at lagos fashion week, these menswear brands tackled gender fluidity head-on.

The 2018 edition of the Lagos Fashion Week A/W might be over but, over here at A Nasty Boy, we’re still in awe of some of the daring presentations made.

This year, while taking the minimalist road less traveled, fashion week took place at The Wings, Oando on Victoria Island, Lagos, with only 14 designers presenting their Autumn/Winter collections in an intimate setting to fashion enthusiasts. This is a far cry from the chaotic and exasperating ruckus associated with fashion shows of the past.

Photo Courtesy Orange Culture.

Nigerian designers shone brightly with each presentation, offering a piece of the designer through their art.
The relatively untouched topics of limits in gender fluidity and masculinity in the Nigerian sphere were tackled head-on by Maxivive and Orange Culture, two brands synonymous with non-conformity and lead by two men with beautiful stories to tell.

With “Raindrops and Tears” Orange Culture (OC) reiterated its desire to tear down social constructs on masculinity and say what we’ve been too timid to admit: boys cry too and yes, it’s okay.

The set was decorated with pieces from The Aga Concept, providing an African dystopian setting where men and women are allowed to just be. The models moved through the crowd while “How to be a Man” echoed in the background, drilling in the ways society continues to fail men by stifling their emotions.

With beautiful prints (something OC has proven its mastery of), bold colours, knit and Nakia-esque scarves, Orange Culture didn’t just show a collection of clothes, they told a story.

Photo courtesy Orange Culture.

Makeup is something that is still frowned upon in Africa when it comes to men. Orange Culture continued pushing the envelope by having all the models for this collection rock striking eye makeup, making it harder to distinguish between the male and female models. Vulnerability was a huge part of the collection, as the play on textures gave off the innate strength present when faux masculinity is wiped away.

With its showcase this year, Orange Culture proved its relevancy, creativity and most importantly its dedication to tearing down barriers, one tunic at a time.

A model at the Maxivive presentation. Photography by Kadara Enyeasi.

The biggest fight against the system, and probably the most daring presentation, came from Babatunde Oyeyemi’s Maxivive.

Where do we start? Aptly christened “Glistening,” his showcase featured a bath, glitter, curtain, and men in drag! The first look, where an almost unrecognizable male model with Marie Antoinette inspired hair, long red acrylic nails and a full face of makeup graced the stage, was the first taste of the drama to ensue.

With all the male models in drag and female models dressed as almost conventional men, the table of what men and women could do with their looks wasn’t shaken– it broke.

Maxivive, a brand known for its quirky construction, presented pieces that had you wondering about each complicated and intricate the detail on the piece in front of you. From tank tops to agbada-like pieces, each look was impeccably layered and well thought out.

Since its debut “Wet” collection in 2014, Maxivive has constantly challenged the contemporary man to push himself and embrace his queerness and unique beauty. You just can’t help but admire the balls on Mr. Oyeyemi, who has carved a niche for himself by constantly giving society the middle finger and creating pieces that speak to the man who isn’t afraid to live.

A model at the Maxivive presentation. Photography by Kadara Enyeasi.

Drag is not just a foreign concept associated with Logo TV and Todrick Hall, it is an art form slowly finding its voice on the African continent. Making this a part of its showcase, Maxivive is playing its part in stirring up necessary conversations. With each step taken by the creative community to voice its support and align itself with the marginalized minorities, the movement is strengthened.

In an ideal world, every boy and girl would have the freedom to express themselves any way they want to, without fear of repercussion from the society they’re a part of. Unfortunately, we are not in an ideal world and definitely not in an ideal open-minded country.

These designers, and many others including Sisiano Paolo of Sisiano poured their creativity into their collections and we are all the better for it. Lagos Fashion Week 2018 A/W was more than just a fashion show, it was a bold artistic experience which gave young Nigerians the opportunity to create their own world and, for a couple of hours, we had the pleasure to live in it.

Lagos Fashion Week 2018 ran from March 23rd – 25th in Lagos, Nigeria.

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