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Fashion Cities- Abuja

by Vanessa Akin-Adesola Comments 17

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Beautiful sunrises that inspire poetry, hills and fields, no traffic (probably my favorite) laid back, stress free. Abuja is characterised by these. Fashion City?

Abuja is becoming a major African fashion city and is doing so at its own pace and its own style?. Shocking as that may seem, its true. In this article the story of a budding fashion city is told.

Fashion, style are a major part of culture, human identity. And in recent times a major player in the Nigerian economy and the worldwide business scene. In April 2016, the Brighton Museum & Art Gallery’s Fashion Cities Africa exhibition explored the style of four major cities at the compass points of the continent; Casablanca, Nairobi, Johannesburg and Lagos. Celebrating designers and makers and highlighting how interwoven fashion is on a global scale.

Seeing this exhibition, reading about it online brought this question to my mind; does Abuja have the potential to be one of those ‘fashion capitals’? A few of Abuja’s creatives paint the picture of the present and the near future.

The Present

A lot of these influencers who are also residents agree that right now Abuja isn’t a fashion city. It is making its way there. In the words of Grace Alex, business owner, GAFA Sandals:

I believe because of the city’s calmness its impact on fashion is often ignored… but there are influencers here shaking things up, bringing attention to the city”

Calmness, this word appeared quite a number of times in my conversations with these creatives. They agree that the laid back vibe of the city is adversely affecting its impact on Nigeria’s fashion scene.

Artist, artiste, Cheso says:

In Abuja there’s the potential for people to express themselves with fashion but its hindered by the laid back scene/vibe of the city. Its almost like there’s a fear of standing out”.

However, influencer, businesswoman and all around creative Indiana Rose is of a different opinion. She believes that this relaxed, calm vibe can be used to the city’s advantage, rather than viewed as a crutch. She says:

Abuja could be a fashion city, but right now a lot of the people in Abuja’s fashion scene are bringing in fashion ideologies from cities like Lagos, New York etc. without really considering Abuja’s personality. Abuja could be different if we take into account the style personality of the city and then we can create its own unique fashion scene”

On a similar note Cheso says;

Abuja’s fashion ideology should not be the same as Lagos because its an entirely different city, affected by totally different cultures”

 

The Future.

What does the future hold?

As an individual, influencer, I want to work more behind the scenes. We have the opportunity to create our own picture and tell our story, a story that hasn’t been told yet. I feel like we need more creatives behind the scenes, telling a new narrative and yes Abuja can become a fashion city” – Indiana Rose

My ideology as a musician is being free, true to yourself, happy, non conformist and so as a taste maker, maybe if I can through my music influence one person to be true to themselves, then I have done my part” – Cheso

I believe to a large extent that creating a brand that stirs conversations and knowing that it is from Abuja will help others in the city know that it is doable” – Grace Alex

After listening to these brilliant and creative minds, I find that a lot of our opinions are similar.

 In a city filled with young, talented, creatives, there is lots to be done. Abuja needs to barrel through the doors, take no for an answer, refuse to be ignored.

“I am the one color moving through the monotony” .

Like, Cheso aims to be, Abuja needs to be that one color burning its way through the fashion industry.

The ‘buj’s calm nature is its very essence. A silent insistence on changing the game will place the microscope on its impact on fashion,

 Yes, personal style and individualism will help create a unique fashion identity for Abuja. Collaborative efforts will make the difference. A community of creatives who band together to change the narrative is stronger than any individual.

These are just the opinion of a few. Do you feel differently? Continue this conversation in the comment section and on social media.  Dialogue is important.

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Vanessa Akin-AdesolaFashion Cities- Abuja

17 Comments

  1. Alice

    Abuja truly has potentials… I can imagine Abuja Fashion Week and the magic that will happen… Because it is “laid back”, the magic will shock so many people!! If you guys press for it and work together, it definitely will happen!!!

    I love the way this was written.. Really nice

      
  2. Kene Kingsley

    I love the way it’s simple, yet interesting. Abuja has this calm, laidback vibe to it, which i look forward to experiencing. Although, it may not be as upbeat and vibrant in fashion and style when compared to Lagos, i believe that Abuja and her influencers can exude their uniqueness therein.

    http://www.kenekingsley.com

      
    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      Thanks Kene, Abuja and her influencers will work to project that uniqueness to the rest of the world.

        
  3. Tamunotonye Barimalaa

    Living in Abuja you unconciously embody the calmness nature of the city amidst that the city has its own unique beauty and story. As creatives living in Abuja, we have to stay unique and create original contents aligned with Abuja that way the identity of Abuja as a fashion city is known.

    This post make also make us aware of the city as a fashion city. Good post here!👏🏾

    http://www.bytonye.com

      
  4. TANG

    Nice piece V. I think the key would be to be fearless in projecting the fashion scene. Calmness itself is a vibe in fashion so projecting the Abuja vibe to the world will be unique. To be honest, Lagos has a variation of styles mixed together to form one big madness in the industry. I have never been to Abuja but I do think that if I were ever there as an influencer, my vibe will stand out and through it, my location would reflect.
    Reading this, I was a bit confused as the first few sentences felt disconcerted but I like how it picked up and became easy to understand. I would have also loved to read other people’s views maybe designers, stylists and photographers based in Abuja.
    Well done!
    http://www.wumituase.com

      
    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      Hi Wunmi. Projecting the calm vibe will be a major key in creating a unique fashion scene. Thanks for your point on the opening part of the article, I will read through it again and make it clearer.

        
  5. Tonye

    I’m new in Abuja (thanks to NYSC) I moved from Lagos and it has been a drag. When it comes to fashion, it’s been hard to fit in. I dress like a “Lagos” girl and sometimes my style is considered inappropriate here. I’ve been to a couple of events and the stares drove me home. Abuja can be a fashion city in the future but I doubt it’ll be a “high end” fashion city where you can let out your creativity. Abuja is the calm and serene state, the seat of government and populated by Northerners who have a laid back and “calm” attitude. What I see thriving here is Modest fashion or a totally different niche. Honestly, it’s going to take a lot of work before Abuja gets to that point where it is considered as a fashion city. I feel as creatives, we need to carve a niche using our unique qualities, our geographical features and add our own Abuja taste to fashion and creativity. I’ve grown to love the city, I plan to stay back after NYSC. Hopefully I’m part of the “Journey to a new Abuja, the fashion city…”

    Tonye
    IG: TheBlackWriter

      
    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      Yay Tonye, i’m so glad your’e staying back in Abuja, the more creatives we have who are willing to help build the fashion scene the better.

        
  6. Tonye

    Oh, I forgot to add, nice style of writing. This is the best fashion journalism piece I’ve read by a Nigerian Creative.

      
  7. Jenny Chisom

    I love Abuja because you can feel like you are making waves without being seen…. Hahahaha. Fashion is different here, factually because of the northern feel and laid backness attitude. This is such a great piece

      
    1. Vanessa Akin-Adesola

      Yes, Jennifer, fashion is different here, but can it be more recognized in the fashion industry?

        

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