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Fashion in Africa builds sustainability

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By Mercy Kelani

Through fashion, the collection of craft cultures in the continent is explored.

African craftsmanship is a big deal in Africa as fashion gets more deeply involved, occupying a huge part. The continent possesses functional and utilitarian crafts, textiles, idols, fetishes and cultural artefacts. These artefacts are valued in African communities as they are representations of their crafts which are not only visual but with spiritual dimensions, symbolism, and decorative and aesthetic qualities. Through fashion, there is an exploration of the collection of craft cultures in the continent. These cultures have shaped the industry for centuries, documenting experiences of contemporary and avant-garde African brands.

In a bid to recognise African indigenous craftmanship, the Lagos Fashion Week will be organising its 12th edition in Nigeria’s commercial hub from October 26th to 29th. The global community in the fashion industry will be engaged by the Giant of Africa as Lagos occupies the centre. This event, recognised as the centrepiece of Africa’s evolving ecosystem in the industry, keeps propelling the industry towards a future where it transcends boundaries, drives actual socio-economic impact, is conscious, and empowers communities across the continent.

It is necessary to enable collaborative creation.

Considering its journey of over 10 years, the event features creativity, stories, and craftmanship that now define the celebrated African industry. With the need for collaboration to improve the industry, enabling partnerships that open innovative pathways is a vital component implemented through various first-of-its-kind partnerships. Also, building a collaborative creation that encourages blending tradition, diverse talent and innovation, as well as making designs that are reflections of the cultural heritage and digital age, and featuring the power of communities for amplification of voices have the ability to grow talent and effect positive changes within the industry.

This year, Lagos Fashion Week will feature Runway shows and Presentations of new season collections from designers holding in #LagosFW Tents and around the state. There would also be a Fashion Business Series for facilitation of conversations with major players from the Pan-African and Nigerian industries and beyond. The Visual Makers Fellowship was also established to empower aspiring photographers and filmmakers through workshops and masterclasses. There is also the creation of Swap Shop to foster new conversations and sharing of ideas regarding sustainability in the industry.

Green Access programme empowers young designers.

The event would also be featuring XRETAIL, a curated shopping experience in major African cities, in Lagos Showrooms. Access is also permitted to shop favourite brands and After Party. Basically, it is provides an opportunity to witness nightlife in Lagos, while networking in a relaxed environment with some of the finest creative in Africa. Green Access, a yearly talent discovery platform, has entries open for application by Nigerian designers until August 23rd, 2023. This is in accordance with its commitment to incubate and train young talent.

With the theme, “Standing The Test of Time”, the programme will be admitting 5 young Nigerian talents with the aim of making a design out of waste. Green Access is a programme that accelerates fashion, building young designers and driving the recommitment of biodegradability, recyclability, resource efficiency, and longevity as guiding principles for design and production. Upon completion of the 2022 Green Access programme, the OR Foundation awarded two designers from the cohort a grant of $10,000 to contribute to the growth and development of their brands.

Creation of positive changes will impact the industry.

Through its promotion of ecological prosperity and inspiration of a more intense relationship with fashion, the OR Foundation — a USA-based 501(C)(3) public charity — matches the objectives and values of the program by the Lagos event. Both organisations believe that with the sustainability of the industry, it is possible to create positive changes that will drive it towards a more conscious and responsible future. Emerging designers, the Green Access programme, will receive empowerment to make a significant impact and contribute to the sustainability of the industry.

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