Supermodel and businesswoman Naomi Campbell is in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial capital, for Arise Fashion Week, an event she’s backed since its launch in 2018.
This season, the main attraction is the “30 Under 30: The New Stars” competition, a showcase of work by emerging designers who will present collections in livestreamed catwalk shows and compete for a grand prize worth $500,000.
“The stuff I’ve seen so far, I’m really happy with,” Naomi said in an interview with Telegraph.
“Although this has been a pandemic and a time of loss and sadness for many, it’s also been a time of people really using their minds and being so creative.”
“I was very happy to come here and to be here for Arise and for these young designers. This is what I care about. I’m thrilled that it worked out.”
Designers participating in 30 Under 30 include Bibi, Lagos Space Programme, Ghetto and Elfreda Dali and Kenneth Ize.
Ize, a 2019 LVMH Prize finalist and Arise’s designer of the year, creates vibrant, handwoven designs drawing on the artistry and expertise of weavers at his factory in Ilorin, in Western Nigeria. Campbell walked in his Arise-winning show and has become one of Ize’s highest-profile champions.
“I feel great wearing Kenneth’s designs. They’re authentic, they feel easy, I feel like I’m wearing the clothes and can put my own spin on it. I love that he uses the authentic artisan way of making his clothes and making his culture modern for the world,” she said.
Campbell’s ambition is for the world to know a fashion week roster’s worth of African designers.
“I want to see the fashion world embrace African designers and all these young designers from emerging markets. They need to be accepted and given a platform.
“Whatever I can do to help make that happen, that’s why I’m here, that’s what I’ll do.”
ARISE FASHION WEEK is held virtually and streamed to a global audience from December 5-12, 2020.