Runway

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Looking to Lagos

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Just as the latest Tokyo Fashion Week proved, there’s more to see in the fashion world than what’s typically covered. That certainly applies to Lagos, Nigeria, where Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016 showed some of the strongest talents in African fashion.

African fashion and design often goes vastly under-appreciated, rarely covered in the mainstream fashion media likely due to prevailing stereotypes surrounding the continent. Yet in recent years, labels like Orange Culture, Maki Oh, and Washington Roberts have drawn increased attention to the scene, proving the magic that comes from a mix of strong culture and modern innovation.

This time around, that mesh of tradition and modernity was just as apparent as ever. Not sacrificing work that was proudly and boldly African, brands such as Lisa Folawiyo – a favorite of Nigerian it girls – showed prints and textiles that looked more authentic than your everyday fashion pieces, bolstered by unique silhouettes and pristine fabrics. The same goes for labels like Loza Maleombho and Odio Mimonet, where there was a noticeable nod to cultural relevance, modernized into quirky, one-of-a-kind garments that you’d rarely see in any other major fashion capital. And if there’s anything an African designer has mastered, it’s a pop of color. At shows like Washington Roberts, Gozel Green, and Bridget Awosika, lush hues brought already-stunning models’ looks to the next level, all while still maintaining their respective strong brand identities. Some of the pieces shown even appeared straight out of a fantasy, with ruffles, embellishments, and other garnishes presented in a way that was less basic, “fairytale princess” and more “work of art.”

While plenty of labels at LFDW showed aesthetic similarities (though set apart by individual houses’ unique design approaches), there were some that shared work that was completely of its own caliber. Tsemaye Binite’s luxe line was the thing dreams are made of, still toned down and modernized in a way that could appeal to even the most particular customer. The remarkable draping and muted tones at Rayo were made even more appealing with exaggerated cowboy hats, while Andrea Inyama’s feminine fantasy had all the elements that drive editors, buyers, and other image-makers wild. Then there was Nkwo, arguably one of the coolest brands to come out of the African fashion scene, showing a vastly experimental approach to denim for both men and women; there’s no denying the immense skill that came from the designer’s former role as a psychologist.

On the menswear front at LFDW, Adebayo Oke-Lawal’s Orange Culture continued to be a standout not just in Nigeria, but on the global menswear scene. Bold prints and colors, silhouettes typically not attempted for men’s fashion, and even some seriously sharp tailoring, this could potentially be one of the label’s hottest moments yet. Tokyo James was also a major menswear moment, with even more stunning tailored looks upgraded by atypical cuts and shades. But we can’t deny the magic at Keleche Odu, POC, and Maxivive, all of which showed more inspiring menswear than we’ve seen almost all year across the globe; not contrived, entirely authentic, Lagos’ menswear experts have some of the most promising visions around.

It’s clear that much of what’s been shown at Lagos Fashion and Design Week comes with the intention of attracting global customers, editors, and other major players in the fashion industry. But this global appeal still feels organic, with designers not sacrificing their identities and inspirations for mass commercial appeal. There’s no denying the beauty in African culture, so it’s not surprising that this effectively and easily translates into high fashion. And now more than ever, this stunning mix of tradition and progressiveness could finally put African fashion on the map.

Check out some of the top looks of Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2016 below:

Photos by Kola Oshalusi courtesy Lagos Fashion and Design Week

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Spring in Tokyo

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While the spring 2017 ready-to-wear shows just wrapped in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, there’s still more across the world worthy of checking out. Cue Tokyo, the fashion capital known for cutting edge designs that mix tradition with futurism and eccentricity with simplicity, all while redefining typical styles and setting unique trends.

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The Ongoing Battle

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Diversity in fashion seems like one of the industry’s longest running battles; it feels like every season, we discuss how much progress has been made and how much more we need to see. For the spring 2017 shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris, this season proved to be the most diverse yet. But let’s not get too excited just yet. There’s still quite a lot of progress to be made.

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Looking Forward

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There’s so much out there in terms of fashion, and it’s up to today’s designers to provide women with choices, whether it’s a character she could become via a brand’s propositions or a message that a collection presents. Sure, sometimes the clothes are left to speak for themselves. But in that case, the pieces should carry the strength of re-presenting typical garb.

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Keita Maruyama ; REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Tokyo Calling

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Tokyo is kind of where it’s at. The hub of Japanese fashion continuously provides unlimited inspiration, featuring everything from minimalism to avant-garde to Harajuku eccentricity and more. And the recent fall 2016 shows were certainly no exception.

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Photo Courtesy NowFashion

Fall 2016 in Review

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It feels like fashion never sleeps; right as the fall 2016 menswear shows came to a close, womenswear kicked off without missing a beat. And while there’s a lot of discussion around the somewhat “broken” cycle of Fashion Month, this was a season just like any other, with major collections, designer switchups, and all the usual elements that keep us coming back for more.

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Photo Courtesy CR Fashion Book

Next Fall

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It seems as if the men’s fashion market is growing more and more each season, attracting increased attention to the world’s most noteworthy fashion capitals. For fall 2016, we saw the top menswear creators continue to expand the dialogue on traditional definitions of masculinity and male style, playing with various elements that redefine the formerly quiet niche.

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Photo Courtesy WWD

Tokyo Now

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Although the spring 2016 ready-to-wear shows have just concluded in the four major fashion capitals, New York, London, Milan, and Paris, there’s even more going on in other parts of the world. It’s no secret that Japan has always been one of the most fascinating and exciting regions on the globe, and of course, that includes Tokyo. And we’re in luck, because the top designers from the underrated fashion mecca just showed their latest work for spring 2016.

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Photo Courtesy BoF

A Problem Worth Solving

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Fashion Month just concluded, and according to Business of Fashion, out of the 3,875 model bookings only 797 were models of color. This means about 79.4% of the models who walked in the recent shows in New York, London, Milan, and Paris were white. Only 10.2% were black, 6.5% were Asian, 2.3% were of South Asian, Indian, and/or Middle Eastern descent, and just 1.6% were Hispanic or Latina. Though technically an improvement, there is only a three percentage point difference from the spring 2015 ready-to-wear shows a year ago. And whitewashed runways lead to whitewashed editorials and ad campaigns; out of the 611 covers published by the 44 biggest magazines in fashion in 2014, just 18% featured people of color, while about 90% of advertisements featured white models.

We’re going to drop the objective journalistic act for a second and say that this is bullshit.

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Photo Courtesy Vogue

Spring/Summer 2016

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Yet another Fashion Month has flown by, leaving us with a lot to think about. Sure, there were tons of shows between New York, London, Milan, and Paris. But only a few truly stood out, and even less were exceptionally spellbinding; in some respects, this season feels a bit more commercial and sales-driven than ever before. However, there is always the necessary creativity and artistry that sparks our passion and keeps our interest in fashion alive. So, let’s break it down by city, highlighting the most impressive, noteworthy, and interesting moments of the spring 2016 runway season.

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