2019 has been an amazing year for Nigerian artistes. It’s the year that afrobeat — a hugely popular African sound with its roots from Nigeria — has earned global recognition as well as critical and commercial acclaim.
Not only did afrobeat kick down doors in America, but it also paved the way for Nigerian Artistes whose songs have landed them major recognition with international celebrities (most notably Beyoncé).
The trends would suggest that Afrobeat has the potential to change the Nigerian narrative, as Nigerian music isn’t only recognized on the African continent, it has become a vibe recognized by other people, races and tribes all across the globe.
A feat that’s worth recognizing and duplicating across other areas of artistic expression.
Fashion for instance.
As Naija music travelled across the world, it took with it the dance, the lifestyle, maybe even Jollof and of course, the fashion.
In 2017, Ayodeji ‘Wizkid’ Balogun premiered his ‘Come Closer’ video. At the time of this premiere, Wizkid was one of the biggest musical acts from the content.
What’s important to note here asides the sound, is the rich display of the African textile and fashion in this video. It’s unmissable and cleverly put together. It’s a brilliant representation of the beauty in our style.
And while the fashion did not necessarily need the music to travel, it complemented its ascent. Besides, the reaction of the western world to African fashion through music has been noteworthy.
And yes, it transcends Beyonce’s nod to the fashion, Janet Jackson’s tribute to it via her music video and Solange’s constant acknowledgement of the African inspired style.
A fine inference that can be deduced from all these, is that more than anything, the Industry is viable and can travel at its own speed across the world.
In the year 2019 alone, Nigerian designers have had quite the headway in the international scene. While not necessarily having the same attention as their music counterpart, the Industry has proved that it is extremely capable of the type of turnaround and influence of its music counterpart.
And that is something Design Fashion Africa seems to have figured out.
Design Fashion Africa (DFA) is aware of and has acknowledged the work of its counterparts (Lagos Fashion Week, GT Fashion weekend) in the Nigerian fashion scene. However, DFA aims to take it up a notch. That is, it does not only showcase, but it also empowers.
Willing to give young designers the needed exposure and the opportunity to make a statement in the competitive fashion business, Design Fashion Africa majorly wants to help designers find their feet as viable fashion designers in a world that’s constantly evolving.
It begs the question — if you can create pieces that can wow hundreds of people in Lagos, why can’t you replicate the magic beyond the shores of Accra and travel further into mainstream America or even the fashion capital of the world, Paris?
According to its host, fashion guru, Mai Atafo, ‘Why not have summer, autumn or winter collections, having in mind your customer base can transcend Nigeria and grow immensely in Cairo, Abidjan, South Africa, Ethiopia, and London?’
DFA will also showcase experienced designers across the continent while offering an opportunity for the fresh, upcoming designers to liaise and network with people who have towed this path before.
Empowering people financially and pushing them to see financial possibilities is a step to proper positioning. And like music, this may just be the big push Nigerian fashion needs to take its place in the international fashion scene. A feat that’s long overdue.
After all, for the guys at DFA, money and fashion aren’t mutually exclusive and while money doesn’t grow on trees, it can very well be churned out from the sale of clothes?