Of fashion, design and art, by Saratu Abubakar

NEWS DIGEST – It is less than two months to the end of 2022 and as per usual, the Nigerian creative space is buzzing with various activities.

I don’t think the Nigerian creative industry ever has a zero productivity moment, across the various industries, activities and products are churned out continuously.

In the past month, a lot of creative shows have happened across Nigeria, Lagos to be specific.

Nigerians are a lot of things both the good and the not-so-good. The Nigerian creatives though are ridiculously good, a set of resilient minds that keep pushing and letting their talents speak for them despite the odds.

A defining act about Nigerian creatives is how much they make out of nothing.

Over the years Nigerian designers have gone from being big at home to ascending significant ladders on the global scale.

It is amazing what they do with fabrics, wood, and canvas.

It is with no doubt that Lagos is the business hub of Nigeria. Dreams are made in Lagos and sometimes broken but you will still hold on to something to get by.

Therefore, it is no surprise that the most prominent fashion shows in Nigeria take place in Lagos. Year in and year out fashion designers come on the Lagos Fashion Week stage and dazzle the audience. From creating collections with unique cuts to producing fluid pieces and putting up creative showcases, they show up and show out.

From popular fashion designers to breakthrough ones, it is always exciting seeing the various collections on the runway.

Aside from the Lagos fashion week, other fashion shows are organized by various organizations in Lagos.

We can’t tell a brand where to put their money but I wonder if what the Nigerian fashion industry needs is multiple fashion shows.

The business of fashion? Tackling problems of production and distribution? Scaling up the fashion business and many more programs seem to be needed in the fashion industry but little attention is paid to them by brands.

Perhaps a fashion week, A production conference, A distribution enlightenment, and others might be things to consider in other parts of the country.

On design, I didn’t know about Design Week Lagos until this year. Design Week Lagos was launched in 2019, it is a trade show that brings a community of experts such as designers, architects, and others together, intending to place Lagos as a lead in the global design stage. The work being done so far is impressive and has opened up enormous possibilities in Nigeria despite the constant setbacks.

Just like the fashion show and the art shows, the location is Lagos but it is open to local and international communities.

ArtXLagos is a platform for artists, its vision is to showcase to the world contemporary art from Africa and beyond. Since it was launched it has hosted artists and galleries from over 40 countries.

Lagos is truly the land of possibilities for creatives.

As someone that has never lived in Lagos, I have seen how creatives in other parts of Nigeria need to work twice or three times harder than their counterparts in Lagos to get the same recognition. This is not due to a lack of talent but due to accessibility.

I am curious about how those creatives navigate the markets. How easy is it to get on the Lagos platform because it seems to be the gateway to international and even national waters?

Is the Lagos platform just enough or would having similar strong platforms in other states change the dynamics?

I think of festivals like Ake and Kaba, both literary festivals, both curated by almost the same people but in different parts of the country and with nearly the same momentum. It opens up opportunities for literary experts to have different options for showcasing their works and exploring the works of others. What you don’t find in Kaba you might find in Ake or vice versa. Not being in Ake doesn’t make you feel left out because you might have Kaba.

So, I wonder if stakeholders in other states will ever create platforms as big as LFW, DWL, or ArtXLagos for the “others.”

Perhaps it is just the Lagos stakeholders that care about nurturing talents and it will always start and end in Lagos.

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