What will Toyin Lawani’s new reality show mean for her business?

It’s been bubbling under the radar for nearly two years now, but after some filming and a lot of shopping around, Toyin Lawani, the creative designer behind the all-in-boutique label, Tiannah’s Empire and the styling and fashion brands, Tiannah Styling and Elegante by Tiannah Styling is getting a reality television show, and on Ebony Life TV, Nigeria’s biggest indigenous cable station no less.

Ms. Lawani made the announcement yesterday via her label’s official Instagram page.

Toyin Lawani

An announcement of this calibre will definitely draw a lot of attention.

Of course this isn’t the first reality show to be helmed by a Nigerian celebrity (Jim Iyke, Chika Ike and Omotola Jalade Ekeinde have all enjoyed varying levels of success with their own reality TV shows.) Lawani will be the first Nigerian creative designer and fashion entrepreneur to get a reality TV show.

By most standards Lawani’s life would make for good TV. With her Tiannah’s Place Empire, an emporium of fashion, beauty, film and food situated in one of the more expensive parts of Lagos, and her many design scandals, dressing a good number of controversial celebrities like Tonto Dike (before her marriage) and Adunni Ade before she jumped ship to Abbyke Domina. However, we can’t help but wonder what this will do for her business.

If this is handled with the care and creative control that we expect of Lawani, this could be her chance to repackage herself and her brand, and sell it to Africa.

Toyin Lawani has a reputation as the black sheep of the industry, a hugely successful designer who serves as a springboard for starlets and entrants into the industry. Many of the stars she works with end up moving on to more prominent designers once they gain traction. It could also help change how the industry is perceived in general; turn around the general idea that designers are self absorbed and exploitative of younger talent.

There also the opportunities for endorsements and representation deals, with the kind of possible reach that Lawani will get with show, it might actually lure in brands who have otherwise been cautious because of the mystery around her.

However we can only speculate and hope that things are done right. We hope that Mo Abudu will sprinkle some of that magic that made the movie Fifty such a huge success on the new project.

Will you be watching the show when it airs?

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