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Paris, Milan, London and New York are the “Big Four” of global fashion. Everything that happens in the world of fashion, from the disruption of old fashion styles to the setting of new trends, often begins or at least take shape in these cities. Of course, there are other major players, of which Berlin, Barcelona, Tokyo, São Paulo and Los Angeles quickly come to mind. However, one thing that is glaring within the global fashion space, is the total absence of any African city in the top echelon of fashion destinations. Lagos can change this narrative.

Lagos has just as much characteristics to be a global fashion city as any in Europe or the Americas. There is hardly any nationality or culture across the world that does not have some form of representation in the city of over 20 million residents. Richly diverse in culture and taste, Lagos also has the economic wherewithal to drive the emergence of a global fashion power.

The city accounts for over 60% of the industrial and commercial activity in Africa’s largest economy. With a GDP of over $90 billion, its economy is actually the 7th largest in Africa, bigger than that of Ghana and Kenya combined.

In spite of the enthralling prospects highlighted above, Lagos has thus far been unable to fulfill its potential to become a global fashion city. To understand the reason for this, one only needs to look at what the established fashion cities have done that the former is yet to do.

Globally, the estimated net worth of the fashion industry is $1.2 trillion, more than a quarter of that sum is contributed by New York, Paris, Milan and London. Apart from having very strong economies and a large cosmopolitan populations, these cities also share the common trait of having strong corporate involvement which has powered their fashion industries.

Mercedes, Audi and Cadillac are some of the global brands that have deeply invested in making the big four of fashion what they are today.

For eight years, New York Fashion Week was known officially as Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week; the luxury car maker remains the title sponsor of fashion weeks in Moscow, Berlin, Sydney and Istanbul, as well as one of the leading sponsors of London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks. Mercedes-Benz and Lexus are not the only brands involved: Cadillac threw its weight behind the menswear scene in New York while Singapore’s biannual fashion week was known officially as Audi Fashion Festival.

Although Lagos has come a long way in improving its fashion standing, it is obviously in great need of the kind of corporate touch that made the big four flourish. This is why the recent announcement of GTBank to host a fashion and design fair is such a welcome development for Lagos.

According to the Bank, the event will bring together the most promising, talented and recognised fashion designers, brands and retail enterprises from across Nigeria and abroad to showcase latest fashion trends and products to a large and diverse audience of consumers, fashion aficionados and industry professionals.

The GTBank Fashion Weekend will be headlined by some of the world’s top fashion personalities, globally recognised brand owners and trend setters as well as locally renowned designers and style authorities. Attendees will be treated to a series of fashion events such as Entrepreneurial and Fashion MasterClasses, glamorous Runway Shows and Retail Exhibitions of cool and cutting-edge designs, all of which are geared towards driving the growth and productivity of Nigeria’s fashion industry.

The event is part of the Bank’s initiative to strengthen small businesses in key economic sectors through non-profit consumer focused fairs and capacity building initiatives that serve to boost their expertise, exposure and business growth.

Perhaps, while the government searches for an elixir to the current economic woes being faced by the country, the fashion industry might just be one of the palliatives we needto revive an ailing economy as seen in Paris, London, New York and Milan.

In UK, the industry provides over 797,000 jobs and host some of the biggest fashion brands in the world such as Alexander McQueen, Paul Smith, Next, Marks & Spenser to mention a few,  making it the largest employer of all the UK’s creative industries.  New York City on the other hand is home to over 900 world renowned fashion companies in the US and provides approximately 180,000 employees with $11 billion in annual wages, generating nearly $2 billion in tax revenue each year. Given these impressive economic figures from the big fashion cities, it can be easily imagined what the impact of turning Lagos into a global fashion city will be on the Nigerian economy.

FASHION

‘KO READY-TO-WEAR’ Announces Mega Black Friday Deals

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KO Ready-To-Wear, a Lagos top fashion retail store, has announced a three-day sales extravaganza ahead of the 2021 Black Friday discount season.

A statement from the fashion outfit noted that the store will be offering its numerous customers the best fashion deals of the season ahead of the yuletide from Friday 26 November to 29 November.

Kiki Okewale, style icon and CEO of the eponymous fashion brand, noted that this year’s Black Friday falls on November 26 but KO Ready-To-Wear will be hosting a three-day shopping extravaganza tagged E Choke!!!

“Handily, Black Friday falls just before the countdown to Christmas, so it’s a great opportunity to get a head-start on your wish list,” Okewale stated.

“For our ‘E Choke’ Black Friday Sales, everywhere will be jolly because shoppers will have so much to save up to 50% discount. This means that they have the chance to buy at half price. And if this one ‘no choke’, I don’t know what else will choke for black Friday.

“From quality fabrics, seasonal wardrobe essentials, hard-to-find designer handbags and jewelry, whatever you are hunting for, our fashion store ticks plenty of boxes and there’s no better time to snap up a bargain.

“It’s never too early to start crafting your Black Friday wish list —even if the discount season is just some days away. You can shop up to 50 percent off thousands of items, and the discounts will only get better closer to the big day,” Okewale said.

It will be recalled that all through the month of October, the fashion retail outfit hosted an ‘Ember To Remember Sales’ where it offered numerous customers huge discounts plus free gifts on all items purchased in the store.

