The days when fashion shows revolved solely around the four style capitalsare long gone. Although aspiring designers still aim to show their collectionsin those cities, nations such as Brazil, Russia, India andSri Lanka now have their own fashion weeks – plus, in the perpetual search fornew, untapped talent, department-store buyers tour the world. The latest location on theiradventurous agenda is Lagos in Nigeria, which is fast becoming the centre of an emerging African design industry. Selfridges’ buying team uncovered a creatively rich seam there in October, and these finds are now onshow (until mid-January) in the store’s latest Fashion Gallery pop-upshop.
Ndani, the Nigerian Fashion Project, features the work of fiveestablished designers from the area, as well as that of several emerging talents. And to chime with the in-store arrival of cruise collections from topinternational names, it concentrates on showcasing vibrantly colourful anddecorated eveningwear, winter holiday attire and accessories – from print bags andbeaded cushions to modern takes on traditional jewellery (glass necklaces in second picture, £75 each). There is a strongemphasis on sophisticated handcraft, and all the designers taketheir African heritage – traditional Ankara prints, beading andembroidery, for example – and give it an on-trend spin.
Names in the second-floor shop includeJewel by Lisa Folawiyo (skirt in first picture, £745), who bejewels and hand-beads traditional fabrics cut ina cool, modern way; Eki Orleans, whose fluid silk dresses featuretraditional prints blown up to almost abstract proportions (example in third picture, £400); Lanre da SilvaAjayi, with her ornately embellished evening gowns (£3,180 for a unique piece);Odio Mimonet, notable for her beautiful prints and soft silks; and Lagos institution Tiffany Amber. These are all designers to watch – and all the pieces are exclusive to Selfridges in the UK.