19th to 21st April was one spectacular weekend in Lagos, Nigeria. The fifth edition of Arise Fashion Week took place at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island and had in attendance some of the most prominent names in the fashion industry like the legendary supermodel and Vogue’s contributing editor, Naomi Campbell.
Arise Fashion Week is one of the top platforms on the continent for designers from across Africa, and the rest of the world, to showcase their talents and impact the African narrative through fashion. The week commenced with The Arise Talks which featured a host of designers and industry experts giving the audience an in-depth and informed insight of the African fashion industry.
A good number of A-list African and international designers overtook the runway with beautiful designs that depicted creativity at its peak, but we have only compiled select pieces of the runway moments of ten of these designers during Arise Fashion Week. If you weren’t there, then you’d most definitely love to feast your eyes. The list is in no ranking order. Leggo!
1. Selam Fessahaye
This Swedish-Eritrean designer delivered distinctive fashion extraordinarily. Selam Fessahaye’s AW19 collection altered visually the predictable tone of fashion for men and women today by unfolding designs that are daring in color, silhouette and cut at the Arise Fashion Week. Every piece was elegant in an eccentric way. The models strutted in contrasting patterns, asymmetrical cuts, sheer fabrics and rich florals which made up the collection of oversized blazers, coats, Victorian-styled gowns and more.
2. Style Temple
Ogugua Okonkwo, founder of this luxurious womenswear brand, paid homage to the female form with an avant-garde display of elegant and alluring tones. As models ambled down the runway in Style Temple’s 2019 Autumn/Winter collection, the brand’s reputation for producing ultra-chic feminine garments revitalized. With firm sartorial skills, neutral tones, color splash, delicate textiles and well-structured design placements, the flowy gowns, blazers, dresses, jumpsuits and even wedding dresses exhibited, all portrayed the diverse personas of millennial women in an elegant manner.
3. Andrea Iyamah
Andrea Iyamah’s SS19 collection was tagged Wild Woman. The Wild Woman collection featured outfits in earth tones, animal prints and bold solids. According to the brand, the Wild Woman “is with wild dreams and wild goals. She’s a traveler, dreamer, she’s not about limitations, she pushes herself yet remembers to breathe, travel, feel, dream and achieve. She might doubt, fear, cry, but she’s strong, really strong and daring. She’s today’s woman. She’s truly wild.”
4. Tiffany Amber
For Tiffany Amber, we saw top personalities like Naomi Campbell, Agbani Darego, Ojy Okpe, Oluchi Onweagba-Orlandi, strut down the runway in the awesome pieces that comprised the brand’s AW19 collection. The collection featured chic designs in Nigeria’s Adire fabric, silk, chiffon and organza. The brand collaborated with Velma Accessories who created head knot bands to match a number of the designs. We can say that collection was made for the woman who is crazy in love and on fire.
5. Maison ArtC
Moroccan-born designer, Artsi Ifrach, broke away from the norm, leaving his audience awestruck by Maison ArtC’s collection at Arise Fashion Week 2019. The pieces indubitably paid homage to North African culture and textiles. With a range of fabrics, styles, ornate headpieces, and even masks, this was one collection that left the audience deeply enthralled. The collection drew inspiration from different cultures of the world such as Arabic, Hindu, Native American, etc. Royal purple, bold reds, enchanting greens and brilliant golds filled the runway, with Arabic scripts embroidered on some of the designs. It also incorporated a Native American headdress into one majestic red creation, and portrayed the Hindu deity, Ganapati, in its pieces.
Mwinda which means ‘light’ is a Dubai-based fashion label owned by Congolese fashion designer, Joëlle Ngolatsie. The brand is built on a mixture of contemporary and vintage designs with inspiration from our beautiful African culture. Its collection showcased a range of stylish yet relaxed casual looks with a play on mixed textures. The looks for the men were specially presented as a crossover between genders, blurring the lines between masculine and feminine fashion.
Nkwo created a collection of artisanal pieces made from wastes, leftover fabrics, and uncycled jeans. The brand ‘used up’ instead of creating more waste. Nkwo manipulated its favorite fabrics – denim, white cotton and aso one – into creating separates and outerwear for women, with shapes and patterns that are familiar to the brand’s tradition of capturing the African story. The collection stays true to Nkwo’s love for making pretty things with modern interpretations of traditional handcrafting methods.
8. Mai Atafo
Mai Atafo delivered sophistication and elegance through the pieces he showcased at the Arise Fashion Week. Asides the fierce designs, the overall presentation matched the collection quality and was a beauty to see. The female models had a structured, feminine cut while the male pieces were vibrant. The collection was made of rich fabrics and classic patterns, with every piece familiar yet contemporary. Mai Atafo also created androgynous fashion in an incomparable way.
9. Tokyo James
London-based brand, Tokyo James, portrayed spectacular sartorial showmanship and impeccable styling. For the men, the collection contained uncommon designs of biker jackets, blazers and trench coats in bold tones and luxurious fabrics. There were also leather duffle bags that beautifully complemented the sporty looks. For the women, asymmetric shirt dresses, cut-outs and plush power suits ruled the runway.
10. Yutee Rone
Yutee Rome’s collection comprising vivacious and elegant pieces. The brand depicted the classy woman through the use of modest colors. Yutee Rone is much more about heavy structures and layers but this collection is quite atypical of her as she broke free with flowy designs taking stage.
Photo Credit: Arise Fashion Week