Why the AMVCA category for Best Costume is a win for both fashion and film

The Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA,) only in it’s third year has quickly become the most keenly contested media award on the continent. With wide categories and nominations that cut across Africa celebrating actors, directors, musicians and technicians that all contribute to produce film and television content broadcast on DSTV, a win at the AMVCA’s most times, comes with a decent cash compensation and continent wide critical acclaim for the rest of the year.

One of the lesser promoted categories, mostly because it’s winners are decided on by industry professionals instead of mass votes is the Best Costume Designer category.

This year, four of the five nominees in this category are Nigerian. Four. This is quite the feat. There is Uche Nancy for Dry and Tomi Adeoye for The First Lady.

Nigerian fashion brands Ejiro Amos Tafiri’s eponymous label (Oracle online) and costuming veteran Obijie Oru (Being Mrs Elliot) are the last half of this foursome.

Few people might know this but Obijie Oru was nominated for the 2015 AMVCAs in this category and she emerged victorious, sharing the prize with Deola Sagoe for their work on the critically acclaimed film October 1. This is her second consecutive nomination.

Costuming is big business internationally for three reasons.

As Costumier, a designer is allowed/forced to expand their design repertoire and explore channels it otherwise wouldn’t touch, all financing cost already handled. Costumiers are paid handsomely for their work, a much needed alternate source of income for Nigerian designers who struggle to recoup their investment from conventional design. Then there is access, many of the films designers do costuming work for will be seen by at least 100,000 people in a worst case scenario. Many ad campaigns don’t even do that good. And as an added perk, one does not have to worry about critical feedback.

We should vote for Ejiro Amos Tafiri, or Byge Oru or Uche Nancy or Tomi Adeoye; if not to reward them for the excellent work they have done on their films, but also for the fact that more designers need to expand their repertoire into costuming full- and part-time. If we reward them for their work and celebrate them, they will be encouraged to solve one of our problems with Nigerian films, inappropriate costuming.

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