Naomi Campbell and Reni Folawiyo
On the 19th of April 2019, Arise Fashion Week (AFW) kicked off four days of fashion, setting the pace for an endless flurry of runway presentations, after-parties, and plenty of show-stopping looks.
As the creme de la creme of the fashion world converge in Lagos for this year’s edition, Arise Fashion Talks hosted Naomi Campbell, André Leon Talley, Okechukwu Enelamah, Reni Folawiyo, Ituen Bassey, Funsho Olusanya, Barbara Barungi, Wale Babalakin, and more to an interactive evening forum held at the Lagos Continental Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos.
Okechukwu Enelamah, Barbara Barungi, and Ituen Bassey
The Minister of Trade and Industries, Okechukwu Enelamah kicked off the first session tagged “From Retail To Exports: Building A Sustainable Market” alongside Barbara Barungi of Imara Africa Consulting and fashion designer, Ituen Bassey which was moderated by the CEO of NEPC, Segun Awolowo. They urged Nigerians to work with the present administration to make Nigeria work and great.
Where Enelamah hinted that the federal government was planning to raise $500 million to facilitate the setting up of three economic zones in Lekki, Funtua and Aba in Lagos, Katsina and Abia states respectively. While on the issue of private equity funding, Barungi said the best source of funding required for the fashion or creative industry was either private equity or venture capital, regretting that both of these sources are still too small for any impact to be felt.
Okechukwu Enelamah, Ituen Bassey and Segun Awolowo
Naomi Campbell joined Reni Folawiyo, Barbara James and Funsho Olusanya to deliberate on the topic, ‘Business of Fasion – Exploring all Facets of the Emerging Markets in Africa. The actress, model and activist announced that she, in partnership with the Gucci brand, is set to launch an ambitious fashion fellowship in universities in Lagos, Ghana and Cape Town in a bold move aimed at unleashing the hidden talents that abound in the continent. The University of Lagos will be the beneficiary in Nigeria.
Naomi Campbell with the panel of Arise Talks II
Making the disclosure at the second session of Arise Talks moderated by Laila Johnson-Salami, the British supermodel explained that after 33 years on the runway, she had decided that the time has come to use her network, experience and talent to work for Africa. Campbell also explained to the audience at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, that her current initiative was in line with late Nelson Mandela’s entreaties to her when she visited him in South Africa that she should use her talent and experience to create a new Africa narrative.
James proposed a $1billion equity fund that would attract such big weights as Gucci, Ebay, government and another fund known as Technical Funding that could possibly pool $20 million to target capacity building in the creative industry. In her contribution, Funsho Olusanya of FSDH noted that in as much funding remains a major challenge.
The CEO of Alara, Reni Folawiyo lamented the dearth of skill manpower, infrastructure and human capacity development, arguing that these factors contribute to making the products expensive and of low quality. Folawiyo noted that while talent was on the upswing, all factors need to be improved to ensure that solutions can be provided to bring down prices and produce quality goods and services.
Pro-chancellor of University of Lagos, Wale Babalakin, SAN, lauded Campbell and the Chairman, THISDAY/Arise Media Group, Prince Nduka Obaigbena, for choosing the University of Lagos for the fellowship, adding that it was coming at a time the authorities are seeking alternative means of revenue generation that “we’ll support, encourage and give our all to make this work.” Obaigbena praised Campbell for deciding to dedicate the rest of her life to develop talent in Africa: “She has spent 33 years already in the business, now she is ready to dedicate the rest of her 33 years to building the African brand and new narrative for Africa.”
The Arise Fashion Week continues till the 22nd of April 2019 at the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island. The festival will culminate on Easter Sunday, April 21, with exciting shows on the runway.
Naomi Campbell and André Leon Talley
Executive Editor of ThisDay Style, Ruth Isime pictured with guests
Laila Johnson-Salami, Reni Folawiyo and a guest
Barbara Barungi with a guest
Lady Maiden Alex Ibru with a friend
Barbara Barungi and Andre Leon Talley
Segun Awolowo and Wale Babalakin
Yetunde “Yetty D” Ogunnubi
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