In fashion we say you’re only as good as your last collection.
The Lagos Fashion and Design Week (L.F.D.W.) is the definitive place to be in order to appreciate the ideas and trends that will define fashion in Nigeria each year, especially for emerging brands.
Designers from across the nation come lugging suitcases and steamers and immerse themselves in the chaos to show how much they have improved since their last showing. They experiment with ideas, leaving behind those that don’t work and perfecting those that do, until they create an identity so unique, you merely need to see one dress to tell who the designer is. This process of trial and error has allowed for new ideas, one of which is accessory collaborations.
Internationally, accessory lines are the bread and butter of most luxury brands. Shoes, eyewear and jewellery lines are largely unaffected by trends and fads and because of this, buyers form stronger emotional attachments to them. Also the grunt work of manufacturing the accessories can be outsourced where the clothing lines cannot; think Luxottica and practically every eyewear line from all the middle level and luxury brands.
Collaborations this year were vast and varied. From veteran collaborator Orange Culture’s beautiful bucket cross body bags and leather boxes with basket weave detailing with internationally acclaimed accessory designer O’Eclat, neck pouches with handmade leather goods bespoke brand Tree Fairfax and left of field printed brooch/pendants inspired the fishermen nets that form the inspiration for the brands Spring Summer ’16 collection.
The brooch is poignant because it’s the first ready to wear brand foraying into jewellery design and doing it cautiously with one distinctive prototype. This success or otherwise of this will determine if other brands follow.
New comer into the accessories race is footwear and bag brand, Ethnik by Owolabi Studios. They have had a phenomenal year, releasing a debut collection and stocking with retailers Zazaii and MeiDei, besides a robust online store and praise from industry insiders.
The LFDW debut was creating footwear for women’s wear brand and Jaguar Lagos Fashion Awards nominee IAMISIGO, also debuting dedicated accessories for her fashion line for the first time. Also venturing into its first collaboration was eponymous brand Kenneth Ize, with a shoe line created for the brand by accessories veteran Shem Paronelli.
Price points might be a hindrance to these collaborations attracting younger buyers. Most of these accessories are priced in the range of N25,000 – N75,000, a hard sell for the millennials these brands are targeted at. It will take time and positive feedback to turn these collaborations into positive investment, but these collaborations are always a good omen for the accessories industry finally being accepted as mainstream.