Nigeria Fashion Week

Probably to coincide with New York Fashion Week, Vice released the Nigerian installment of its “Fashion International” series. It’s not bad considering how Vice usually treats Africa (reference: Congo, Liberia and Ghana) and it definitely captures some of the energy of Nigeria. But it can’t help itself. We’re barely a minute into Vice’s report (“looking for something beautiful behind the depressing headlines”) on Nigeria’s 2011 fashion week when we’re told Lagos is troubled by “civil unrest, religious tension and wide-spread corruption” that “have lead to calls for the resignation of long-standing president Goodluck Jonathan.” Pretty prescient. The first Nigerian to get some words in is the “fantastically named” fashion week’s organizer Lexy Mojo-Eyes “who looks like Don King”; next up are the fashion week’s female models (but it quickly gets too “naked”, so the reporter moves on to the male models), wondering why they love “to represent Africa.”

It gets better after the 5:00 mark, pitting general male vanity against the recently proposed self-righteous anti-gay bill and homophobic sentiments in local press. (We’ll ignore how the reporter slides from ‘traditional African beauty’ over ‘pure Nigerian beauty’ to back-stage ‘pure Nigerian chaos’ — do French fashion back-stages look anything less chaotic?)

It’s a decent document (and rare in its portraying of gay figures –albeit in a stereotypical fashion context– where Nigerian pastors and politicians would rather see them outlawed).

One question though: what is it about “being on a yacht under African skies” that makes journalists “lose control of [their] senses”?

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5 thoughts on “Nigeria Fashion Week

  1. “civil unrest, state-sponsored homophobia, and widespread corruption…”: Is that the US we are hearing about? And nope. no-one is asking about extra-judicial killings at the Marc Jacobs’ NY show. Or even the dead animals in his over-sized fur hats.

    Indeed, it gets naked quickly – but that’s the camera person’s eye going there.
    Anyway, I’m enjoying the anti-Lincoln Centreness of it…but still with all the drama, what with Dabo’s recycled hoodies.

  2. I wish they’d get the facts right at least. I could get really specific about this but I’ll deal with the most egregious distortions. She talks about religious tensions – referring I suppose to the campaign being waged by Boko Haram against the status quo in Nigeria . Or maybe she’s talking about the Christian/Muslim tensions that burst into the open periodically. Lagos is not the site for all that – it’s happening in different parts of a fairly big country. The reference to civil unrest seems too general to deal with – but there’s been protests and stayaways over food and fuel prices – not just general unrest. These protests have been far less violent than the “unrest” in Athens and as understandable as the “Occupy” movement everywhere else. And Goodluck Jonathan is not a longstanding president. He’s serving his first term as elected leader. Before that he moved into office as he was meant to – being the vice president – when the incumbent Umaru Moussa Yar’Adua died. This is not just a fashion programme. This is how important information is spread. How I wish they’d do it properly.

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