by Edwin Okolo
For most fashion lovers, the 2018 fashion year began on the last week of October at the Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week. Easily one of the biggest fashion platforms on the continent, the LFDW this year managed to orchestrate 1,101 looks, 80 Models, 57 shows, and four performers over the event’s four day schedule. The shows are a major networking platform for fashion folk and great time for casual consumers. But they are also a big precursor of the trends that will rule the runways in the coming year. These are the major trends designers leaned into for Spring 2018.
Last year signalled the return of the exaggerated sleeve. Across shows, designers put out bell and trumpet sleeves, bubbled them up and fluted them. This year, the exaggeration has spread to everywhere else and designers were not going to be outdone from anyone. From fan favorite Titi Belo who showed lace baby doll blouse with gigantic sleeves, to DZYN who showed massive ruched detailing, and even Loza Maleombho, exaggeration was everywhere this season.
LETS GO SHEER
In 2013 -2015, working transparent, translucent and sheer fabric was all the rage. Nigeria’s somewhat conservative climate might have made designers hesitant to embrace the tendance back then, but now, they are going all in. Designers like Moofa showed an entire collection done in sheer, and Onalaja put her unique spin on the trend with a gorgeous PVC corset. And of course, who could forget Gert Johan Coetzee’s ensembles. We’re here, go sheer.
In line with LFDW’s 2017 theme, which centered on celebrating the weavers, machinists and artisans who work behind the scenes and help bring the designer’s ideas to life; several designers paid homage to Nigerian artisanal craft by working exclusively in traditional fabric. Emmy Kasbit and MoAgusto used Akwete and Aso-Oke, and Maki Oh and Tiffany Amber went for Adire. But Lisa Folawiyo was miles ahead with her delightful Akwoche contraptions.
Did you really think fringe would ever be out of fashion? Well you thought wrong. The ability of fringe to give dresses that little extra pep of drama keeps it on the LFDW runways year after year, and this year was no different. Deola Sagoe’s diffusion line CLAN really showed up with a fringed jumpsuit, Lisa Folawiyo strung iridescent pins into metallic skirting and Tiffany Amber went all out with asymmetric beaded fringe. Next year is certainly the year of the shimmy, shimmy, shimmy.
Perhaps the best realized trend on the runways this season was the deconstruction of traditional silhouettes and reconfiguring them into exciting new silhouettes. For many, the ability to take something seemingly pedestrian and reinvent it, is the pinnacle of fashion. Nkwo, a long proponent of deconstruction tried its hand at repurposing denim, Maki Oh took oversized men’s jackets and jazzed them up with some PVC and frilling and Meena returned after a year’s hiatus to rip roaring applause. The showcase’s surprise star Christie Brown GH, took the classic 60’s dress and turned it into a modern master piece.