Lagos Fashion and Design Week wrapped up at the end of last month. For the past five years Nigeria's budding fashion capital has held runways shows introducing the rest of the world to their talented fashion designers like Amaka Osakwe of Maki Oh who's dressed Solange Knowles, Michelle Obama and Lupita Nyong'o. This year, the nearly 70 fashion designers showed their collections during LFDW also included talent from nearby West African countries and expats living in Paris, New York and London. A recent article from Business of Fashion detailed the potential for a fashion boom in Nigeria due to both their growing economy (it "surpassed South Africa's last year") and the influence of "'Nollywood' celebrity style" throughout Africa.
While all eyes are on Lagos from a global perspective, at-home fashion designers are facing two challenges: appealing to local consumers who are more likely to spend their money in Europe and having the resources to properly produced their collections. From Business of Fashion:
“It’s great to see this spree of development in the industry here. It’s an important step in being seen as a strong contender in the international fashion industry [but] we still need a more skilled workforce, to re-open our textile factories [which dwindled in the 90s] and more access to manufacturing and funding,” says Amaka Osakwe, the designer behind the label Maki Oh.
In addition to the fashion label Maki Oh, other African brands to get familiar with include Orange Culture, Meena, Loza Maléombho, Lisa Folawiyo, Lanre Da Silva Ajay, Grey, Washington Roberts and Republic of Foreigner (four have been featured on Vogue.com and one on the Business of Fashion's 500 list).
Orange Culture (Nigeria)
Loza Maléombho (Côte d'Ivoire)
Lisa Folawiyo (Nigeria)
Lanre Da Silva Ajay (Nigeria)
Republic of Foreigner (Nigeria)
Washington Roberts (New York via Nigeria)
Looks like as far as fashion capitals go—to visit and be inspired by—in addition to New York, Paris, London and Milan, you've got to keep Lagos, Nigeria on your radar.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.