Here Are 7 African Designers You Won’t Get To See At Lagos Fashion Week

in anticipation of the Lagos Fashion Week

Heineken Lagos Fashion Week is unarguably among the year’s most anticipated cultural event. Bringing generations of Nigerian fashion designers under one platform, it has become the premier location for discovering A-level fashion talent from, not just within the country, but across Africa and her diaspora.

Since its formation in 2011, LFW has demonstrated thrilling explorations in the world of fashion. From tapping from the country’s wealth of textile materials to embroidering historical patterns, or channeling the daring aesthetic of queer communities—many talented designers have displayed their wonderful creations on its stages. 

This year the Lagos Fashion Week will hold from October 26th to October 29th, with Atafo, House of Kaya, Maki Oh and Orange Culture being some of the acclaimed fashion designers who are presenting across its three-day runtime. At The NATIVE we wanted to highlight seven talented fashion designers who aren’t debuting any collections at this year’s LFW. Their brands are distinctly African and sometimes cosmopolitan, drawing influences from larger fashion trends in the world. Featuring streetwear savants such as PITH Africa and 5200 to ready-to-wear brand such as Vangei, here are 7 designers you won’t get to see at this year’s fashion week.

Read on to find out who these designers are and how they’re carving unique lanes for their texture-based art to thrive. 


Streetwear is a huge part of Lagos’ budding fashion scene. For one, they’re mostly created by young people and well attuned to the experiments going on in the streets which, for those in the know, is an endless well of rich inspiration. Standout brand, 5200 has many electrifying designs in their catalogue, mostly of denim jeans attended by eccentric stitches and patterns. With roughly finished edges and ripped parts, there’s a gritty yet classy allure to 5200 which makes them one of the most beloved streetwear brands in the country right now. 


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Over the course of 2022, the profile of Louie Dray has consistently risen in the fashion landscape. Their works resonate with the demands of the new African youth, simple but seamlessly colourful and comfortable. With their immersive designs embracing an elastic texture which fits on the body, the brand has caught the eye of young people. Pieces with colours ranging from blue, to silver-streaked black and orange have featured in some of the most irresistible looks all year, and observing the Y2K direction of the brand has been truly exciting. Even popular music has been taking note, with superstars Ladipoe and Tems appearing in LD in these past few months. 


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Johannesburg-based Viviers adopts high concept practices in their designs. It was founded in 2019 by Lezanne Viviers, launching with a showcase which demonstrated their commitment to environmental awareness. Their designs are made from textiles sourced from decades-old fabrics in warehouses, a choice which hints at their desire for originality and durability. Viviers tend to feature sharp edges with an androgynist versatility, not much concerned with the fashion trends of the day. Falling under their ethos of crediting artisans, individual pieces are signed off by the artisans and tailors who create them. Earlier this year, Viviers released their MOTHERBOARD AW2022 collection which connected the shared prospects of fashion and technology through glamorous, intricate pieces reflecting a futuristic outlook.


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The story of Vangei is an inspirational one. Having started out in Ankara designs in the middle of last decade, its founder Kanaan took up other urgent engagements. They couldn’t continue, until 2018 when a scroll through the social media handles of Lagos Fashion Week rejuvenated their drive. It was obvious then: they needed to make clothing, and not just basic styles but they needed to leave a mark. And true to their motivation, Vangei has become a brand to be reckoned with in the Lagos scene. Pieces inspired by queer people have birthed embroidered flower-patterned clothes, chest-baring silk overalls, sky-evoking casuals and many other remarkable works. With the brilliance consistently displayed by Vangei, it shouldn’t be long before they make that LFW debut. 


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Stories are an essential part of Maiyegun Oluwatobi’s creations. His pieces are inspired by Greek myths and other accounts with an edge of Fantasy and superhero tales. The Yellow Belle set, for example, takes its aesthetic direction from the clothings in Beauty and the Beast, a Disney animation that was a favourite for the Gen-Z growing up. Regardless of whether one watched those shows, the interpretations of Maye Tobs are remarkably distinct and multi-layered. With bold colours frequently appearing on their designs, the free flowing, audacious outfits of MT have been carving a unique lane in the dense field of Lagos’ fashion scene. 


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Assam’s pieces are strikingly colourful. Their rich patterns are inspired by the Ghanaian culture, situating Chloe among the designers leading a renaissance in the West African country. Ditching luxury pieces, Asaams are unnervingly simple in their wearability and aesthetic. In her early years designing, Chloe ebbed towards androgynous fashion and how they related to technology. But, as she’s said in an interview, she eventually realised her “ethos wasn’t centred around either. They were extensions of it and that the core of my practice is fusing disparate ideas and experimenting to create timeless pieces for women who want to stand out”. Quite fittingly, Chloe’s biggest inspirations are the women and community around her.  


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Youth culture has an unarguably influential position in Nigerian life. From the motions of the alte community to involvement in historic social causes like End SARS, young people have dictated what it means to create and rebel. Co-founded by Nezodo, Ojemen Cosmas and Adedayo Laketu—three friends who met in university—PITH Africa have been a brand to watch out for. Already worn by figures like BOJ and Mathew Blaise, their designs embrace the individuality and daring ethos of youths around the continent. Quirky, colourful designs blur the lines between casual and official. Their signature ‘P’ icon is brazenly emblazoned on parts of shirts, baggy jeans, ties, and caps, embracing an urban aethestic that is quickly catching on among Lagos-based fashion enthusiasts. In a recent interview with  NATIVE Mag, the founding trio talked about their varied intentions, and underlined collaboration and sustainability as short-term checkpoints on their longer path to becoming, in the words of its artistic director, “a multi-billion dollar company”. 


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Featured image credits/NATIVE