Photo taken from Google
If you are a fashion lover or simply enjoy retail therapy in your spare time, then you may be very conscious of the different retail experiences out there. Visiting the motherland, Nigeria, is never short of an experience to remember.
In Lagos, the fashion hub of Nigeria, the latest trends are everywhere, and shopping is a luxury that everyone will afford-by any means necessary. As you drive through Lekki, away from Lagos mainland, you will notice the conscious effort of everyone to make the streets their own personal runway. Consequently, malls and boutiques lavishly splurge on cutting edge and off-the-runway inspired designs; and you'll find both luxury and low-end pricing. There is really no excuse not to be on trend- this is Nigeria, after all.
Photo taken from Google
You can't really share a Lagos experience on one page- time doesn't permit; nor does one claim to know it all. But this is why it's a personal experience. So in a nutshell, happy reading!
'The early bird catches the worm' describes moving around in Lagos perfectly. Particularly if you want to get to the island (Lagos consists of an island and the mainland), setting out early in the day allows you to shop to your heart's content and gives you enough time to head back to the mainland before rush hour creeps in. Lagos is rich in culture and activities, and it's also heavily populated. Make sure traffic doesn't put a dent in your plans. Also, once you've mapped out and decided where you want to go, don't hold back on your purchases! I'm not saying splurge or be wreckless in buying the unnecessary- but if you love it, go ahead and buy it. Boutique items are sourced from so many different parts of the world, and from so many fashion seasons- there's a small chance you'll find the exact item elsewhere and at a better price. Having said that, the market is a great place to haggle, look around, and return if you wish to make a purchase. Balogun market on Lagos Island is known to be one of the most resourceful and most loved open markets to shop. They say you find everything in this market: from designers, to wholesale, to machinery parts.
Make sure you indulge yourself in some good icecream spots if you're out shopping the whole day! I recommend Chocolate Royal if you're on the island; or browse Ikeja mall on the mainland for a good spot.
In the world of Fashion and Beauty some things come across pretty standardised and impersonal. So it's always good to know that there are brands out there that carry alot of personality , and truly do have their end-consumer in mind. The last 5-10 years have witnessed this growing trend of sustainability and social responsibility. Brands that tell a story, one personal to the creator, are definitely winning in my books. These are brands made with love.
So in no particular order -
1. Keji Victoria Designs - a bespoke and Ready-to-wear collection by yours truly, is inspired by my cross-cultural journey between Africa and the West. The latest collection, #madewithlovebykv draws inspiration from the names of locals in Northern Nigeria; as well as pays homage and solidarity to local businesses in that area.
2. Shea Moisture - a hair and beauty brand that has a family history and African heritage: shea butter, a rich home-grown plant is the selling point of this kind-to-the-hair brand.
Sofi Tucker was the forerunner to selling shea butter (that inspired Shea Moisture); and the grandmother to one of the brand's co-founders.
3. The Honest Company, founded by Jessica Alba and Christopher Gavigan, makes pure and harm-free baby products their priority. Once again, the most cherished brands are ones who the owners are also proud consumers of the goods.
4. Alex and Ani - an eco-conscious accessory brand that exists to give back to the planet. What I love about this brand is the recycle qualities in its manufacturing processes. The accessories are made with some recyclable elements, and the aesthetics are not compromised.
5. Studio 189 is a fashion social enterprise founded by Rosario Dawson and Abrima Erwiah. The Ghana and New York based platform works with award-winning artisans in Africa. 'Fashion Rising' has been notable campaign of the brand, which uses fashion to create more opportunities and empowerment for communities particularly in Africa.
6. Two-Thirds clothing brand - takes its brand inspiration from the ocean, which is known to take up two-thirds of the planet. Every collection is designed with lovable sea creatures and donations are made towards keeping our blue seas clean and safe. How lovely!
Can you share any brands in the industry that exist to help their community and make a difference?
When Winter sinks it's ice teeth in, we bring out the accesories. There's no need to wait till you're flaunting your summer style again to glam up! So, while the stylish tops and skirts are buried under during the cold months, you can invest in these special Stella and Dot pieces. Spice up your wintry wardrobe with some shiny emblems! Check out some of the jewellery pieces here: www.stelladot.co.uk
Drape Ear Jacket
Pavè Sphinx Cuff
Odeon Pendant Necklace
Alila Lace Cuff
Bliss Statement Necklace
Share your thoughts!
It's been a few years now since I've been a contributor to Fashions Finest blog; and I've been privileged to share my views on a blog platform that is growing and constantly evolving. As a designer (Keji Victoria), I chose to write alongside my craft and share personal views of the industry? Why? While this may be a pretty simple equation, giving that fashion bloggers are poised to also be stylists and trend and design experts, it's good to reflect on real perks of fashion blogging....
(Photo from Instagram)
1. You are connected to what is trendy and relevant
When it comes to writing you really need to stay relevant. I learnt this the hard way- spending so much time digging in to find material, but not always completing the last research stage- is it relevant to my viewers? Years of writing has definitely helped me appreciate the value of of the viewers' interests and needs. It makes writing worthwhile!
2. You are encouraged to share unique opinions and views
While staying relevant is crucial, my blog page isn't the only one that exists to be relevant, and neither is yours. People are always looking for something unique and refreshingly different, it's a battle of the fittest (so to say). I remember some years back, I shared a post on my favorite ways of using a wrap to cover the hair (as seen on Solange); I remember my house mate at the time came to me saying how much she enjoyed reading my FF post and how she sat down attempting the differenthe wrap styles. At that point, I realised that people are definitely interested in what I have to say- useful, relevant, yet unique. Although simple, my research on head wrap styles was a unique compilation.
