Documenting the style-scape of Lagos, Nigeria

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30.3.16

BUY NIGERIAN - BRUNO ARTHUR FOOTWEAR.

Let me tell you something:

NIGERIA'S GOT TALENT!

Since I own this piece of internet real estate where I control my content, I have decided to give some time to worthy (and sometimes unsung) creatives who are viable beacons for the #BuyNigerian movement.

At an open market fair I attended recently, I walked around the stalls and my eye caught these comfy looking but stunning men's slippers (or sandals to my American friends). 

I struck up a conversation with the vendor, BRUNO ARTHUR and he told me they were a Nigerian brand. Nice. 
It was fully made in Nigeria. Even nicer.
The materials were sourced from the Nigerian market. I was sold.

The Hubs had to have a pair.

The real surprise was when he said the price was N5,000 (currently about $15). If you've tried to shop some Nigerian brands around Lagos, you'll appreciate my utter shock.

The thing is, we want to patronize you, we really do...but not at the cost of what we would get for 2, sometimes 3 of the same item if bought from lands far afield. 
I mean the other day, I saw a made-in-Nigeria decent but average looking pair of shorts in Lekki, priced at N32,000 (currently about $100).
Erm. NO.

For The Hubs birthday last August, one of my gifts to him was a pair of Louis Vuitton slippers. Even though I got them duty free from Heathrow, they still cost...well...quite a bit of dosh...but I was happy to spend that much because LV is a tested and trusted name who's operated since 1854 and will very quickly do almost any and every thing to protect the integrity of their brand.

The Nigerian "luxury" market on the other hand, haven't quite completely grasped the intricacies of brand integrity. If I buy your $100 shorts, you best believe it's not just about the sale. I expect a high level of service as well as after-sales care, where necessary. 
That should be the topic of another post. For sure.

So back to Bruno Arthur.

He didn't stock the right size for The Hubs (with his dear, dear size 45 feet) so Bruno promised to have them made and delivered in 3 days. 

He did. And they are cool. And the Hubs is suitably impressed. Wifey points upped!

Other than the quality of the item, another noteworthy aspect was the quality of service. This Bruno guy was the nicest, most attentive and most considerate dude throughout the process. 
Note to Bruno: You best stay this way even when you get all huge and famous!

Note to other unsung talents out there: 
This is my promise to you:

If I buy (yes buy! as I'm not out for any freebies here) your stuff and you meet an exceptional standard of a hybrid of a quality product, customer service consciousness and price viability, then I will sound the cymbals on every social media I got going. 
Only because you deserve it.

The social currency out there seems to be owned and spent by the same closed circle of a few names and faces in this town. 
Be qualitative. And I will "peacock" you to Nigeria and the world.

Cheers ma dears :)

 
On his way to a business trip, the slippers provided style and more importantly the comfort required for Lagos airport shenanigans.

He was wearing shorts and a tee. Essentially, the slippers can covert from dressy to casual in 60 seconds.




FA. FA. FABULOUS.

We met in University and became pals.

Back then, I was not known to gift someone a cake that simply said "Happy Birthday So-and-So". Nope. No banal existence for confectionery in my books!

If the cake was coming from me, the narrative had to be of rhythmic variety.

"Ify, Have A Spiffy Day"

"Wish You a Fly Day, Olaide"

That sort of cheesy thing...

Her name is Fafa. So on her birthday, the cake simply said"

"Fa, Fa, Fabulous!"

Apt.

Cheers :)






21.3.16

THE ADENIKE.

I had waves of delightful shock at randomly sighting THE ADENIKE live and very present as I passed by Hakeem Dickson Street in Lekki last Sunday. 

I mean, 'twas a mere 3 weeks ago we were chatting over some sexy Italian coffee on a tram halfway around the world at Milan's Via Montenapoleone.

The miles we've clocked baby! The Miles We Have Clocked!

Adenike was my savior in Milan. Without her there, I may have spent the entire 3 days wandering around with a map. I do not kid.

