Friday, November 7, 2014

The Different Types Of Nigerian Fashion Designers

Written By Fash.

I love fashion and I had a swell time at the just concluded Lagos Fashion & Design Week. The LFDW is the like Christmas for Nigerian fashion lovers and fashionistas as nothing is considered over the top because you are allowed to express fashion in your own way, without limitations.

Looking at the beautiful Nigerian designs worn by Nigerian models in Lagos, Nigeria gave me that ultimate feeling of pride, it was one of the moments where everything negative about Nigeria didn't matter.

The entire 4 days of the LFDW was amazing and totally clutch, however, being a part of the Lagos Fashion & Design Week really got me thinking about the present and the future of the Nigerian designer.

Seeing some designs close up and under bright lights revealed certain things about the garments that you wouldn't notice looking at the look book and after having a good look and think about it all, I came to think that there are distinct types of Nigerian designers.


The Tailor;

This set of designers are NOT so different from the man carrying his machine on his head walking the streets on Ariria in Aba, Head Bridge in Onitsha or the uneven streets of Idumota but have been elevated to the status of designer just because they have access to the internet and as such as can copy western designs, add beads or sequins and call it fashion creation.

They don't bother with look books or putting together a cohesive collection as tailors have no business with such; they sew people's clothes as ordered. However some of them with access to funding go a bit further by opening stores in areas of high traffic.

Most of these tailors don't even know how to take someone's measurement but you wouldn't blame them after all the blogs refer to them asdesigners and effort should count.


The Look Book Designer;

These are the most popular type of designers in Nigeria.

They are the one that source fabric and make clothes for a look book, get a model to wear them and send out the edited pictures to all blogs.

You don't see a single piece of the clothing hanging in any stores and, as a matter of fact, they only make a single piece of each look of their entire collection for the look book and to remind us that they are still in the business of designing.

We seldom see their clothes on people but when we do, a stylist must have pulled it for a celebrity who must be the same size as the model used for the look book.


The One Shirt /Dress Designer;

The one-shirt/dress designers are always striving to be different. They go to the market, source those rare fabrics, make a single shirt/dress out of it, take pictures for Instagram and then call it a day.

The shirts/dress don't go up for sale in any stores as the designer ends up wearing them or at most you see their friends rocking them.


The Cool Kid Designer;

The Cool Kid designer must have schooled abroad, forces the hobo look and speaks with an acquired accent.

This set of designers are not really in the business to design clothes for every Tom, Dike & Afolabi, they design mostly for luxury stores and editorials.

These are the cool designers who just design clothes because they have a flair for design and not for any commercial gain. And of course they try to express their coolness through their clothes and the designs end up looking exactly like something no one would wear except of course the cool kids and their other cool friends.

They design and produce abroad for the look book and editorials and they are always eager to point out that they are not here to make clothes for the masses.

The Cool Kid designers don't design for anyone staying on the mainland besides Omele Phase 1 and GRA, they stock in stores but that's because they expect people to see their clothes and not necessarily buy them.


The Instagram Designer;

These are the new school designers; they put their entire collection on Instagram, look for customers on Instagram and even ask them to pick a design off Instagram.

Most of this type of designers operate from home and can meet up with you at work.

Unlike the tailors, you may never get to know where they operate.


The Stylist Designer;

These are the stylists that got tired of insults from designers when they try pulling clothes for celebrities and one day decided to do it themselves after all it's just "making clothes".

These designers didn't expect us to take them serious not until the blogger started referring to them as "designers".

Truth is, there's an invisible line between this set of designers and the tailor.


The Used-to-be-a-designer-Designer;

These are the old faces. The ones who struggle to remain relevant but have not exactly evolved in their fashion game and so they rely solely on their name and past glory and revel in the small recognition they gain from the older generation or the newer generation with cool parents who have entertained them with the stories. They are like the Liverpool of fashion design.


The Model Turned Designer;

These are the ones who have modelled for various designers and suddenly feel like they belong not in the clothes anymore but making the clothes. They attempt to use their modelling fame and contacts to build their clothing empire and they are soon dismayed by the poor reception of their clothes.


The Nigerian Designer;

These are the designers who do everything by the book, release their collections season by season.

They have the blueprints on how a fashion empire should go and make it look effortless, even offering internships to other aspiring designers.

They make you proud in every part of the world and even under the lights on the runway, you'll be amazed by their masterpiece.

 I'm not trying to throw shade but I think we should be a little more truthful to family and friends.

Funny thing, we need all these skills just not all these designers.


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