From the UN to the World Bank, hundreds of global institutions have released reports heralding Nigeria as one of the fastest consumer markets in the world. Chief among their desires? Fashion, music and...champagne! This past October we visited Lagos to meet the key personalities behind these industries, setting up at the site of Lagos Fashion & Design Week, held at Eko Hotel in Victoria Island. Between backstage fittings, front row shows and cocktail parties, we gathered a list of Lagos’ glitterati and commissioned three of the city's most dynamic photographers -- the veteran Kelechi Amadi-Obi, the new kid Lakin Ogunbanwo and Detroit boy-turned-Lagos regular, Nick Hagen -- to shoot 'em all. And although Nigeria has been in the news lately for its oppressive anti-gay legislation passed in the months following our visit and photo shoots, politics shouldn't overshadow the fact that the capital city is home to fabulous young people working to change, influence and impact the future of their country. In Part I of our Beautiful People: Lagos feature, meet seven people shaking up Lagos' fashion scene.
Beautiful People Lagos Pt. II: Fashion
Beautiful People Lagos Part II: Entertainment
Between running Hello! Nigeria Magazine and teaching fashion journalism at Syracuse University, Zandile is a multi-national multi-tasker. We'd like to think she honed those chops during her time as Paper's Women's Market Editor but the truth is, she's been werking it since day one.
What are the exciting fashion/nightlife/dining trends in Lagos right now?
The word I'd use is convergence. Fashion, nightlife and dining are continuously intersecting in the form of custom events like Butterscotch Evenings -- a fashion show, concert and dining experience all in one.
How would you describe Lagos style?
Houston socialite meets Atlanta housewife meets Vegas showgirl. Really.
In a few short years, Ogunbanwo has become the go-to photographer for global sites, brands and magazines including Vogue Italia.
How would you describe the style and attitude of the city?
The most fascinating thing about Lagos is that it's a city in a third world nation with first class people and gadgets. It's hot and completely alive.
How does Lagos inspire your work?
Visually, Lagos is busy, colorful, sometimes rough, which sometimes informs me to do almost the exact opposite in my work, which has clean backgrounds/scenery and calm visuals.
What projects are you currently working on now?
I'm working on a book on my exhibition Muse that is going on in Lagos right now. It'll be released sometime next year.
A long-time staple of the New York fashion scene, Ogunsulire has brought her skills back to her native Lagos where she's responsible for producing some of the city's best parties for M&C. As the world's second largest champagne market (behind Russia), she has her work cut out for her -- but something tells us she can handle it.
What do you find most inspiring about Lagos
The people. Although Lagos is a Yoruba town, it represents the entire country and you can find people from every tribe.
What have been some of your favorite parties you've produced?
My favorite was a toast and tribute to our Nobel Laureate Chinua Chebe after his death earlier this year. It was great to bring so many people and stories together to celebrate his life and legacy. Weddings are also fun -- they often have over 1000 people!
As Editor of Pride Magazine, Latasha connects, interviews, and features some of Lagos' most glittery movers-and-shakers.
How would you describe the modern Nigerian woman?
The modern Nigerian woman is a superhero -- beautiful, strong, hardworking, full of life.
What is the dating scene like in Lagos?
The dating scene is interesting to say the least because this is a city with a population of over 15million people. Literally, anything can happen! As a woman I wish the men would be more romantic and less "appreciative" of other women. As Africans, the place of a man in society is one of no wrongs. He is a King in his own right, which is great but I do wish he would devote his time to one Queen only and be more openly appreciative of her position in his life.
So what's a boy from Detroit doing in Lagos? Hagen made his home in the city six months ago, working as a photography fellow by day and a magazine photographer by night, both of which have earned him a devoted following from editors and celebrities.
What drew you to Lagos from Detroit?
The international photography festival, LagosPhoto was one of the first things that drew me to the city. I've found that Lagos and Detroit have a fair amount in common -- they are both pretty rough cities in a lot of ways. The people in both have to hustle extremely hard to make an existence for themselves. Both populations see the great potential there is as both cities are being built, or in Detroit's case, rebuilt from the ground up.
What is the nightlife scene in Lagos like?
Very club-oriented but one of my favorite places is this chill cafe and music venue Bogo Biri House. Greet music, beer and Wifi!
After leaving her post at Moët & Chandon as their first brand manager, Peterside has lent her talents to a myriad of companies from budding label Maki Oh (designed by another Lagos Beautiful Person!) to buzzy film "Half of a Yellow Sun," starring Thandie Newton and Chiwetel Ejiofor.
How would you describe the style and attitude of Lagos?
The style scene is all about energy and attitude attitude attitude! Everyone is doing their best to stand out from the crowd in what is probably the most crowded place on the planet! Lagosians are not afraid to be daring -- they wear bold combinations, clashing prints and flamboyant colors. It's almost as if the city's motto is "Wallflowers not welcome!"