It may seem like I gush a lot but NO. I have met a bit too many quite a number of unpleasant sods in my lifetime. But my choice is try to spend as little time ruminating on them, both in the real and in the virtual world.

Adenike deserves my time though. She's a human beam!

Cheers. 



 

NIKKI & DERIN.

On Sunday, the Hubs and I went for some drive-by shooting at the opening of an upscale, highbrow, grab-it-if-you-can-dare-to-afford-it store in Lekki Phase 1, where I bumped into these two creatives.

NikkiAndTees. She's a model who I first spotted at last year's Lagos Fashion & Design Week and subsequently on the interwebs.

I recall her putting her dainty frame to such ambitious use that I subconsciously started looking forward to her appearance on the runway. She and another lovely lady called Uju Marshall. They both stirred up that particular brand of approving attention a dress-maker aspires to achieve at fashion shows.

What I'm really tryna say is she's cute and can wear the heck out of an outfit.

And Derin. Derin from Isale Eko. For non-Lagosians, Isale Eko literally means "Downtown Lagos". She runs a lifestyle BLOG where she dispenses cute outfit ideas accompanied by musings fluffed with quirk and wit.

What I'm really tryna say is I like her blog for her relatable style choices and you really should check it out when you have a moment. 

Enough said. 

Cheers. 



This photo shouldn't have made the cut. I don't know why my flash decided to show up in what was a suitably sunny day. But they liked it. So here it is :)
 

GENDER & EQUAL OPPORTUNITY BILL

This is she.

The woman who stood for women and proposed the Gender & Equal Opportunity bill to her peers in the Nigerian Senate.

The bill, titled “Gender Parity and Prohibition of Violence against Women”, was presented by this lovely lady after my heart, Senator (Mrs.) Abiodun Olujinmi.

The bill seeks equal rights for women in marriage, education and the workplace
Truth be told, I cannot believe this subject is even up for debate in 2016. 
How can we still be requesting our Senate to pass a bill allowing a widow in Nigeria to automatically become the custodian of her children in the event of the death of her husband? 

The bill didn't go through.

Apparently, several men believe women having equal rights and opportunities goes against the sensibilities of some religious and cultural spheres.
It's crazy.
Thankfully, a significant voice in the Continent shares a different sentiment -
"Gender equality is more than a goal in itself. It is a precondition for meeting the challenge of reducing poverty, promoting sustainable development and building good governance."
- Kofi Annan

And just in case pop culture floats your boat better, Beyonce has been quoted as saying:
"We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect so that as they grow up gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible."

The above philosophy is not the general consensus in Nigeria, sadly.

Irrespective of this, I have hope for this country.

Senator Olujinmi gives me hope. A lot of a lot of a lot of hope.

She is a great woman who was able to use her first opportunity to speak on a very worthy cause.

She's a woman who's been able to bring renewed vigor into a previously fledgling topic. 

She's been able to mark her name in gold for encouraging discourse on (hopefully) lasting change.

And ability has no gender. 

I was privileged to photograph her at her birthday party in December.

And this is she.

Cheers :) 


17.3.16

POWER COUPLE.

I once heard someone say this:

"Only in Law School would someone hit on you by saying 'we could be a power couple'."

Made me laugh hard. But I do like the idealism behind the term "Power Couple".

Enjoy.


SUNNY. IN MY COUNTRY.

A few days ago, I was snooping around the 'Gram and bumped into this account called SUNNY IN EVERY COUNTRY.

Catchy name; Pretty pictures.

On a whim, I arranged a meet-up with the beautiful and smart wanderluster-lady behind the account and we ended up having a short but sweet conversation along with a mini-shoot. 

**Side-note: Protea Hotel Kuramo is where I met up with Sunny. I know about the Protea hotel chain but never knew about this particular one because it's tucked away in the heart of Victoria Island. The serenity and island vibes I got from sitting out makes me think I might return for a proper experience.**

You see, I've visited 13 countries and smugly crowned myself the Queen Bee of Life's Expeditions, but Sunny... She's been to 30 countries and counting!

