By Gilmore Tee
Ihave attended quiet a few number of Africa’s top fashion and entertainment events, and I must say I have never seen anything like how Nigeria takes the notch higher with each and every event they host. With no doubt, Nigeria is Africa’s pinnacle of entertainment.
Just like with every trip I make across the globe; I was tremendously excited to be attending the GTBank Fashion Weekend in Lagos last weekend. What fuelled my excitement the most was travelling with one of the most outstanding Zimbabwe Fashion Brands — Haus of Stone, who showcased a remarkably clean, well-styled and superb designed collection called Seed of Esther. My second fuelling came from the fact that I was going to experience Nigeria again, this time in Lagos, Africa’s entertainment capital, I was on a natural high. And lastly, I was excited to see how Lagos comes out to their fashion events, dress up and make sure we all remember how stylish this city is. All these attributes kept me on my toes throughout my stay in Lagos. Here are some of the lessons I picked, which I think our industry could learn from:
lThe corporate world functions run parallel to the arts and creative industry. There seems to be a clear understanding that the corporate world needs the arts sector to fully function, vis-a-vis. It was scenic seeing the co-working that these two sectors have in Nigeria, thus helping both sectors contribute immensely to the country’s’ economy. Zimbabwe could learn a lot from this.
lEverywhere you go, there is this pride, ownership and black excellence that Nigerians have. When you watch TV, listen to the radio or see billboards, they are flooded with Nigerian content and they celebrate their own. They do not wait for their person to make it outside, then celebrate them, but they celebrate their own until they make it outside.
lI admired the fact that black Nigerians ran the GTBank Fashion Weekend and they executed it with so much excellence. Literally, from the person who swept the floor, to the one who called the shots of what must happen on the run way and behind the scenes, it was proudly black Nigerians. I have been to a few platforms across Southern Africa where events are looked at as of value if they are headed by a white person, nothing wrong with that, but what about seeing value in another fellow black man.
lI am a big fan of outstanding hospitality. Those that know me, will tell you that I go out of my way to make sure that one is extremely comfortable, especially when they are visiting my city or country for the first time. The GTBank team gave us terrific hospitality, from when we arrived, to the five-star accommodation, helpful contact person (shout out to Ada) and easy access into the venue where activities were happening, I couldn’t ask for more. They made me and other fellow visitors feel at home.
lThe last thing I picked is the preciseness over good quality instead of just quantities. This fashion weekend had every detail thought of clearly. The production was out of this world, the lights, sound, ushers, curatorship of the designers showcasing, the after-party space, exhibitions and food market, everything was just on point. I remember being stunned by the branding all across Lagos of the Fashion Weekend, how they even used local models, local designers and fellow African designers to push their event. The whole Lagos went on a stand still during that weekend, it’s because it is a quality driven platform. Talk about branding!
Apart from raving over Haus of Stone’s collection, I tremendously thought collections from South Africa’s Viviers, Nigeria’s Tzar Studio, Style Temple, Odio Mimonet, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Ituen Basi and South Africa’s Mantsho, were outstanding. Am sure by observing a few of the above mentioned, Zimbabwean might have a fully functional industry, that understands we can only grow if we co-work and co-exist.
lGilmore Tee is a Forbes Africa 30 under 30, global citizen, fashion facilitator, content creator and creative director of Paper Bag Africa. He works immensely in the African fashion and entertainment industry. He can be reached on Twitter | Instagram | Facebook: @GilmoreTee