ELLE SA CHATS TO OMOYEMI AKERELE, LAGOS FASHION & DESIGN WEEK FOUNDER

Monday, November 07, 2016

In anticipation of Lagos Fashion and Design Week (LFDW) , we chat to founder and artistic director of Style House Files, the fashion business development agency behind LFDW, Omoyemi Akerele, about her plans and what to expect from this year’s event.

LFDW starts next week. What do you have lined up?

As part of LFDW 2016, there will be LFDW runway shows and presentations featuring new season collections from designers in the African fashion industry. There will also be the Fashion Focus & Fashion Business Series, to facilitate conversations with key players from the Nigerian and pan African fashion industry and more.

What should we expect from the designers?

We’re eagerly anticipating what the designers will be presenting this season but we’re also mindful of the state of the economy. Regardless, we’re hopeful the designers will express their individual point of view.

How many designers are showing this year and do you have any guest designer coming in?

We have quite a few designers showing and they’re a mix of Nigerian and non Nigerian designers from other African countries.

This year’s edition is putting a huge focus on retail. Tell us more about this?

LFDW X Retail (previously LFDW Exhibition) has been a part of the LFDW model since inception but there’s been a growing need to fine tune and sharpen it. This season, the project returns with the objective of further positioning retail as a primary tool that contributes to the growth of the Nigerian fashion industry, powered by the SHF #BuyNigerian initiative launched years ago. Positioned as a commercial hub, X Retail guests will be able to shop a curated selected of fashion and lifestyle products.

Are there things you’d like to do differently compared to last year?

We always aim to have better production quality, a better presentation and to start on time regardless of the challenges around us.

Where do you usually escape to when the shows are over?

Home with my family.

What happens after the shows for the designers?

Fashion Week in Africa has predominantly been consumer led events with designers making the collections available for consumers to shop right after the shows. Some work on their look books but in general they work on leveraging off the success of their presentations and how to ensure it becomes commercial.

Who are some of the designers you think are managing to create a balance when it comes to commerce and art?

Across the continent, designers are gradually beginning to understand how to delicately balance their craftsmanship with the need for commercial viability without sacrificing their artistic integrity. Quite a few brands also have diffusion labels that are different from the main house label. This also helps maintain the equilibrium necessary to build sustainable African fashion brands.

What’s next for LFDW?

The underlying vision has always been to move the conversation ‘beyond fashion’ towards creating an ecosystem of thriving fashion businesses that can impact the Nigerian economic landscape.

What do you think can be done to make Africa the next fashion destination?

Africa is no doubt the next destination for fashion and the future lies in everyone within the value chain working together to create opportunities for pan African trade to thrive. The market is vast and the possibilities are endless.

Lagos Fashion and Design Week takes place from 26th to 29th of October 2016.

SOURCE:ELLE SOUTH AFRICA

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