GTBank Fashion Weekend 2018: The who, what and trends straight out of Africa’s biggest fashion event

GTBank Fashion Weekend 2018: The who, what and trends straight out of Africa’s biggest fashion event

The third edition of the GT Bank fashion weekend, a consumer focused fashion event, took place over the weekend, between November 10th and 11th precis

Munachi Abii wows on the cover of WOW magazine
Oscar winner, Jennifer Hudson is the cover star for Cosmopoltan magazine
Belinda Effah is UK based Tobams Colours new ambassador

The third edition of the GT Bank fashion weekend, a consumer focused fashion event, took place over the weekend, between November 10th and 11th precisely and just like the debut edition that took off with an impressive start, this year’s edition was no different from the previous editions. Infact if anything, the two day fashion event was not only well put together, it has over the years gained the much needed traction required to make it a must attend event in the country’s fashion calendar. Unknown to many, long before the financial institution decided to take on the fashion industry head on, and making the GTBank Fashion Weekend one of the many ways the banks seeks to promote small and medium scale enterprises, GTbank had been at the fore front of two of the country’s leading fashion events, The ARISE fashion week and The Lagos Fashion and Design Week, for a combined period of five years. But taking on the biggest fashion event out of Africa, while it is no small feat, has made it possible to not only tell our stories right, position the fashion industry on the world map, it is also by extension, enriching the lives of the bank’s customers beyond just banking.

Here are tit bits on how it went down at the two-day fashion event.

The Retail Experience
The bank wasn’t paying lip service with the theme of the fashion event, ‘Promoting Enterprise’. It demonstrated its commitment to growing SMEs, particularly in the fashion sector, in a sustainable manner that is not driven by profits but focused on empowering and growing the economy. The retail side of the event created an ultimate fashion experience where promising and talented brands showcased their products to a large and diverse audience of consumers, fashion aficionados and industry professionals. The over 80 brands selected, all ranging from  textile, clothing and apparel, ready to wear footwear, jewellery and accessories, hair and beauty, crafts and many more, were not charged a fee to participate.

The Crafts Village
As in the past two editions, there was a crafts village which was was headlined by renowned Nike Davies-Okundaye, a  batik and textile designer as well as the founder of Nike Arts Gallery, one of the biggest art galleries in the South West. At the craft village, participants and interested visitors got the opportunity to watch live, the expertise with which artisans transform materials into fashion master pieces such as adire, tye and dye and batik, absolutely free. This was the bank’s way of encouraging many to learn a trade along that line. Also some of the pieces were sold at the event.

The Master Classes
The master classes provided a platform for ideas to be shared and nurtured while also providing fashion entrepreneurs the unique opportunity to learn from global industry leaders and experienced brands. Relevant topics addressing challenges and opportunities, fashion entrepreneurship, growth and profitability, physical and e-commerce retailing, fashion blogging, fashion journalism etc were discussed.

The speakers who gave of the wealth of their knowledge were;

Taofeek Abijako: Just 20 years old, the Nigerian designer who has been making waves in America via his Head of State+ company which focuses on art, fashion, furniture and product design, spoke on ‘Understanding the industry; starting out’, using his own personal experience.

Anna Trevelyan and Stravos Kravellis: Fashion buyers, Starvos Karellis and Anna Trevelyan who both run SHOW studio, a curated selection of contemporary artwork and fashion artifacts alongside MACHINE-A, a boutique stocking some of London’s newest fashion, spoke on how well to curate fashion in running a successful fashion retail brand while giving valuable tips on those who may consider going into it. They did hint that fashion buying is all hinged on Nigeria’s fashion industry being as well regulated as it is in London.

Jay Manuel: Savy and sassy best describe this stylist and beauty entrepreneur and this explains why he has been successful at what he does while also projecting his work and by extension, himself, using the power of TV and social media. He was gracious enough to reveal some of the secrets to standing out in the fashion and beauty world using these avenues.

Dapper Dan: The legendary designer not only inspired budding designer with his inspiring story of determination and hard work, he also reiterated the need for diversity in designs to avoid creative restriction. With this, one begins to understand why his stand out creations caught the eye of high end fashion house, Gucci, known for their vintage and avant garde designs, for mutually beneficial synergy in fashion.

