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.
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”
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.