Fashion Designer/CEO of Dozzy Couture poses on the runway with models showcasing his designs.

African fabrics extol our identity and heritage

By Chinwe Obinwanne

In recent times, fashion in Nigeria has gone quickly from the need to just wear clothes to protect from the harsh elements of weather to a way of life. A way of life that now brings to life the African in us with the consistent use of the African fabrics in making clothing which symbolize who we are as Africans while keeping the western trend in place.

Decades ago, this was not so. In fact to some extent many viewed anything African or even Nigerian as not good enough hence the slow realization of the goldmine that is resident in the use of African fabrics to create a community of fashion lovers that exist in Africa.

Thanks to the likes of late Mazi Mbonu Ojike who through his campaign caused the federal government to make it compulsory for public servants to wear Nigerian wears to their offices on Fridays; a practice which is still very much in place even today.

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Men’s blossoming love for fashion

By Chinwe Obinwanne

 

“Fashion is an art. You express who you are through what you are wearing”.

 

The above quote holds true for many of us. We dress in certain ways because we want people to perceive us in that way. More than how people perceive us, when we dress well we know it and it boosts our self-confidence a wee bit. This boost in confidence carries us through the day and helps us sometimes unconsciously attack a situation more confidently than we would have if we didn’t feel how we felt about our choice of clothing on that particular day.

When a boy who is used to being seen “sagging” his jeans and wearing T-shirts everyday of every week is suddenly seen putting on a well-tailored piece of native attire, one quickly thinks “hey, this fella is looking all grown up and different”. When he eventually makes it a habit of dressing that way and only ditching it once or twice for casual jeans and Tee shirts, he is no longer said to be “looking” grown-up but to be “grown-up”.

Our sense of style plays a significant role in how we are seen, received and addressed by others.

Till recently, fashion has always been seen as women “thing” and men were viewed as people who just dress because they’ve to cover up their bodies. They were viewed as the gender that have other things on their minds and have no time for fashion.

Anthony Burgess captures this picture with this quote: “Women thrive on novelty and are easy meat for the commerce of fashion. Men prefer old pipes and torn jackets.”

Today, we see a huge shift from this rather boring perception of male fashion and style. Men are standing up and redefining men’s fashion as we once knew it.

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Nigerian Fashion Industry get N1bn boost from Bank Of Industry

The fast growing Nigerian fashion industry has been given a new lifeline of N1billion by the Bank of Industry (BoI), on Tuesday in Lagos, to help it launch into the multibillion dollar global fashion market.
Mr Rasheed Olaoluwa, Managing Director of the bank, said the fund was to support Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
Olaoluwa added that Nigerian fashion designers were one of the most creative in the world, having trained in most of the best fashion schools across the globe.

He said the fund was an initiative under the Gender Unit of the bank, and also targeted toward women-owned businesses only.
“There has been a lot of talk about SME funding, but with less actions. This is why BoI has decided to increase its funding initiatives to cluster creations.
“BoI has so far recognised 34 cluster creations nationwide to drive our funding initiatives. So, we are able to tailor each cluster based on its peculiarities.

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PHOTOS: 2015 Africa Fashion Week London

By Chinwe Obinwanne

Since 2011, Africa Fashion Week London has hosted four shows with the most recent and fifth edition being the one which took place last weekend at West Hall Olympia.

This event has showcased spanning over 300 designers to close to 40, 000 visitors. Amongst these visitors are retailers, industry professionals and of course buyers. It is currently an annual fashion event that is highly anticipated by all fashion conscious individuals across Africa and beyond. See images below.

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When fashion hurts

By Chinwe Obinwanne

Fashion is pain, so many say. Fred was one of the few who disagreed.

How in the hell can fashion be pain? He argued. Something so sexy, classy and eye-popping can’t cause any pain he believes.

So he made sure his girlfriends wore high heels even if it killed them. He ensured that they wore really tight-fitting clothes to show off their figures even if the said figures were screaming in torment.

Even when his mother complained of the incessant headaches her ‘gele’ scarf usually gave her, Fred was always quick to reprimand her in a subtle way while reminding her that the culprit just couldn’t be the ‘gele’. Fashion could do no wrong in Fred’s eyes.

Sometimes he felt he had an innate love affair with fashion. One so strong it almost felt like a blood covenant. He often times wished fashion were a walking, breathing and of course downright sexy female. If that had been, he would have gone to the ends of the earth to seek her out.

Anyone who castigated anything Fred considered fashionable turned to an instant enemy.

His love for fashion was almost akin to his love for bulking up his body muscles and wearing eye-catching natives. Just like his formal and casual wears, his native attires always stand him out at any function. He particularly looked forward to Fridays when the females would ooh and aaah over his body-fitted native wears that seemed one of its kind.

He enjoyed all the attention profusely and ensured his biceps went through glorious torture every weekend so that his natives would cling to them and run the women mad with desire.

But one thing remained constant with Fred. His fear of returning home each day he donned a native attire.

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The newest fashion designers on the block: Kylie and Kendall Jenner

By Chinwe Obinwanne

 

We watched them grow while our attention was more focused on their bigger sisters in the reality TV show Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Most of us viewed them then as the cute and leggy little sisters of the popular Kim, Khloe and Kourtney Kardashian.

But little by little, the little sisters stole the stage from right under big sisters’ noses.