Julia Sarr Jamois: The stylist and fashion editor at both British Vogue and I-D who started out as a model, spoke on being knowledgeable about global fashion trends to enable one be authentic with their personal style as well as that of clients using stand out pieces that tells stories and projects one’s brand.

Nike Ogunnaike: The Nigerian born fashion journalist who is currently the Style Director at who spoke about diversity in fashion reiterated that diversity in this context is not only limited to fashion but could be diversity in voices, that is those who represent the fashion industry and are holding conversations on what goes on in the industry. It could also be diversity in body type, age, colour. She also regaled her audience on how to make one’s personal style shine through, using social media to highlight it as well as developing writing skills for fashion journalists.

Nicholas Kirkwood: The British born award winning women’s shoe designer spoke on how to build a successful shoe empire using his own success story to regale his audience with how he has been able to stand out in that department using fresh modern approach to combine strong sculptural silhouettes with bold color and striking textures, all expertly hand-crafted.

Naivasha Johnson: The famous hairstylist and celebrity groomer spoke on how to follow one’s creative vision while constantly seek to be innovative and thinking outside the box to grow a successful hair styling brand. She didn’t just stop there, she also held a live demonstration for her audience.



The Fashion Presentation
While the master classes were in full swing, three Nigerian designers put up a presentation of their exclusive designs towards the entrance of the VIP section. They were Jane Michael, Sevon Dejana and Abiola Olusola, all womenswear designers

The runway
The runway shows which ended each day’s flurry of activities, featured collections by ten international brands and three well respected Nigerian designers. The well coordinated shows offered guests artistic insights into the modern world of Nigerian and global fashion design. Unlike past years, this year’s edition had more runway designers.

Day 1

Ituen Basi: The Nigerian designer opened the show with pizzaz, paying homage to Afro beat, a genre of music created by the late Fela. Her collection which was a kaleidoscope of colours which Fela was known to love. It featured a lot of fringes, bell bottoms, ruffles and a bit of layering.

Sukeina: The Senegalese’very impressive feminine collection was a mixture of bold colours juxtaposed with white and black stand alones all complemented with partially sequined headbands and a heavy dose of fringe.

Romeo Hunte: His collection would be aptly described as fun, youthful, sporty with a huge dose of fur.

Gozel Green: Made up of two sister designers, Sylvia Enekwe and Olivia Jude-Okoji their collection was as eccentric as it was uninspiring.

Clive Rundle: He made extensive use of very light see through fabrics which helped with the flowy nature of his designs some of which were mostly kimonos. His designs were bold and fearless.

Adama Paris: The Senegalese designer is truly the queen of pastel as she has never failed to incorporate the ‘saccharine’ colours in her collection which had a lot of palazzos, lace, ruffle and see throughs, all in simple clean cuts.

David Tlale: The South African designer ended the show on the first day in his characteristic dramatic way. Monochrome, Cleopatra –like head pieces, sequins, dramatic hair styles, featured prominently in his collection.


Day 2

Lanre Dasilva Ajayi: One of Nigeria’s favourite designers, Lanre opened the runway show on the second day. Famed for her vintage style, Lanre didn’t disappoint as she flooded the runway in pieces made of velvet, silk, chiffon, sequins, metallic on a large scale, all in vintage silhouettes. The addition of hair pieces added character to the collection.

Ji Won Choi:
She lavishly depicted her Asian heritage in her fun looking collection which was simply avant garde.

Taibo Bacar: This would be the third time Taibo Bacar will showcase at the fashion event. His collections have made quite an impression on fashion enthusiasts who looked forward to what he had to offer this year. And he didn’t disappoint. The dress and bag designer from Mozambique had quite an impressive collection which was old Hollywood glam and accessorized with his leather handbags.

Idma NOF: Not many had heard about her but the Nigerian designer made an impression by  playing a lot with very flowy fabrics and solid palettes of colours. Hers was an easy breezy collection.


Gert Johan Coetzee: The South African’s pieces was a collection of youthful looks, floor length red carpet looks, laid back casuals in floral, sequins and laid back colours.


Laquan Smith:  The New York based fashion designer ended the show on the second day of the fashion event in a switched up tempo when he sent a model in daring floor length pieces, heavily sequined party looks, fur and a large dose of attitude. His collection was to say the least, risqué and he proved that his designs were not for the faint hearted.

To see the full collections off the GTBank Fashion Weekend runway, click here