It's 6 am in the morning and I have just got back to my hotel after 20 hours of non stop waiting around, fashion shows and parties. I was fortunate enough to be asked by Fashions Finest to travel to Lagos, Nigeria to report on the Arise Magazine Fashion Week.
I arrived bright and early on the Thursday morning, rushed to the hotel dropped my luggage and headed straight for Federal Palace Hotel where the Arise Magazine Fashion Week was taking place and to my great surprise I was informed that all the shows scheduled for the Thursday had been cancelled, was I upset or what, but I quickly put that aside as I decided that I might as well use the time wisely and sort out my press accreditation. After waiting around for a couple of hours waiting for something to happen and nothing did, I decided that it might be best that I do something else with my time. To be fair though whilst hanging around at the Hotel I spent a useful two hours talking to the likes of Tewa (CEO Exquisite Magazine) and her Sister Tayo (CEO World PR), Ola Shobowale (Creative Director), Crystal (stylist), a number of international and Nigerian based designers and models (way to many to mention) and a whole lot of old friends. It was like one big massive reunion, for me that is as I seemed to know a lot of people there.
Back to my story, I decided to leave and I thought I would be smart and told a few people to call me when they started doing the press registration and I would rush back. 6 hours later no call and no registration, I was just so happy that I had decided to leave to go and do other things. I eventually came back to Federal Palace Hotel (FPH for short I can't keep typing out this long name) just in time to go for the after party. As you can see the concept of time means very little in Lagos.Anyways (as we say in Nigeria), I was hanging out with some Sierra Leonean designers and we left for the party, unfortunately way to early as when we got there nobody was there (yes I know you can tell that we are English), fortunately it was not too early that we were helping them set up. About 90 minutes later people started drifting in and we had a great evening with Dr Sid performing and doing a great set.
People I am leaving out a lot here otherwise you will be reading this blog for a week, so this is the extremely short version. The next day I did my English thing and arrived bright and early expecting the first show to start on time or at least only a little bit late. The little bit late happened to be 3 hours late. When the first show eventually kicked off I must say that besides my seating problem (which the Arise team eventually sorted out for me) the shows were very good. Going back to the seating issue, can you imagine there was no dedicated seat reserved for Fashions Finest, so you guys know me I had to make my point about this. After a very nice discussion they decided that it was a good idea to sort out seating for me. I have no idea why I am even telling this story especially when I am not giving the full details. Once again moving on, spent the whole day at FPH watching the different shows and I must be honest besides the enormous gaps between shows and them not sticking to the schedule of which I must say there is nothing wrong with that as even for our show coming up, Africa Fashion Week London it is in the terms and conditions that we can change the schedule without notice.
It really seems as if everyone travelled to Lagos for AMFW, some of the guests included ex models like Nigerian Supermodel Oluchi Onweagba (former Victoria Secrets Angel), Uti Nwachukwu (Big Brother Africa Winner), Genevieve Nnaji (Nollywood Actress), numerous socialites and celebrities and people from all over the world including a strong representation from London including designers such as Nkwo, Samantha Cole & Alexander Amosu. The international model contingent was strong and Aminat Ayinde (yes she is Nigerian) cycle 12 winner of Americas Next Top Model killed the catwalk, alongside Darego Agbani (first Black African to win Miss World) and they were backed up South African and other international models as well as our very own Uju Nwabodo, (runner up at Top Model of Colour UK 2011), she was one only two models chosen to walk at the big shows with the international models & even though Makida Moka (Face of Sleek Nigeria) is one of the shorter models – I apologise to anyone of any note that I have missed out.
I must tell you what happened when I watching my good friend Ituen Basi showing off an original collection and my phone started going non stop, now I am trying to be discreet and not look as if I was not interested in Ituen's show by looking at the phone but in the end I had no choice as it would not stop vibrating and I didn't want people to get the wrong idea about a vibrating phone and a man with a smile on his face (come on people get your mind out of the gutter, if you didn't get it then you need to get your mind in the gutter).
Finally I looked at the phone and I am getting BBM (black berry messenger) and texts from people in the UK saying that they just saw me on London ITV News as Ronke Phillips who is in Nigeria covering AMFW for London Tonight did a quick review of the show and yours truly somehow was shown. I can't believe that people were able to spot in this quick clip.
The final show finished at about 12 midnight, this is not a typo yes it did finish at that time with Tiffany Amber closing the show. It was a crazy first day which ended with me heading off to the after party at JJ Okocha's Club (former premiership footballer).
As usual you can see I did not do a review of the clothes and the designers as you will be seeing pictures of the show on Fashions Finest over the next few days.
Sorry but I have to rub it in, the weather here is fantastic and I off to bed to get ready for another day of great shows and parties – what a hard life I live.