The Nigerian fashion industry is looking up, to the extent that indigenous designers showcase on the grandest runways all year round. Back home, the quality and creativity of fashion shows is reaching roof top, such as the Ronke Ademiluyi-organized African Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN).
The 2015 edition (its second) of the show which provides a platform for emerging talents and allows people see what African fashion is about was held from May 23-May 24 at the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
ENCOMIUM Weekly chatted with the show’s founder and creative director, Ronke Ademiluyi and she spoke on the success…
Grateful to God for innovation, that is being able to translate my idea into a service that creates value. And to my team for all the hard work they put into making AFWN 2015 a huge success.
How did you birth the idea of AFWN?
Regarding the Africa Fashion Week in Nigeria, we thought that the world had not yet seen the best of Nigerian fashion and there are so many young talented designers in Nigeria who do not have the financial backing to showcase on an international platform, that was why we launched the platform in Nigeria to bridge the gap between the emerging designers and their target audience. For most of our emerging designers, the AFWN platform launches them into the fashion industry.
What were the challenges staging the year’s edition?
The main challenge this year was fuel scarcity. We were not sure if our guests and visitors were going to attend. But to our amazement, we had a full house with over 3000 visitors across both days.
What goes into staging a fashion show as grand as AFWN?
A lot of hard work, sleepless nights, registrations, a selection, model casting, event planning, responding to up to 300 emails per day.
On a personal note, what was the high point for you?
It was evolution of the Buba and Iro, the Oleku showcase that we put together. It told a story about the history of Buba and Iro, taking our guests way back and then to the recent time. How the modern African fashion is incorporating our traditional fabrics so we do not lose our tradition and identity.
How was this year’s edition an improvement on the maiden edition last year?
The talent and creativity on our runway this year was on point, especially with the student designers from Yaba Tech. They really wowed the crowd on the first day.
What do you look out for in the designers that showcased at the show?
Our platform is a fashion scout that focuses on emerging talent, we look out for creativity, attention to details.
Who were some of the designers at this year’s show?
King of couture, Adebayo Jones came all from the United Kingdom, to show his support, Big Ben, Trish O, Line By Chaab, Eminence 1129, King Hakbal, Lumiere and Elikem, the tailor from Ghana, T-ngazy from South Africa, to mention a few.
In what way is AFWN different from the handful of fashions shows in Nigeria?
Our platform is inclusive, we partner everyone and create great partnerships that showcase great talents.
Many young and emerging designers use the African Fashion Week platform to launch their brand to the media and the general public.
At AFWN, we are really passionate about young people and we believe that if you empower the next generation, every generation that comes after that will benefit from it. We also believe that fashion can be used as a catalyst for youth empowerment. One of our young designers won the Rising Icon at Music Meets Runway 2014. Three of our young designers have also been signed up by Jumia to produce special collections for them.
What’s the vision for AFWN?
To be the voice for young and emerging designers.
What should the audience look forward to next year, what additions would be made to improve the show?
This year, we added the awards. Next year, we will certainly be adding something different. We intend to showcase designers from across the country, showcasing traditional fabrics from their states.
What do you think about the Nigerian fashion industry?
When it comes to Africa inspired fashion, we set the pace in Nigeria. The new generation of Nigerian designers have added a modern twist to creativity, using traditional prints to make pieces that appeal to a global audience. I see the fashion industry growing to a level where it becomes sustainable for the designers as a lot of our young designers are now creating modern ready to wear pieces and clothes for everyday life.