GTBank Fashion Weekend

By Yusuf Mohammed

GTBank Fashion show has become a flag-ship fashion event in the continent and is now eagerly awaited and attended by enthusiastic designers, models and patrons. The fourth edition that held last weekend was an event that Nigerians from all walks of life would not forget in a hurry.

During the event which brought participants from all over the world to converge in Lagos, it has indeed become the biggest fashion event in Africa. This year’s event had more people in attendance than previous editions. Thousands of Nigerians looked forward to the just concluded edition of this event because of the success of the first three editions.

The venue was at the GTCentre, Plot 1, Water Corporation drive, Oniru, Victoria-Island, Lagos. It was a very colorful event that lasted two days, between November 8 and November 9. From Eko Hotel to the venue, it was obvious for everyone to see that there was something very big happening in Lagos that weekend.

The exhibition hosted hundreds of fashion designers across 2,400m2 of exhibition space within the centre.

Attendance was free so it gave room for thousands of Nigerians to get a view of many styles in display.  Another attraction was free wi-fi. As soon as you are at the venue you could connect your phone to the internet and browse for free.

The bank’s annual fashion event is an exhibition and sales event that aims to project the diverse angles of the fashion industry by connecting various businesses involved in the production and sale of clothing items to a cosmopolitan audience of fashion enthusiasts. In short, it was all about promoting enterprise.

This year’s GTBank Fashion weekend featured master classes, runway shows, dye presentations and popup shops. This event connected small businesses to a wider audience of consumers as well as their peers at home and abroad whilst providing learning opportunities for business owners and consumers.

Last year’s event featured great designers like Ejiro Amos Tafiri, Gert Johan-Coetzee, Laquan Smith, among others who wowed the crowd with stunning pieces from their Spring/Summer 2019 collections. Last week event started with a master-class from several fashion industry experts that educated the audience.

The designers that displayed their designs on the runway on Day 1 are three ASFOUR, Odio Mimonet, Mantsho, Haus of Stone, Style Temple, Nkwo, Tzar Studios, Thula Sindi, Lezanne Viviers.

The event was so huge that Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote attended. In fact, his attendance was the major highlight of Day one. His presence signified how big the event was.

Some other dignitaries on the night were, Managing Director, GTBank, Mr. Segun Agbaje; Publisher ThisDay Newspaper, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena; Business woman and fashion enthusiast, Bola Shagaya and many more.

Day 2 featured Huishan Zhang, Imane Ayissi, Ituen Basi, Sukeina, Fruche, Mafi Mafi, Studio 189, Lanre DaSilva Ajayi, LaQuan Smith. The consumer-focused fair and free business platform succeeded in showcasing some of Africa’s finest designs to a global audience.

Attendees at the fashion weekend were treated to an exciting collection of fashion moments like fashion and entrepreneurial master classes as well as fashion retails.

The classes were facilitated by renowned fashion experts while the enthralling runway shows as well as a craft village made the event a hit.

The fashion Master-classes provided fashion entrepreneurs the unique opportunity to learn from global industry leaders and experienced brands. The series covered topics addressing challenges and opportunities across the entire industry value chain including: Entrepreneurship, Growth & Profitability, Retailing, and several others.

Kelvin Ezike, one of the vendors, owner of Zikel-makeup was excited about how the event turned out. He said, “So far it has been a very successful event. I made many sales on day 1 but today (Day 2) I have made more sales. More people patronized us on Day 2.

Asked how he was selected, he said, “I applied online like everyone else. The thing is that you have to have a GTBank account before you apply

Shola Kalejaiye owner of Davide Weji, a designer dealing with premium clothes and accessories spoke to Business Hallmark about the fashion weekend.

She said, “I have not missed any edition. I am here every year. I thank GTBank for giving this exposure. Since I attended the first edition, my business has not remained the same.

Pointing to her shoes, she said, “Look, almost all the bags I brought are empty. I have made mores sales here in a day than I make in two days in my shop. People have also collected my card, promising to patronize me in the future. Once again, I give thanks to GTBank.”

In a similar vein, Karen Ayuba a designer who owns Tessa Becca hailed the bank for this event. While this vendor was speaking with Business Hallmark, she was attending to several fashion enthusiasts.

Speaking of the master class, she said “I am amazed by the skills of the foreign stylists. They do not have big reputations for nothing. I saw with my two eyes what makes them special. They make it look so easy. I have really had the fun of my life. I wish to be here again next year.”

Based on the positive reviews about this year’s event, it is obvious that Nigerians surely cannot wait for another GTBank Fashion Weekend.

Commenting on the 2019 GTBank Fashion during a press conference before the event, Group head, corporate communications and external affairs of the bank, Ms. Oyinade Adegite said that “The biggest thing is to see how the businesses and brands can actually open up.

“We have done all the set-up and everything is provided free of charge by the bank. People are passionate about being in that space to meet hundreds and thousands of people that will come over the two-day period. For anyone who has a business, that is where they should be,” she said.