Documenting the style-scape of Lagos, Nigeria

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25.9.15

NIGERIAN LABELS.

On Instagram, I've been making it very clear that I'm increasingly impressed by Nigerian labels.

I mean people are putting in the work and getting fantastic results!

I do not do sponsored posts (yet?), I simply stay true to what in my very humble and unprofessional opinion (because I'm no Anna Wintour or Andre Leon Talley) is easy on the eye, well crafted and most of all, affordable.

So we have KAMOKINI. A swimwear label from Nigeria. 

To be completely honest, affordability of their pieces will be relative. As with all things. I have in fact heard a one person say they're a tad pricey. I'll leave that for you to decide.

What I can vouch for is their eye-catching designs and qualitative approach to fabric choices.

I photographed this gorgeouso a few weeks back when I went on a short but sweet weekend getaway on a private beach in Lagos.

Beaches are my thing.

But back to the swim wear. 

Beautiful, no?



LAID BACK BARE.

And another fresh faced beauty from that same event.

Feel free to be just be as enamored as I was. 

This natural hair movement can stay.

Cheers :)



ORGANISED...ME?

Not today.

Maybe Monday. Or January.

Because with me, it appears living in some kind of disorganized harmony is my lot in life. 

When I take several photos at one event; why can't I be a dutiful blogger and set them out with some sensible structure for you guys?

I keep going back and forth, picking and choosing with neither rhyme nor reason. 

You know Scott Schuman? The brilliant force behind The SARTORIALIST? He's the one who opened my eyes to street fashion and its attendant photography opportunities. I bought my Canon because he uses a Canon. I gave a presentation at PechaKucha night in Aberdeen and made it known to the world (or my audience of about 150 actually) that #ScottMadeMeDoThis.
Visit his site and picture me getting there one day. The seemingly elusive "one day" when I will get properly organized and take this blog to "the next level".

For now, bear with me and be inspired by more street chic I photographed at the ShopMaju event I attended all those moons ago.














NOT PLANNED.

Nigeria is currently on a long weekend break. Even though I'd made no plans, to suddenly have Thursday and Friday thrust upon you as work-free days, and it's not even Christmas, got me a little bit excited.

Don't get me wrong, I love my job but...

Anyway, because my tooth got extracted on Wednesday evening (a fist pump and truck loads of respect to fellow warriors who've gone through that nightmare), I spent the entire Thursday in a horizontal state. 
You couldn't get me to stand up. Not even for dodo (fried plantain). You see...for me...dodo is the essence of life. 
It's not up for debate.
But yesterday?...NO.

And today, Friday, on a whim, I thought it would be nice to take the family out for breakfast. We went to Olivia's Cafe at  NUTS ABOUT CAKES, based out in Lekki Phase 1. The food and ambiance were beyond fantastic. Tasteful, tasteful, tasteful. Excellent customer service. And huge portions too.

We had to walk off this huge breakfast right? So we traipsed to Elegushi Beach.

As we made to park the car, this guy Uchenna walks up to us, and asks us to come to his beach stall. He began promising us a "very cool spot" with "the best grilled fish" and "chilled drinks". Thanks Uchenna but did you not see the size of our breakfast?

As I took his photo, I asked him about the theme behind his outfit. Surely there had to be a master-plan behind this unusual mix of colors and textures?

Uchenna said no. He had no plans.





21.9.15

THE NEW ENTREPRENEUR.

I admit I'm one of those who spends a a bit of time photo surfing on Instagram.

I'm not quite nomophobic but I do have a tendency to reach for my phone to find out what the world is talking about in terms of food, fashion, travel, hair, child-friendly activities, medical breakthroughs, fitness et-ce-bleeping-tera
I am interested in everything, so I tend to go everywhere.

For this reason, just this past week, I bumped into the Instagram profiles of these three beauties I photographed separately.

From prescribing products for natural-hair enthusiasts to styling, these three seem to have gathered quite a following on the interwebs.

They are the new breed of the Lagos Entrepreneur. The ones who follow their school-taught discipline and keep a foot in the corporate world but will certainly cultivate their creative side into a thriving spinner.

Like minds. Like fashion.












14.9.15

INHIBITIONS.

About eight years ago, I was at my step-brother's bachelor party and then across the pool, I saw a girl who looked very familiar. A few seconds of a squint and a memory scan, and then I realized this was Uche (not real name), a friend of my own friend, Onome (real name).

So I walked up to her to introduce myself and ... you know...say hello (as you do when you've seen so many photos of someone, and heard so many fun stories that you feel like you have an unspoken right to finally bond). 
She completely ignored me. She acted like I was a housefly hovering on her hot plate of food. I smiled and tried to make a gracious exit, expecting her to call out and apologize and give the standard "oh sorry, I didn't mean to act like that...I've just had a really exhausting day" sort of excuse. But she was Rosa Parks adamant in her steely behavior. Except unlike Rosa, she had no obvious good cause.
Till today I will never understand why. What I however understand is that I became unwilling to make {unnecessarily positive} assumptions about a person's persona, just off photographs and anecdotes.

And then last Sunday I met Theladds (hybrid of real names) at the ShopMaju event.  And just like steely Uche, Theladds  is a friend of a friend. When she walked in, I wasn't quite certain whether or not I knew her. But I wasn't going to make any moves to find out.  
{Abeg dem no born me to dey chop isho left right and centre biko.}

But then, she walked up to me and introduced herself and gave me a warm hug. We had a giggly chat and an altogether great, even if brief time. Good vibes flowed. Effortlessly.

Previous inhibitions dropped. Faith restored in mutual-friend-humanity.

