanding Diva
She will show up with her best friend, two hours into the show, spend another half an hour posing up a storm on the red carpet, then demand the best seats in the house. If she is settled in a seat she deems less than satisfactory, she can strike someone dead with her incredible sulk and icy stare. And rest assured, phone calls to the organiser will be made the very next morning and someone’s head is going to roll for denying the diva the best of the best.
The Upcoming Talent
The struggle is real, as she starts making calls two weeks before to suss out who is likely to deliver on their ticket promise. This is Lagos, after all, and she has been here long enough that promises here are often fleeting and flaky. Her high school friend turned manager is pulling some strings, and the hotshot OAP where she’s just got the graveyard shift said he may be able to get her a few tickets, but who knows? She shows up, styled by the other high school friend in a look by an upcoming designer, hunts down the photographer shooting for the weeklies to make sure he gets a picture and writes her name down, manages to grab a seat on the third row, working her way up to the frow in the early hours of next morning when major celebs have left. And score! She can now post her frow selfie. Let’s hope her make up is not too caked.
The Cool Kids
The hes and shes entitled to VIP tickets to the top shows and best parties Fashion Week has on offer because, well, money and pedigree. They shop at Selfridges in London and Alara in Lagos so their glad rags for fashion week are often a tasteful blend of quirky international finds with sleek pieces African designers. Cool kids like the unisex look, with girls in pin-striped Mai Atafo pieces or a modernised agbada tops paired with skinny pants, guys will be sporting a long flowing pieces by Orange Culture or P.O.C.
She just flew in from New York, dahling! Perched on the front row with an SLR camera around her neck, she proudly wears a ‘fro on fleek or crochet braids. She has no time for African print; didn’t you know it is a symbol of our colonial oppression? Instead she opts for a casual look – think jeans and marble tees – complete with laid-back leather sandals she found in a back alley in Nairobi and a weathered satchel she got from a low-key African designer in Shoreditch. She is likely shooting for her portfolio or a friend’s style blog.
The Street Stylista
What is happening on the runway is of no concern as she didn’t even get VIP tickets (She was out of town after all!). She is here to put her best foot forward on the red carpet. This doesn’t stop her, however, from investing in a top make up artist and stylist, and she has perfected the ‘smize’ to make sure she can ace a place in next week’s society pages.
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