For Runway Models, ARISE Fashion Week is a Dream Come True


By Vanessa Obioha

As the ARISE Fashion Week swing into full gear this Easter weekend, runway models can barely hide their excitement. Backstage, they added beauty to the chaos in the make-up room as they run around, check their schedules pasted on the wall, sit for their faces to be preened and hair styled, pose for the cameras and most importantly, pay attention to what their agents and production team are saying. While the whole flurry of activities seemed a bit overwhelming, they were ecstatic to be walking the most beautiful runway in Africa.

For most of them, the prestigious platform is a first time opportunity which they believe will launch them into the international modeling scene. 23 year-old Oluwadami Noah calls it a miracle to be among the selected models to walk the runway.

Living in Agege with his poor mother, he’s been struggling to land a good agency that will catapult him to the klieg lights. Distracted by his daily challenges, he was unaware of the ARISE Fashion Week model casting until a caring friend drew his attention to it on the eve of the casting. With little time on his hands, Noah pushed himself beyond his limits to prepare for the task ahead. Fortunately for him, he was selected.

Although, there are many fashion events held in Nigeria all year round, Noah will not settle for less.

“I like walking the runways of fashion events with international acclaim. They expose you to other models and agents from other parts of the world, and also serve as a good networking ground. That is why I am happy to be here.”

Already, his tall build has attracted the likes of Ruby of UK-based agency, Storm. She asked him to send his pictures to him for reviewing. He will be wearing designers such as Kimono and Mai Atafo at the show.

Jeffrey Lever, a 19 year-old model is more particular about reaching his ultimate dream to travel to Paris and Milan for fashion events. For him ARISE Fashion Week is the best launch pad.

“I was inspired by my older sister to be a model so when the ARISE opportunity came, I knew I stand a chance because I‘m skinny. It’s great being here. There are new and old faces. I’m very happy.”

Since its inception over a decade ago, ARISE Fashion Week has been adjudged one of the best fashion events to come out of Africa. Famous fashion designers in the continent and the diaspora such as Ozwald Baoteng had dazzled the runway with intricate designs.

The runway show kicked off yesterday and had designers like Abaya Lagos, Lanre Da Silva among others showcasing their designs. It continues today with more designers from 14 countries and will come to a climactic end tomorrow, April 2.