European fashion buyers look to Nigeria
ANITA QUANSAH LONDON
Anita Quansah London is a prolific one-woman operation based in a London workshop. The Ghanaian-Nigerian designer describes her work as a ‘‘labor of love.’’ She sells to a global market including Asians and Europeans. She says she is now in talks to build a diffusion line to meet up with the growing demand of her work that has caught the eye of such designers as Christian Delacroix.
Her Spring/Summer 2013 collection is dramatic for ‘‘ladies who want to make a statement when they walk in to a room.’’
Her show-stopping bib necklaces are embellished with intricate bead work. The beads include imitation coral beads used for traditional outfits in southern Nigeria. Some bibs are lined with chicken feathers which also evoke traditional heirlooms.
Her dresses were understated and mostly in solid black, ceding the limelight to the jewelry that included suggestive chain designs inspired by bondage. Quansah said she wanted to show ‘‘women that weren’t afraid to be sexy.’’
LANRE DASILVA AJAYI
Designer Lanre DaSilva Ajayi is well-known in Nigeria’s fashion scene for her love of 40s elegance. International buyers such as Selfridges & Co. expressed interest in her designs for retail at their UK stores.
Her ultra-feminine collection used a color palette ranging from cool nude and turquoise to warm orange and gold.
She showed flowing silhouettes and easy-to-wear maxi dresses, using chiffon, raw silk lace and the lace used in traditional Nigerian outfits to carve European shapes.
Her clothes are for the woman on the move, bold and sophisticated.
The MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2013 was also the culmination of a months-long competition for new talent. The competition winner was menswear designer Josh Samuels, an architect turned designer that offered a geometric collection.
‘‘I like things organized and appropriate,’’ said Samuels who won the equivalent of $25,000 and the opportunity to be stocked in some Nigerian boutiques.
His collection called ‘‘Casanova’’ included finely tailored suits with classic checkered and houndstooth patterns and matching string ties.
Lagos Fashion & Design Week: www.lagosfashionanddesignweek.com