I like this one. I really do.




11.9.15

TOLERANCE.

In my last post, I touched on some recent personal challenges, yes?
I took these challenges very personal and started to exhibit traits of teenage angst (even if my teenage years are over 2 decades behind me).

Last Friday, my colleague told me a story about a friend of his who would always ask him for money and typically with an emotional angle to his money request. My colleague paid all hospital bills for the birth of his 1st child, and then for his 2nd child (and had to chip in for the naming ceremony costs as well) and was again being contacted on that Friday to once more send some money as the 3rd child was on its way to the world.

My colleague was raving irritated. 

He showed me the text messages and I joined him in raining some choice insults at this friend of his who wouldn't grow a pair and take care of his personal business. In a very atypical mode, I even went as far as answering in the affirmative when my colleague asked if he was right to ignore his friend's pleas.

So there we were, in our plush cosy office, being completely intolerant to this man and his wife who in our opinion, were irresponsibly insistent on churning out babies.

I got into the office on Monday and saw my colleague looking rather morose. I asked what was wrong. He showed me yet another text from his friend.

His wife died.

She died.

And I was crushed.

Not because I gave advice for the money request to be ignored, no that wasn't really it. Apparently, the doctors couldn't have saved her even with access to all the gold in Fort Knox.

I was crushed because I had been intolerant of someone whose choices I had no business rationalizing. I had allowed the bitterness of my own personal struggles to overshadow my default setting of generosity and acceptance. I had judged someone I don't know, and worse still judged her harshly in what I didn't know were her final hours.

The world doesn't need that kind of behavior. 
Be who you are without hurting others. 
Respect others as they are, as long as they're not hurting you.

My style subject, she's fully and firmly Christian. But she admires and several times replicates the style of women of another faith. It's one way to look at acceptance as a whole. We could do with large doses of that, here in Lagos, in Nigeria and certainly world over.

The current refugee situation in Europe also comes to mind, but that's entirely another story for another day.

I'll leave you with these words:

"Resolve to be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the wrong. Sometime in life you will have been all of these.”
― Lloyd Shearer, Walter Scott's Personality Parade




10.9.15

HAPPY NECESSITY.

Recently life has been a bit...unpredictable.

Before I moved back home, the life I lived in Scotland had the worst case unpredictability scenario possibly being your boiler bursting on you in the middle of a harsh winter (make no mistake, that situation can go from nerve-racking to critical in ten minutes). 
However if you had good insurance, all would inevitably be well.

Lagos is home. And by Jove I love being home. 

BUT.

There are too many surprises (many times unpleasant) lurking around, waiting to make you lose your faith in humanity and sometimes your own sanity.

There's almost no escaping these factors. Irrespective of your strata in society:
Lagos CAN be a jungle.

If you're blessed to have a good support system...family, or friends, or both, then life gets all that more bearable.

If these people are the kind that can make you laugh yourself silly and find enjoyment in the mundane, then consider yourself sorted.

I absentmindedly watched these three lovely ladies while conversing with my pal. Eventually I reached for my camera. 
Their consistent laughter was of the infectious variety. You couldn't help but smile along.
They ate, they laughed, they made serious faces for photos (cue social media lingo - #SelfieGameStrong), they checked out said photos and they laughed some more.

It was a delight.

Because happy is the new rich.



7.9.15

THE MALE FORM.

When fate intervenes...

... and hands you a very worthy male form, on a platter of black style dominance.

YES! 
 




"JAGA-JAGA".

I spotted her when she was parking her car and I waited. 
You see, sometimes, I can tell a stylish person from the way they drive.

My cousin Tosin who is more style infused than any other male I know, drives his car like it's a performing art.

My other cousin (name withheld for peace purposes) drives like a rebel without a cause, parks with reckless abandon and is generally a jaga-jaga driver.
Well...jaga-jaga is as jaga-jaga does.
His style is exactly that. Jaga-jaga.

On a whim, I just now googled the word and it's actually listed in the Urban Dictionary (Click HERE) as "a Nigerian slang for scattered or out of place".

This, she is not.

My prediction on the basis of her driving was spot on.

I should have been a psycologist.

Cheers :)




CROP.

In a world seemingly full of women with the mimetic desire for long, flowy hair extensions, it's always a right delight to spot a cropped hair-do.

Cute.

Cheers. 

 


SHOP MAJU.

I was having a very lazy Sunday yesterday. Just the way I like it. 
So much so that I almost forgot I was to attend this ShopMaju shopping party that had been circulating on social media.

Lagos coughs up all sorts of events. 
I've attended a "Fashion Cook-out", A "Painting Party" and now this. Nothing like these existed before I left 11 years ago and absolutely zilch of the sort in Scotland where I spent all those years. It's all eye-opening good fun.

Anyway, I attended. And I had an excellent time.

The number of stylish attendees were a pure delight for my Canon.
The creative director/owner/CEO of Shop Maju (her name is Maju by the way...points to anyone who cleverly guessed that) has such a genuinely accepting aura about her.
She personally handed us goodie bags and hugs. Now you must understand that at these events, things can and sometimes do get chaotic. So the personalized treatment is for me, worthy of mention. It left an impression.
The clothes were stunning and relatable.
Most importantly, the prices represented total value for money.

Do you know how rare it is to find a good quality, style infused line with several items priced as low as NGN3,500?

How do they do it?

This is Ozinna, their pleasant and vibrant Brand Manager. Made us all feel at ease. I'm not gushing too much here, am I? And if I am, it's from a place of honesty.

Her skirt is one from their new collection, and yet another fabulously priced item.

Ozinna riddle me this...how do you do it?!

Cheers.