Today, the news is rife with anything about Kendall and Kylie Jenner. If they burp, smile, frown or strut the runway; the media eats it up. To think they are both not yet up to 20 years is interesting to note.

The new gist is that the two sisters have taken their love for fashion and designing to the level they’ve dreamt of for some time.

They had initially collaborated with Topshop, a line with PacSun and then went on to announce just last week their shoe line. But now, they are unleashing the Kendall+Kylie fashion line.

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The “Facebook of Fashion” soon to launch

By Chinwe Obinwanne

 

The world really takes fashion seriously, don’t you think?

I mean, every country in the world today pays more than 100% attention to fashion; not just as a popular style or practice dealing with clothing, accessories, footwear and all. Now, even the downright bizarre comes to play on the stage of fashion designing.

For a fashion designer to stand out, he has to think not just out of the box, but rip the box to shreds with his own mind-blowing idea. If fashion were as easy as doing just what every other person is doing, then what is the fun and fortune in it right?

Well, it seems some folks in India have spent sleepless nights thinking up just the right way to create the perfect fashion community. One that thinks, eats, breathes and speaks fashion.

These folks under the company Myntra seek to up the ante by creating what can be called a fashion Facebook.  Myntra is an online fashion site which aims at turning itself into a fashion network much like a social network but this time just for fashionistas and fashionistos or anyone who loves fashion. According to them, users can invite friends, form a group, chat, upload pictures and seek opinion of experts and friends before purchasing clothes or accessories.

In simple terms, they want to create the Facebook of fashion. They also predict a ten-fold growth of about $5 billion in income in a period of 4 years once this hits the ground and running.

The question is: how realizable is this? Will people leave existing social networks where they usually interact to move on to one where they interact just on Fashion as against varying subjects?

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Celebrating stylish Uti Nwachukwu on his 33rd birthday

By Chinwe Obinwanne

 

Jara co-host Uti Nwachukwu is 33 years old today. Uti is one of the many male celebrities that is not afraid of looking fashion in the face and breaking its rules.

He has been seen in lots of trendy, classy and even downright different clothing but one thing that is of note is his careful blend of the local fabrics in his style.

As we celebrate him today, we specially celebrate his steady representation of the stylish Nigerian man.

He sure knows his fashion, don’t you say?

Here’s his heartfelt message and picture he posted on Instagram.

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CEO/Fashion Designer Dozzy Couture’s interview with National Mirror Newspaper

Excerpts from the interview…

 

Dozzy Nnamdi Obinwanne is the creative director/CEO of Dozzy Couture. He is also a member of Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria, FADAN. In this exclusive interview withVictor Udoh, he speaks about his love for fashion and challenges facing the industry in Nigeria. Excerpts:

Why did you go into fashion?

I have been in love with fashion ever since I was a kid. I started sewing in secondary school, but did not want to go into it fully then. I later studied Geology and Mining from Federal University of Technology, Owerri; worked in a lot of firms before deciding to open my own clothing line, since fashion is something I know how to do best. I knew I was good at it, and decided to go into it fully. I therefore took more professional courses on fashion; since then, God has been great.

How was your growing up years?

It was not easy, but I thank God for the kind of parents I have. They gave me the opportunity and have supported me all the way. My mum bought my first sewing machine.

If not for fashion what else would you do?

That would be professional geology because I studied geology and mining. Maybe I would have been in the oil industry if not for fashion. In fact I was there until I ventured into fashion fully.

How would you rate our fashion industry?

Recently, we are making waves, and I believe we would get there in time. We may not be able to compete with international market right now, but we are trying to create our own markets. So, gradually the Nigerian fashion industry will get there.

Right now, after this show, some fashion designers in Nigeria and I would be going to Cotonou for ECOWAS Fashion Week coming up next month. No doubt, we are going places.

How would you advise the government on fashion?

One challenge facing most fashion designers is fund. Take electricity; we all work with electricity. Without power, we cannot do anything. Also if there is fund, I believe the fashion industry in Nigeria will make progress. If the government can come in and support the fashion industry, like they are doing with the Nollywood, it would be great for the industry, its people and the country.

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The rise and rise of fashion designers in Nigeria

By Chinwe Obinwanne

 

It is interesting how fast fashion is being appreciated and interpreted in Africa in recent times.

Sometime in the past two decades, Nigerians in particular probably didn’t pay much heed to fashion as we do today. Now, women and even men pay attention to what they are wearing and what is more, we are even beginning to appreciate and patronize to a large extent our own Nigerian based designers.

These Nigerian based designers are springing up on a daily basis regardless of the many that are already in the market and irrespective of the many challenges they seem to be facing.

Most of them such as Dozzy Couture push the boundaries of the everyday fabric combination by blending the usual fabrics with the sweet touch of our African fabrics (think Ankara, Da Viva and co.) to produce designs that generate nods of appreciation.

 

How Fashion Shows Help

Fashion shows in Africa and indeed Nigeria bring to light the many talented fashion designers and accessory designers that are rife in the nation.

Creativity is being celebrated more often on runways with the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) flinging open its doors to welcome the many talented designers in the country and giving them a platform to showcase their art.

Nothing is more beautiful than witnessing talented and creative people passionately show the stuff they know they are great at. That is what we see these days as lots of shows organized or supported by FADAN and others spring up to encourage young and budding fashion designers in Nigeria.

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