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April 23 2014

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2 posts tagged "Nigeria"

Omoyemi Akerele Puts Nigerian Fashion In The Spotlight

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Omoyemi Akerele

Lagos, Nigeria—an oil-rich port city with an estimated population of 21 million people—is globally recognized as a fast-growing financial hub. However, it’s emerging as a cultural hotbed, too, with fashion at its forefront. Much of that is thanks to Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Style House Files—an on-site agency founded to “tirelessly position Lagos and Nigeria on the international fashion map.” In an exclusive interview, Akerele offered, “Nigerian fashion stands out. It tells a story of a diverse and dynamic culture, of historical references, and ultimately, commercial viability. It’s about trade, not aid.” Ahead of the city’s third annual Fashion and Design week, which begins on Wednesday, Akerele speaks to Style.com about the challenges facing local designers, the region’s immense untapped market, and what it means to not only advance but define Nigerian creativity as the country inches toward its remarkable potential.

How did you become Nigerian fashion’s mouthpiece?
My career in fashion started about eleven years ago, in styling and image consulting. Over time, I realized that there was room for a platform to act as a catalyst on the scene, to spearhead change and work toward positioning fashion as business in Nigeria—this is how Style House Files was born. We see our role as agents of change determined to make an impact, change the mind-set of people, and create opportunities where there might seem to be none.

Why might one think that opportunities aren’t present or viable?
Well, in a country with an estimated 150 to 160 million people, it surprises me to no end that no entrepreneur has seen the need to invest in a garment manufacturing company that can cater not just to fashion designers, but create opportunities for creating our own bigger retail brands in Nigeria. The traders and business scions in Aba—a local garment district in the southeast of the country—remain at the forefront of benefiting from this industry, but there’s got to be a re-engineering of people’s outlooks: for people to design and manufacture garments by us for our consumption. Continue Reading “Omoyemi Akerele Puts Nigerian Fashion In The Spotlight” »

Nigeria’s Got Talent

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Last season, Arise, the fashion and culture magazine published out of Nigeria, celebrated its debut issue with a runway showcase of emerging design talent. This season, to celebrate the launch of AriseLive.com, Nduka Obaigbena, the publication’s owner, was back with what appears to be a bi-annual tradition, the Promise of Africa Collective. As witnessed last night, some things don’t change: The show was again packed with major models: Freja Beha Erichsen, Chanel Iman, Iris Strubegger, and Karlie Kloss, to name a few. But save for veteran Tiffany Amber, who trekked here from Nigeria last season, the designers showcasing Spring 2010 collections were new. David Tlale, winner of Johannesburg’s answer to Project Runway, was in the mix, along with globe-trotter Eric Raisina (his c.v. boasts experience everywhere from Paris to Cambodia to Madagascar). Most impressive was designer Lisa Folawiyo’s Jewel by Lisa collection: a chic, modern interpretation of kente prints. Not only does Obaigbena have some serious pull when it comes to casting, the celebrity turnout wasn’t too shabby either. Sean Paul and Colin Cowie took it all in from the front row, while Amerie, who has taken on style-blogging for the week, took copious notes.