I appreciate that Nigeria may not be the typical country on the trail of the average backpacker, and for this reason it was absolutely fantastic to find this willing foreigner gracing us with her genuine desire to be positivist (and there's reason to be!) about my country.

Big personality in a cute little package, and she has style too.

I have no doubt she'll be featuring again soon on this ol' blog.

Cheers.









14.3.16

LONDON FASHION WEEKEND - LATE POST.

To all the bloggers who are excellent with the timeliness and scheduling of their posts, all I can say is "Bless Up!"

I will become as organized. Eventually.

So after London Fashion Week, there was Milan Fashion Week, and then I came back to London and there was London Fashion Weekend.

The world of fashion week-ing is a busy one.

This was smaller scale but significant nonetheless. Best part was, the venue Saatchi Gallery was a walking distance from my London pad. What excuse could I possibly have had for not taking some street style photos for you?

And late as they may be, here they are.

You know, when I was photographing her, I kept thinking she looked familiar. Fast-forward to my return to Lagos and I was tagged in her photo. Turns out, I actually met and spoke her at the Lagos Fashion & Design Week. I recall her being this effervescent personality with a microphone, conducting interviews and being very present in her own style statements. I always cheer for a woman holding her own. She holds her own.




C'est Charles! One of the coolest cats London livin' :)



Absolutely loved their fierce entry. You had no choice but to notice these beauties.



Luckily for me, I was able to get a photo of them in "formation". Genuinely beautiful ladies.

I was just basically in awe of this lovely lady and her disregard for the Baltic conditions.

And that's all folks!






12.3.16

CHIEF MRS. NIKE - QUEEN!

I got a visit today from one of my delightful blog followers and fellow blogger, Janet Ekpo.

She's been a keen reader from the beginning so it was only a matter of time before we met up.

And what a meet up it was.

She chose the Nike Art Gallery and you must know I'm already a huge fan of the building, its contents and its owner who sadly, I'd never met until today!

This woman is fire! This woman is soul! This woman is real art!

I've said this before and I'll say it again. If you're in the Lagos area, please do yourself an artsy favor and go see this amazing Gallery. 

Maybe one day I'll be able to show you the amazing art on display (photography is not typically permitted), but for now, have a look at this gorgeous woman in her Queenly element.

She dressed Janet and I in beads. 

Oh man! She's beautiful!

And Janet, it was beyond lovely to meet you. 





The lovely Janet, the gorgeous Chief Mrs. Nike Ogundare, and a typically giggly me.





Janet and Chief Mrs Ogundare. Janet is going to do great things in Art & Design...you heard it here first!





10.3.16

AFRICA HYPE MARKET.

So last Sunday which also happened to be Mothers' Day (so a warm hug to all mums in any capacity out there!), I checked out the Africa Hype Market. 

I found it out through Instagram.
It was advertised as a periodic, pop-up open market that holds at Muri Okunola Park in Lagos.
Its focus is on helping to build brands of local SMEs. 
I was sold. 

Got there and what I met was this:

It's a family event as there were kid-themed activities which could leave Mom and Dad some decent shopping time.
There was some soothing live music and a DJ.
There was food (the holy grail of all Nigerian events really).
There was excellent family-friendly hydration from Limehouse Bars (my boys went ham on them!)
And there were vendors and stalls with pretty cool pretty things.
The vibe was generally easy breezy.

My attendance motive: Buy Nigerian and hunt for street style.

I did a bit of both.

I'll share my #BuyNigerian goodness in a later post. 

Cheers ma dears :)






































Side note: If any of the Vendors is reading this, can I ask a favor? Can you endeavor to be a bit more interactive with the attendees at events like these? While I appreciate that striking up a conversation with absolute strangers may not be everyone's comfort zone, the thing is...you're there to sell a product. People are more likely to buy a product from an engaging vendor than one who doesn't acknowledge their presence enough to say a little "Hi" with a little smile.

The End.