How Igbo Culture Inspired ‘Vlisco & Co’ Second Edition

Vlisco & Co model wearing a design popular with Igbos

Mary Nnah

With 172 years of experience and heritage in designing prints, Vlisco has been deeply rooted in Africa and is notable for drawing inspiration from African women, who have over the years, bought, traded and worn Vlisco fabrics, creating myths around the meanings of their designs.

While looking for inspiration from tomorrow, and to this end, Vlisco&co launched last year in Nigeria.
The maiden edition saw Vlisco&co ask Nigerian designers, artists and creatives to join their new young network to explore the future of African print, asking; How will tradition merge with modernity? How will the old be improved by the new?
This year, Vlisco&co travelled to Nigeria’s culturally rich Igbo land with its creative Nigerian network to deeply research the ethnic group and its relation with their fabrics.

Afterwhich a round table gathering was held in Lagos to discuss the research and the concept of Vlisco&co’s next edition; and today, the result is a unified visual narrative that mixes a contemporary own story and a research process, thereby exploring the old and new Igbo culture and the traditions in relations with Vlisco fabrics.

This fashion endeavour that is entrenched in culture is a collaboration that explores the myths, mystery and magic of the Igbo culture and their world of colours and symbols, enhancing the richness of their roots and enchant with a vision of their future.

To celebrate this year’s edition, Vlisco&co will incorporate a new movie by Daniel Obasi while showcasing their teamwork on September 27, 2018 at Art Twenty One with two fashion collections by Gozel Green and Fruche, with photography by Yagazie Emezi and new music composition by talented Dj, Ayel, all of which is founded on extensive research enhancing each other’s creativity merged with the Vlisco world.

To solidify its longstanding relationship with African creativity, Vlisco&co in December 2017 hosted two events, in Accra and in Lagos.

The event brought together creative minds from both countries and creative people from the Netherlands to showcase their new ideas. The first ever edition at Alara in Lagos presented an impressive collection by Abiola Olusola and Tokyo James.

Olusola’s proposal was a fresh mix of geometrical fashion using classic Vlisco designs while James worked with the new Bubble Wax fabric by Vlisco, presenting a menswear with a strong modern visual statement that captures the future of the brand.

Vlisco & Co also premiered the well-known movie “An Allen In Town” by Daniel Obasi and exhibited the illustrations of Karo Akpokiere, who reinterpreted classic Vlisco designs, with the talented DJ, Ayel performing during the event.