•Anna Wintour, others commend stellar showing•Say initiative will attract young talents from Africa and beyond
The THISDAY/ARISE Fashion Week 2020 continued into the early hours this morning with renowned global industry players impressed with the showing they variously described as stellar. But beyond the glitz and blitz that naturally typify the annual event, a majority of the industry players also contended that with the success of this year’s edition, the initiative is certain to attract young design talents from Africa and beyond to the fore of strong global competitions.
Leading the charge was United States Artistic Director and Global Content Adviser of Conde Nast, popularly known as the Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, Dame Anna Wintour, who connected with the event virtually. Introduced by supermodel and partner of Arise Fashion Week, Naomi Campbell, Wintour established with clear conviction reasons she associated with the pioneering fashion show.
Her words: “One of the great joys of my job at Vogue has been to spotlight each new successive generation of designers. For the longest time, those designers came from the United States, and from Europe and Asia. “That’s why I am so honoured to be a part of this year’s ‘Arise 30 Under 30: The New Stars’. This initiative will bring young design talents from Africa and beyond to the fore, showcasing their work and allowing them the chance to receive business and development support.”
That aside, she added: “All of us have been through the most incredibly difficult year. But there have been some remarkable lessons, which have come out of it, and experiencing moments of joy and optimism and looking competently to the future. Now, more than ever, we all understand that we share a collective responsibility to lift up talents, all over the globe, not just on our doorstep.”
The prominent global industry player emphasised the importance of the fashion world to put a light on new voices “particularly, where those voices were not listened to before. To highlight not only new designers but photographers, videographers, stylers, art directors and models, and so many more.” She, therefore, encouraged the designers to see Arise Fashion Week as a platform to showcase their excellence, special talents to the world and to use the opportunity to “meet as many people as you possibly can be proud of, who you are and what you represent. That always should come first.”
Wintour also recognised the role played by Campbell in supporting the fashion event, saying: “I owe a huge debt of gratitude to Naomi Campbell, who has always understood the power of her voice especially, when raising it in support of arts.” The Arise Fashion Week 2020 kicked off with panache on December 10, when 30 designers selected from a pool of 150 across the globe were hosted to a sumptuous dinner and presented a participation fee of $5,000. This year’s event marked the first time the award attached monetary reward to its ceremony and also the first time the focus was solely on young designers.
“We need a breath of fresh air. We need younger people to get into this space, and be given the accreditation they certainly deserve,” noted Ruth Osime, co-producer of Arise Fashion Week. She explained that the monetary reward was a way of supporting young fashion designers as they branched out. “We’re looking forward to launching a brand new designer that will also be making waves internationally,” said Osime, adding that, “It’s not just enough for us to be known only in Nigeria. One of the ways to be successful is to spread your tentacles across the world.”
Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, who graced the occasion, acknowledged the potential of the Nigerian fashion industry during his speech.
Emefiele reiterated the commitment of the apex bank and the Bankers Committee to growing the fashion industry, stating that, “We are fully aware that the fashion industry in Nigeria can provide a positive and beneficial growth path for young Nigerians, who seek to utilise their talents in creating products and services that offer value at home. And indeed, abroad. “We will continue to ensure that these skills are harnessed to support the growth of the Nigerian economy, and also support the growth, the businesses of the Nigerian youth entrepreneurs.”
The designers vying for the coveted $100,000 were judged by top rated fashion critics and designers like Mai Atafo, Folake Coker, Abisola Kola-Daisi and Fashion Director of GQ Style Magazine, Mobolaji Dawodu among others. Their designs were evaluated based on their creativity, quality of design and styling. There were also music performances from Asa, Wizkid, WurlD and The Cavemen.