Okewale’s distinctive stock and creations have seen her shoot to the top of the fashion and clothing business in Nigeria within a short period of time as she boasts of several of Nigeria’s women of class and elegance as clients.

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LIFESTYLE

UBA’s Abiodun Coker Buries Grandmum In Lagos

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Eminent personalities from all walks of life, on Friday 22nd October 2021, converged in Lagos, for the burial ceremony of Mrs. Joanna Tokunbo, the grandmother of Abiodun Coker, a journalist, public relations expert and core member of the media relations department of United Bank for Africa (UBA).

The late matriarch slept in the lord on September 23, 2021, at the age of 87.

The three days event kicked off with a Christian Wake Keep on Tuesday, 19th of October, Service of Songs on Wednesday, October 20 which was followed by a requiem mass and interment on Friday 23rd at Ikoyi Cemetery.

The memorable Requiem Mass was held at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Lafiaji on Friday, October 22, and was attended by family and friends of the deceased who came out in their numbers to pay their last respect.

The event climaxed with an elaborate shindig which saw guests being entertained at NAF Base, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

In his tribute, Coker extolled the virtues of his late grandmum, describing her as compassionate and an epitome of love that cared for all. He said Mama’s humility and selfless service to God and humanity were second to none.

According to him: “My special Grandmother, may you rest in the bosom of the lord till we see to part no more.

“These words felt like a dagger to the chest, knowing that you are gone. But I know you will never be forgotten. I know for a fact that I will never forget you and how much you’ve impacted my life. Not only that but also the lives of every single person you came across. I know for a fact that you touched many lives. Little wonder you were adored so much and I know that they will all miss you to bits.

“You truly were a special, special woman! You may have passed on, but your memories are etched in my heart. In there you will always live on.

“As I write this piece, I do it with a lot of struggle. Losing you on that 23rd of September brought a pain that cut so deep! Thank you for your sacrifices, your care and concern, your love, compassion and everything that you have done for me. Wherever you are. I look back to when I was so little when you put me on your back to pound Jero while mum was at work and also attended to the neighbours who depended on you for so much because they were not lettered.

“You worked so hard and multi-tasked, doing so much at once yet perfectly, helping others. You were more like a rallying point for all the neighbours who all came to you for help, support and guidance. I guess it’s from you and Papa that my Mum and we the children learnt how to be passionate and dedicated to any course we embarked upon.

“You loved your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren unconditionally. You were truly an epitome of love and taught us all how to effortlessly stand by others genuinely and selflessly. l am proud to have had you as my grandmother. Mama General, I will miss you sorely! I know it is important to be strong for others so as to advance your wonderful legacy.

“When I summoned up the courage to tell Fadekemi about your passing after she asked about you repeatedly, I was shocked when she hugged me and said, I know my great-grandma is resting in Heaven and GOD will look after her. Without a doubt, I know an angel spoke through her and I am certain that indeed you accomplished all that God sent you here to do and he has called you to be with Him.

“I am consoled by the fact that you are in a much better place!

“Love you Mama General. You truly were a treasure to all of us,” He penned.

The late Mrs. Tokunbo was born on 31st August 1934.

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FASHION

Sanwo-Olu, RMD, Kunle Afolayan, Ashiru, Tunde Okewale, Tokunbo Wahab, Sujimoto, Others For Aristocrat Institute and Flagship Store Opening

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The year 2020 is on its last legs and what an eventful year it has been! From one bind to another, the months have unraveled themselves to the average person’s displeasure. All that is yesterday’s news. Kayode Olanshile Alfred, renowned journalist and fashion habitué, has resolved to coloured the end of the year in his signature style and sophistication.

On November the 15th, Kayode Alfred is hosting a launch to kick off the operations of his Aristocrat Flagship store, Aristocrat Institute, and a laundry and dry cleaning service company.

Insiders have reported that the event—set to hold at Heart Omole Phase 1 Estate, Ojodu, Lagos—will see top society luminaries and influencers.

Among those reported to be in the list of kahunas at the opening are political engines like Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu and Otunba Bimbo Ashiru; celebrated pillars of the society like Tokunbo Wahab (the Special Adviser to Governor Sanwo-Olu on Education), Dr. Tunde Okewale (the founder of the prominent charity organization, Urban Lawyers), and Sijibomi Ogundele (Real Estate genius and face of Sujimoto); as well as Nollywood icons, Richard Mofe-Damijo and Kunle Afolayan.

These first-row guests are well known for their high bearing in the Nigerian society, a status that has not dimmed even a bit by their subscription to an aristocratic style of dressing. Thus, Kayode Alfred’s launch will hit the ground running.

Sure to be an eventful day, Kayode Alfred is reportedly using this avenue to lay a foundation for the coming year, during which his Aristocrat brand will permeate the nooks and crannies of the fashion industry, raising the bar and marching his contemporaries onward.

It is this progressive mindset and a creative sense that sparked the interest of the Prestige Excellence Award, earning Kayode Alfred the Innovative and Outstanding Designer of the Year 2019 award.

So November 15th is the date of the convention for aristocratic style and sophistication, and every other thing that Kayode Alfred is renowned for.

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