Dubai Expo 2020

From a celebrated sculptor to its award-winning singer, Wizkid, to some of its best fashion designers, Nigeria’s creative talent is set to be front and centre during the Arise Fashion Week (AFW) today at the Dubai Expo 2020.

Nigeria’s most celebrated designers will be set to the electrifying sound of Afrobeats sensation Wizkid against the backdrop of the world-renowned Burj Khalifa, surrounded by water fountains. The AFW promises guests a visual spectacle that will celebrate art, fashion and music made in Nigeria that are taking the world by storm.

Originally scheduled from 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021 and then postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Dubai Expo is from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.

The theme of the Expo is “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. The expo also has three subthemes: opportunity, mobility and sustainability each with its own pavilion.

Nigeria’s pavilion – located in the Opportunity category – features a lifesize sculpture of a majestic horse by Nigerian metal sculptor Dotun Popoola, who is renowned for “transforming trash to treasures, rubbish to rubies and waste to wealth” in a bid to save the ecosystem.

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Over 190 countries are taking part in the Dubai Expo 2020 and the Arise Fashion Week, in collaboration with the Dubai Expo 2020 Nigerian Pavilion and the Federal Ministry of Industry Trade and Investment, will be showcasing the best of African fashion designers and music at the expo.

Renowned designers will showcase their collections: Lisa Folawiyo, Ituen Basi, Banke Kuku, Onalaja, Tjwho, Lagos Space Programme, Huddaya. Long-term partner of Arise Fashion Week, Naomi Campbell will be making an appearance alongside other global celebrities.

For decades African fashion has been on the backburner of international fashion and Arise is committed to changing the narrative. AFW has been at the forefront of promoting and celebrating the next generation of African fashion designers and providing a platform for designers to showcase their work. Its award last year promoted 30 designers selected from a group of 150 talented designers. The whole ceremony was televised on ARISE News and streamed on ARISE Play. It was the first time ever that winners received monetary prizes. The winner Kenneth Ize received $100,000 cash prize while runners-up Ré Lagos and South African Mmuso Maxwell received $75,000 and $50,000 respectively.

The Nigerian and African fashion industry, like all other sectors of the economy, was negatively impacted by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic but the African Development Bank estimates that the African fashion business is worth $31 billion, which presents a huge opportunity for the business of fashion and the continent’s economy.