By Joseph Ushigiale, Demola Ojo and Vanessa Obioha
It was a fitting end to a well choreographed fashion event superbly put together by the Arise Media as fashion makers, models and a cross section of fashion enthusiasts heaped encomiums on the organisers for another superlative show which ended in Lagos last night.
Now rated as the biggest fashion event on the continent, the show, which held at the Intercontinental Hotel, Lagos, opened April 19 and closed last night, pooled global fashion brands and models to the Lagos runway. It featured over 30 local and international designers from Africa, America and Europe, as well as over 150 models.
Also speaking, Nkwó, an Abuja based fashion designer, pointed out that Arise Fashion Week has grown in leaps and bounds since its first edition and has been consistent in placing Africa on the global spotlight.
For the Colombian international designer, Esteban Cortazar, who was invited to the stage by the event headliner, Naomi Campbell, he said he was very impressed by the designs he saw on the runway and opined that indeed Africa is the future.
“I have always been one that celebrates diversity and cultures from all around the world. I come from multi-cultures myself so it’s natural to me. It makes sense to come here because there is a lot of that sultry and colourful prints and attitude, people here are so stylish.”
He said from his experience as someone based in Paris, which is the epicenter of high fashion globally, that at a point, the show becomes so predictable.
He added that with the Arise Fashion Week, he finds an excitement and hunger for raw talents.
He asserted that with AFW, African fashion is on its way to becoming an international identity.
“I think sometimes it takes one person to make a difference, you see someone like Naomi so strong in what she believes in and you see her bring people like Andre Talley, and I think through that, things can really change. So I believe next year, AFW will be better, it is the future,” he said.
The narrative is not different with the models. For some of them, it is their first time on any runway. Being on Arise Fashion Week gave them the assurance that their career is starting on a right path.
But getting selected for this year’s edition wasn’t a walk in the park confessed many hopefuls, particularly for Adedamola Fashola who was walking the runway for the third time.
“Last year seemed I got it on a platter of gold, but this time I had to fight for it. Almost 65% of models who participated last year didn’t make it through this year. So there are a lot of new faces. The competition was tough this year. We were expected to put on our best, right from casting.”
He disclosed that walking the AFW runway has opened doors for him, adding that after his feature last year, he landed some TV commercial deal in addition to recently featuring in an ad for Trophy beer and Google.
Fashola is hoping that he will also be signed to international model agencies.
The show was also garnished with the screening of Seven Mothers, a film by Pyer Moss produced by Director X.