New Year with New African Designers
We did it. We made it through 2020 and are looking fondly at what 2021 has to offer. Happy New Year, everyone. We know 2021, so far, isn’t any better; but it’s always important to focus on the hope of new beginnings. A new year, new habits, and maybe new outfits. Speaking of new outfits, we thought it best to ring in the new year by showcasing the top contenders in Arise fashion week in Lagos, Nigeria.
What is Arise Fashion week?
Ariseplay, a streaming service that hosts African TV, Movies, and content, hosted a fashion week December 11 - 13 in the heart of Lagos, Nigeria. It was virtual and broadcast worldwide. This year, thirty African designers under the age of 30 were selected to show their collections to a virtual audience. The judges included Kehinde Wiley and South African designer David Tlale. It was a big deal and a tough competition. Only three could make it to the top. We’re here to highlight those three.
Lagos Space Programme
Lagos Space Programme is a Lagos-based, genderless line created by Adeju Thompson. According to their manifesto, they avoid the label brand and instead are an ethical movement aiming to disrupt Lagos fashion. Their most recent collection is Aṣọ Lànkí, Kí Ató Ki Ènìyàn - a Yoruba saying that translates to 'We greet dress before we greet its wearer.’ When asked where the collection fit in the landscape of Lagos fashion, Adeju Thompson responded, “My line is proposing a new conversation in African design. It’s very different from what I believed most people in Lagos understood fashion to be. But it seems to have found a place...”
Maxwell Boko and Mmuso Potsane, started as competitors on David Tlale's internship program, later joined hands to create MMUSOMAXWELL. Founded in 2016 and based in Johannesburg, South Africa, the brand is built on the duo’s similar interests, views, and aesthetics relating to design. MMUSOMAXWELL, at its core, is a ready-to-wear high-end women’s-wear brand. Their designs are inspired by African heritage and contemporary culture, focusing on tailoring to complement the modern woman. They aim to accentuate detail and practicality, through a well-considered design process. This gives everything a sense of value and quality overall.
Our final competitor and winner of Arise Fashion Week is Lagos-born and based designer Kenneth Ize. Born in Nigeria but raised in Austria, Kenneth studied fashion and design at the University of Applied Arts Vienna. In 2013, he founded his label using his name Kenneth Ize. His creative aim is to reinterpret traditional West African fabrics and Nigerian craft. For instance, he purposely employed Nigerian artisans to make the aso oke fabric. He wants to preserve a heritage craft that’s been around for centuries. There is the firm belief that in exploring and nurturing existing cultures, one opens up an exciting territory to create and inspire future traditions.