Wednesday 26th August

| BY Paul Toner

From Lagos to the World: Browns Fashion Joins Forces With Homecoming Festival

Homecoming is about to kick off its first-ever digital festival, and boy, you’re in for a treat. Created by Metallic Inc, the annual event celebrates Nigerian artistry and its influence on the global fashion, music and overall creative spectrum. Originally set to take place back in April, Homecoming has been forced to move to an online-only event. Over the next three days, you will be able to livestream educational talks, workshops and performances from various industry experts. This Homecoming iteration is particularly special, however, as the festival has teamed up with Browns Fashion, who will stock a selection of Nigerian and international Homecoming-aligned brands both online and in its store in Shoreditch.

The stellar line-up includes everyone from Off-White, Ambush and Casablanca, to Fashion East graduate Mowalola and skatewear brand Motherlan. A re-occurring theme that surrounds each of the incredible Nigerian talents involved is an overall appreciation for local craftsmanship and traditional techniques. From Tokyo James, who subverts Saville Row sensibilities with traditional African fabrics and silhouettes, to Post-Imperial, a brand exploring the African diaspora – each designer cultivates a sense of community around their clothes.

Such brands will be celebrated in a limited-edition E-zine curated by Metallic Inc Studio, which features a series of collages from Moses Adesanya and an Nollywood-inspired editorial story courtesy of Ruth Ossai and 10 family member Ola Ebiti, seen throughout. As the festivities kick-off today, and the fantastic fashions arrive at Browns East, we caught up with four creatives to see what makes them excited about Homecoming and the future of Nigerian fashion.

Grace LaDoja MBE – Founder of Metallic Inc. and Homecoming 

Why did you want to start Homecoming?

“We wanted to create a unique exchange with Nigeria and the rest of the world around music, fashion, art and sport, and platform local talent. We wanted somewhere creativity is supported and also an entry point for creative Nigeria’s in the diaspora to go home and connect with creatives in Nigeria though a more independent lens.”

What are some of your fondest memories of being in Nigeria?

“When you touch down in Lagos just feel home, it’s such a special feeling.”

What makes the Nigerian creative scene so unique and where do you see the future of Nigerian fashion?

“There are so many local references from music, fashion, traditions crafts, the Yoruba religion, Nollywood and Nigerian Horror, to name a few. Creativity stems from creating narratives around things you know, so there are going to be so many incredible ideas and concepts coming from Nigerian creatives and designers.”

Ola Badiru and Jimmy Ayeni – Founders of Vivendii

Why did you want to take part in the Homecoming project?

“We shared a similar viewpoint in the fact that we felt there was something special growing in our space that needed to be shared with the world.”

What are some of your fondest memories of being in Nigeria?

“Chilling with our friends and catching a vibe. Our fondest memories are built with friends and family. I think the more interesting question would be what are our most interesting moments in Nigeria. We could write a book on the comedy that goes on.”

What makes the Nigerian creative scene so unique and where do you see the future of Nigerian fashion?

“We were born inside frustration and limitations. Growing and creating when you have disadvantages leads to the creation of pure magic!”

Tokyo James – Founder of Tokyo James

What are some of your fondest memories of being in Nigeria?

“The chaos is magical, there is so much happening all at the same time. So much energy, colour, smell and so many different types of people. It’s such a welcoming place for me, it’s home away from home.”

What makes the Nigerian creative scene so unique?

“The creative scene in Nigeria has a particular boldness. The designers’ ability to create and do what they do at such high standards without much support is truly amazing. There is such purity in the work they create and thus redefining what it means to create from Nigeria. The energy in their work hasn’t been diluted as a result of commercial cooperate consumption for the masses.”

Where do you see the future of Nigerian fashion?

“I believe that Nigerian fashion is taking centre stage, not just Nigeria but Africa in general. The future of Nigerian fashion and designers alike, I believe, will become household names internationally.”

Niyi Okuboyejo – Founder of Post-Imperial

Why did you want to take part in the Homecoming project?

“Post-Imperial is a brand rooted in mythology connected to the African diaspora and humanization of materials as it relates to sustainability, and this lends a unique perspective in defining African fashion. We believe in community as well as collaboration and Homecoming harbours a platform that merges both and encompasses that space for African designers.”

What are some of your fondest memories of being in Nigeria?

“Growing up in Lagos, attending 10-year-old birthday parties was a marquee event, similar to a bat mitzvah or quinceanera. Parents threw massive parties for their kids; there was food, games, gifts, entertainment, and of course, my favourite part – dancing competitions. I was quite the dancer, so naturally, I usually won. Preparation often involved days of practising severe dance moves for any and every genre of music they threw at us. I once lost a competition where the music switched suddenly from Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, to Shina Peters – the King of Afro-Juju. I was still in Michael Jackson mode and I couldn’t switch as quickly as I wanted to. I refused to lose another competition after that.”

Where do you see the future of Nigerian fashion?

“I see parallel opportunities within the future of Nigerian and African fashion, where the craft can exist on multiple planes simultaneously. It can be a big machine that serves the diaspora and beyond, and it can be a niche ecosystem that serves itself and other niche markets. It can be all these things at once, and that is what we should work towards for it to persevere.”

Ola Ebiti – Stylist 

Why did you want to take part in the Homecoming project?

“I was excited to be included because I am a big fan of Ruth and her depiction of Nigeria and Nollywood.”

What makes the Nigerian creative scene so unique?

“I think it’s very unique because we are experiencing such a radical time; the younger generation is rejecting every ideal expected of them and negotiating their future on their own terms.”

Where do you see the future of Nigerian fashion?

“I see Nigerian fashion and its influence growing wider because it represents a new source of references, inspiration and outlooks for fashion.”

Photographs by Ruth Ossai, Styling by Ola Ebiti.

Homecoming digital festival 2020 takes place until August 29th here. You can shop Homecoming designers at Browns East in Shoreditch and on Browns Fashion’s website.

outhomecoming.com