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Top 5 Most Stylish Collections From Lagos Fashion And Design Week

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Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2015: Mai Atofo & Ejiro Amos Tafiri. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

Omoyemi Akerele, the founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week, says that when she started the event she was mostly interested in helping to promote and develop young talent in the Nigerian fashion industry. Five years after its inception, LFDW has grown from a showcase of 12 local designers. Held last month at the Federal Palace Hotel in Lagos, this year’s edition saw over sixty designers from across Africa gather to showcase their collections to international press and buyers alike.

In the following pages, we take a look at our top five collections from the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

Munje is a Sierra Leonean-American attorney and writer based in the DC Metro Area, who enjoys connecting the dots between justice, empowerment and style. Follow her on Instagram at @astyleadvocate.

1.Maki Oh

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Maki Oh, Day 2 of HeinekenLFDW 2015. © Copyright Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

Nigerian creative director Amaka Osakwe has been taking traditional African textile design methods to a global stage since the launch of her Maki Oh brand in 2010. Although incorporating Nigerian fabrics such as Adire and Aso Oke into contemporary styles isn’t necessarily a new concept, Osakwe finds a way to constantly refresh us with her time-tested modern motifs.

Osakwe says her latest collection was inspired by the “absurdity of life.” This year she demonstrated her ingenuity by fraying the woven wool of Aso Oke to resemble the “fringe” trend that has appeared on so many runways this fall. This has resonated with the brand’s legions of global admirers. She also placed unique patterns of guipure lace over hand-dyed local fabrics adorned with plunging necklines and scalloped edges.

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All photos taken by Kola Oshalusi (Insigna). Courtesy of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

2.Ejiro Amos Tafiri

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Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Day 2 of HeinekenLFDW 2015. © Copyright Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

A graduate of the LFDW/British Council Fashion Focus program, Ejiro Amos Tafiriyielded great results at this year’s LFDW, where her eponymous brand produced a Catholic church-inspired showcase.

Prints of biblical figures adorned Tafiri’s color-blocked jumpsuits and gowns, while cloud-like folds of white and pastel-colored lace evoked visages of ancient prophets on her original designs. But the ultimate testament to the beauty of this collection was not Tafiri’s ability to reference ancient motifs. Rather, she made them new and fresh in the form of free-flowing kaftans and color-blocked maxi dresses that are as symbolic as they are wearable.

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All photos taken by Kola Oshalusi (Insigna). Courtesy of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

3.Mai Atafo

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Mai Atofo, Day 3 of HeinekenLFDW 2015. © Copyright Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

An old adage says that the devil is in the details, but in fashion, it’s impossible to resist a stickler for detail who is also devilishly handsome. Mai Atafo is a versatile men’s and women’s wear designer best known for his bespoke men’s suits and bridal wear. The Nigerian tailor’s attention to detail crosses over into his shows as well. Over the years he’s been known for some great runway moments, from real-time selfie shots with his model cast in 2014 to a live violinist that reinterpreted Drake songs as runway music.

Exquisitely tailored suits featuring bold, but well-placed patterns are mainstays of Atafo’s menswear. New features this year included printed women’s suits and separates that feature prints of original hand-drawn designs by New York-based Nigerian artist and musician Laolu Senbanjo.

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All photos taken by Kola Oshalusi (Insigna). Courtesy of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

4.Meena

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Meena Creative Director, Uju Offiah, Day 3 of HeinekenLFDW 2015. © Copyright Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

Another alumna of the LFDW/British Council Fashion Focus program, Uju Offiah, creative director of Meena, has been garnering international acclaim for her most recent collection. Launched in 2010, the Nigerian label is known for incorporating strong shapes and defined lines reminiscent of modern architecture, but feminine and flattering in their own right. Meena’s S/S16 collection features deconstructed peplums, wrought wire bell sleeves and unconventional cutouts.

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All photos taken by Kola Oshalusi (Insigna). Courtesy of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

5.Loza Maleombho

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Loza Maleombho, Day 2 of HeinekenLFDW 2015. © Copyright Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Photo: Kola Oshalusi (Insigna).

Since winning the Emerging Designer of the Year Award at the 2012 Arize Magazine Fashion Week, Loza Maleombho has deepened her imprint on the fashion world through artful imagery and socially responsible business principles. The Brazilian-born, Cote d’Ivoire and USA-bred designer delivered a feminine, flirty collection this year at LFDW as a nod to Djela Lou Zaouli, a Guro princess renowned for her beauty and grace. Composed mainly of tea-length dresses, the collection featured traditional woven cloth and straw embellishments balanced alongside cut-outs at the waist and hips. The strength of womanhood was on full display as models sashayed down the runway to close the show.

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All photos taken by Kola Oshalusi (Insigna). Courtesy of Lagos Fashion and Design Week.

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