3. You appreciate the work and accomplishments of others
Since being part of the FF blog family, I have had several opportunities to attend Fashion shows; participate in media and blogger events; and the likes! That is definitely a perk of working with a great platform. The journey has put me in the company of people whose views and styles are as different to my norm, as they could be. When you are set the task of covering a show or collection, you move from simply admiring the work to appreciating the hard work behind it.
4. You step out of your own comfort zone and work
The parallel work of designing (Keji Victoria) and writing constantly keeps me on the edge of my seat: designing keeps you locked in your own world and writing brings you out of it- not to talk of mastering the skills that go behind blog-style writing. I'm never short of inspiration!
Happy new year fashion bugs!
Thanks so much for stopping by my page!Keji Ewuosho X
'...classy yet eclectic silhouettes that encourage women to express their individuality...' www.thelineanddot.com. This is the very reason why Line and Dot have successfully been able to attract above-the-highstreet trendsetters. For a Sunny-California-based brand, they also manage to design some stylish coats for us Winter folk! Enjoy my favourite pieces!
(From top to left)
- Blanche Eco Fur Jacket; faux fur jacket with whiskey colour block
- Dalida Moto Sweater Jacket; black ribbed knit with vegan leather Moto jacket
- Wren Maxi Coat; wool and acrylic with polyester lining
What are your thoughts on Line and Dot's collections?
I met Kunmi, founder and designer of MINKU, at a local handmade designer market in Barcelona. It was by far my most interesting encounter at the market that day; a designer who uses the rich and unique attributes of the Nigerian culture, and infuses it into handmade and practical goods. Each Minku item is covered in handmade love and personalised features. It seems that no Minku item is designed exactly the same way. A Minku bag is definitely a lifetime and unique wardrobe piece! Enjoy some of my favourite pieces....
The Ebute Metta Fringe Clutch:
100% leather exterior and strap; with hand-stiched expandable sides.
100% leather exterior, with aso-oke coin-pocket lining.
The Ibaka Work and Weekend Bag:
Mustard yellow vegetable-tanned cow leather with a mesh lamb-leather side pocket
Visit www.minku.com for more beautifully handmade leather goods!
Skin care regime can be tasking; and with the overload of information circling the Internet, it's hard to find the right stuff.
Solution: educate yourself and the skin care ingredients and their benefits. Like the body, the skin needs the right nutrients. We should take advantage of the information age, and know what we are feeding our skin. The Internet can be your best friend (if you use it properly).
Feel free to share your recommended products!
1. Red Flower Kinmoxei Wild Lime Silk Oil.
This contains (amongst several others) rice bran oil, which is an antioxidant.
2. Mukti Antioxidant Facial Oil
As its name suggests, it's a great antioxidant product. The pomegranate and carrot seed oils give it its nutritional boost.
3. Your Best Face Private Reserve Antioxidant Oil
With a simple base of meadowfoam oil along with vitamin E, your skin is sure to have the basic nutrients.
Loving the minimal looks by luxury designer, Joseph. I came across this brand a few years back, and I absolutely love the comfort-luxury style! My take on Joseph's creative direction is that it uses a canvas of quality and luxury; and allows the individual to add and personalise as they wish.
- Check Jacquard Nicol Blouse
- Nappa Leather Scandal
- Scuba Jog Pants
What isyour favourite Joseph piece?
My latest collection, #madewithlovebykv, puts sustainability at the heart of fashion. Being rooted and connection with my hometown, I am able to source supplies and fabrics from local businesses in Kano, Nigeria. I'm constantly inspired by the textiles found in small local businesses- it's almost certain you won't see it anywhere else. Being able to support these small enterprises and give back to my community definitely drives what I do.
Where did the name for the collection come from?
Being a part of the whole making of the collection; from sketching to sampling, means that every piece has my customer in mind. What makes the KV person comfortable, bold, and unique? Personal touch sometimes gets compromised when making multiple pieces and we sometimes get too focused on following a theme or following trends that do not necessarily reflect our customers needs.
New features in the latest collection include:
• Real model size for guidance
• Plain colour fabric options available to customise your order
• Easy-to-access Size chart
Maison de Mode, a US-based online luxury fashion retailer, prides itself in showcasing fashion that represents sustainability. Unfortunately, sustainability has been an ambiguous word thrown around to make products more appealing to consumers, lobbyists and other members of the public. But what does it really mean? Is sustainability relatable and directly linked to the consumer? And the big question for fashionistas- is style comprised on the platfotform of ethical standards in fashion?
Maison de Mode does a great job in bridging the gap between consumers and such standards: it is now easier to understand how your every day fashion choices can make an impact in our society and environment- without all the sustainability jargon!
See what it's designers are doing to earn the sustainability badge:
Achu Parpat Vintag (by Mola Sasa)
Mola Sasa used artisanal techniques with beautiful intricate woven details in this bag. Creating handmade pieces means artisans can compete in a world of homogenised mass production. Let's not forget the recycled materials used, which means we can be more responsible for the materials we consume.
Kimono Dress Shirt (by Maiyet)
It's great when high-end designers promote small, artisanal designers. Many companies take advantage of work factories in developing countries- it's nice to see that individual designers and dress makers can be paid decently for what they do- without compromising on quality. Maiyet also donate a portion of their proceeds to ocean-related charities. Not bad!
Oversized long coat (by Shipper)
Shipper partners with organisations that help sustainable businesses which allows them to grow and make profits. So as you lavish yourself in this tweed coat, you'll feel even better knowing that you also contributed to the success of other sustainable businesses!
What are your thoughts on sustainable businesses in fashion?