by Merhdor Attah
Exactly two weeks after the annual Lagos Fashion and Design Week, LFDW, their 2013 sponsors organized a two-day event dubbed ‘GTB Fashion Weekend’. No. It is not a similar concept to British Fashion Council’s London Fashion Weekend for upcoming designers. Instead, it is a full blown fashion event. While this might seem to be another opportunity for the cool kids and fashion enthusiasts to showcase their latest purchases, it also seems to be a threat to Omoyemi Akerele and her LFDW crew.
Though on a scale of one to hype, GTBFSHNWKND made less noise than its predecessor, LFDW, a glance at their structures would have one wondering if both events had the same creative director or the latter beefed up their plan based on the success of the first.
But, before we can criticise and form conclusions, a thorough examination has to be conducted on the promises made and the offers on display at both events and a score card presented.
One of the more the striking similarities between both events were their workshops. LFDW featured a lean palate consisting of the Fashion Business series and Fashionomics. Meanwhile, GTBFSHNWKND had a more robust two-day masterclass hammering on the business of fashion and brand positioning.
Here it’s GTBFSHNWKND 1, LFDW 0.
The coming of X-retail was welcomed with open arms by fashion and lifestyle product owners. It was designed to further position retail as a primary tool that contributes to the growth of the Nigerian fashion industry. But, at LFDW, a token of about 50,000 was charged for a stall. This situation caused some fashionpreneurs to collaborate and share a stall that is, two different brands in one space. The latter event, GTBFSHNWKND had brands register for free to have a stall. It kind of makes sense as a strong incentive by the pioneer event vis-à-vis a 6-year old event.
GTBFSHNWKND 2, LFDW 0.
Julien Macdonald, image by: Tope Adenola
The long bland strip of a runway during the 4-day LFDW was a fashion eyesore. Enthusiasts and personalities occupying the FROW (front row) made numerous crosses during breaks and stretched their legs to the runway. This singular act was resuscitated at the GTBFSHNWKND showcase; a platform to lust over. It featured a curved circle with an elegant crest above it. In addition to this, the time management of the show was relatively better. LFDW on the other hand, has an outstanding record of not keeping to time as well as a constant recycling of mistakes yearly.
And at the end of this round, GTBFSHNWKND is 3 to LFDW’s 0.
Although GTBFSHNWKND definitely had less designers showcasing, that should not be a prerequisite for LFDW to relent. If we are going to be seeing a repeat next year, it would be a case of survival of the most creative and internationally recognized designers. It might not still seem like much but, a more critical food for thought is in respect to designers who showcase at LFDW, and still get to display the same collection at GTBFSHNWKND hence making designers lose credibility, or designers passing over LFDW for GTBFSHNWKND because of the international buyers and enthusiasts in attendance.
Despite the obvious slight on LFDW, there’s more than enough room for improvement. Besides, there needs to be a clear cut delineation between which fashion showcase is the major fashion event of the year and which event is purely a Show-and-Tell. There is a need for a restructuring of both shows; a rendering of the whos, whats and hows as it affects the organisers, designers and other interested parties.