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Prêt-À-Poundo: Nigeria In The Fashion Spotlight

Exploring the rise of Nigerian fashion in the global fashion world. Nigerian fashion designers are on the map.


*Zizi Cardow Designs

Nigerian fashion designers are in the spotlight. Africa follows fashion trends and the spotlight is on continuing improvement in the fast-moving and highly competitive fashion industry. The phenomenon is so pervasive and innovative that it's nearly impossible to describe African style. Anthropology can contribute to our better understanding of our history but shouldn't be a benchmark in visualizing Africa and African fashion today. "Africa has always been used as a reference point, but not as a valued source of serious fashion" Nigerian designer Duru Olowu.

*Duru Olowu Design

That time is over. African fashion is not only about fabric, it's beyond stereotypes and preconceived ideas. We're witnessing the emergence of African fashion designers and African-inspired fashion designers all over the continent and the world. Vanity Fair recently wrote about Nigerian fashion, they made a resounding statement that African fashion is in constant evolution and that Nigeria has cultivated a high profile image amongst others African countries. Nigeria holds a prominent position in creativity, innovation and talent. Amisha Hathiramani said: "Sometimes I think that the constant search for beauty of Nigerians is the way to counter some bad things that are surrounding them." Despite a certain lack of structure in its political environment, Nigeria has strong potential and is clearly one of the African countries which stands out in the fashion field.

*Iconic Invanity for Her and Kabuti for him              *House of Silk

Over the years, many African icons have proved to be their talent and dedication. Duro Olowu, Deola Sagoe, Ohimai Atafo (of Mai Atafo), Ade Bakare, Lisa Folawiyo (of Jewel by Lisa), Soares Anthony, Nkowo Onwuka (of Nkowo), Frank Oshodi, Folake Coker (of Tiffany Amber), Orie Omatsola(of Ré Bahia), Zizi Cardow, Anita Quansah, Iconic Invanity, Buki Abib, Jess Stephanie, Tsemaye Binitie, Samantha Cole London, Bridget Awosika, Kinabuti, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, Odio Mimonet, House of Silk, Amaka Osakwe (of Maki-Oh), Bunmi Olaye (Bunmi Koko), Emeka Alams, Ituen Basi, among many others.

*Tiffany Amber Designs

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How Davido's 'FEM' Became the Unlikely #EndSARS Protest Anthem

When Nigerian youth shout the line "Why everybody come dey para, para, para, para for me" at protests, it is an act of collective rebellion and rage, giving flight to our anger against the police officers that profile young people, the bureaucracy that enables them, and a government that appears lethargic.

Some songs demand widespread attention from the first moments they unfurl themselves on the world. Such music are the type to jerk at people's reserves, wearing down defenses with an omnipresent footprint at all the places where music can be shared and enjoyed, in private or in communion; doubly so in the middle of an uncommonly hot year and the forced distancing of an aggressive pandemic that has altered the dynamics of living itself. Davido's "FEM" has never pretended to not be this sort of song. From the first day of its release, it has reveled in its existence as the type of music to escape to when the overbearing isolation of lockdown presses too heavily. An exorcism of ennui, a sing-along, or a party starter, "FEM" was made to fit whatever you wanted it to be.

However, in the weeks since its release, the song has come to serve another purpose altogether. As young Nigerians have poured out into the streets across the country to protest against the brutality of the Federal Special Anti-Robbery Squad, known as SARS, "FEM" has kept playing with the vigour of a generational protest anthem. From Lagos to Abia to Benin and Abuja, video clips have flooded the Internet of people singing word-for-word to Davido's summer jam as they engage in peaceful protests. In one video, recorded at Alausa, outside the Lagos State Government House, youths break into an impromptu rendition of the song when the governor of the state, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, tried addressing them; chants of "O boy you don dey talk too much" rent through the air, serving as proof of their dissatisfaction with his response to their demands—and the extortionist status quo.

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