What makes a great design label?
This is a question that is constantly asked of design labels. The answer is very hard to pin down as labels are motivated by different end goals. For larger corporation backed labels, the motive has moved to brand and financial domination. For smaller labels, it is the pursuit of a personal aesthetic. For Nigerian fashion label IAMISIGO, we’re not so sure anymore.
The design label is part of a cache of designers that debuted collections at the annual African fashion show in Geneva, Switzerland, a group that also included Kenneth Ize. The label debuted a Fall 2016 collection and teased images from the showing via its official Instagram, intimating us of the creative process behind the collection. A week later, the collection debuted quietly on the brand’s website, and also on the label’s social media with an editorial look book shot by documentary photographer Tom Saater and featuring models Evein Obunor and Cynthia Lawrence.
This is how Bubu Ogisi, creative director of the brand, describes the inspiration behind the collection.
Collection explores how natural fashion can come to anyone with no underlying systems, no mirrors, ones skill of bodily adornment is not based on ones own reflection. The phenomenon of expression without foresight via reflection, how fashion has become an art from that elevates and celebrates the body making it the ultimate canvas.
As far as vague inspirations go, this one really explains how out of focus the IAMISIGO brand has become over the last few years. The new collection feels like a scramble to incorporate as many on-season trends as possible into one body of work. Crushed velvet and eyelet lace suede are cut into dresses and boxy jackets. We get pedestrian skirts with asymmetric slits and every single thing that could had extra fabric was given the draw string treatment with no seeming regard for flow, silhouette or function. But that isn’t the cardinal sin of this collection, it is that the collection is painfully commercial to the point of being boring.
The Sankofa collection, which the debuted at the 2015 Lagos Fashion and Design Week was a truly interesting idea executed disastrously. This new collection doesn’t even have the excuse of being an intelligent concept badly brought to light.
But there is a cruel twist to this. The blandness of this collection makes it IAMISIGO’s most accessible, most likely to be bought for it’s ability to blend in any wardrobe. There is irony in this, that what should be the label’s most abstract collection turns out to be it’s most marketable.
To view the collection in it’s entirety, go here.