Can you define fashion? It’s art, right?
Cosmas Akhere: What is fashion? what is art? We can use those words interchangeably. Fashion is art, it’s the most important form of art. It expresses a feeling, an emotion. I can deduce/label a personality from your garb, but more so, it sends a message of a state of mind, it addresses the political and social climate of the world. Fashion is life, it’s more real than love.
More real than love?
Cosmas Akhere: Oh yes, don’t you think? We see fashion everywhere, it’s on the street, in the market places, it’s ubiquitous. Love? It’s something rare, I’m still in search for my Halley’s Comet. What more could be said? Pop culture wouldn’t exist without fashion, you see it is the backbone of life itself. We wouldn’t be having the interview if fashion wasn’t real.
What is fashion in Lagos?
Cosmas Akhere: It’s a tad difficult to describe it. Its intertwined between Nigerian cultural diversities and very much Eurocentric. But if I could use a word, ill say ‘freedom’ it’s a fashion scene that clamors for freedom. It is in the phase of discovery, everyone is truly in a race to understand themselves in relation to an innate culture which itself is diversed as well. It lacks a definite structure and I’d view that as a pro, this gives room for creative freedom, at least for now. What fascinates me is our love for fashion and raw views to it.
How would you define style as a new age mind?
Cosmas Akhere: Man I love that term NEWAGE. It feels like something groundbreaking is about to happen. Well, style is a personal approach to fashion, it’s a transient approach having a promiscuous relationship with the clothes or you could be the SAMO lover, never changing.
It’s going to be rude if I don’t talk about your fashion house Pith and your first “mini-collection” as you say, called “Dilly 1″. Take us into that.
Cosmas Akhere: Ha! alright. Dilly, I was a rendition of my conviction as an autodidact artist creating from a third world country with no verifiable fashion aesthetics that induces a lucid and stellar idea of a growing fashion narrative. It was my first attempt to create clothes and it was a critical phase of self-discovery as It was my intention to explore the fashion scene through my African ethos without restrictions to the normalities of African fashion. It was a moment of radical acceptance that set a moodboard for the mini-collection. It reminded me of the need for the acceptance of the black skin. Although the black skin is sometimes associated with being weak, ugly, outcast, unconscious and Primitive, it is actually a reflection of mental attitude; an attitude that portrays strength compassion, beauty, intelligence, willpower and so on. It’s about seeing past the former and the acceptance of life we envisioned for ourselves in line with our present growth trajectory. In the creation of dilly I, we aimed to express ourselves within our form and environment. Which explains why the mini-collection juxtaposes our skin in relation to our broken society. An array of disassembled woodwork was a major component of the backdrop. which lays emphasis on the realities of a broken society and the poverty that clings within. Our skin is black so we use this as our first inspiration, our first color range of garment taste to display our form. We used a range of brown microsuede fabric. which exemplifies our skin as luxury. The pieces were crafted with a break from the norm-defying both gender and fashion views of Africans, we showcased a bold elegant woman of conscious taste and an ambitious heart alongside a confident man with a curious understanding of his world. We combine different pieces ranging our “rough cut trench”, to our “free flow pants”.
Womenswear or Menswear?
Cosmas Akhere: Menswear, womenswear, it’s all the same thing, it’s clothing. Although I love the female body and how every part is intricate, the curves and contours, all necessary for a design. The human body itself is a work of art. It is important that we focus on that.
Future of African fashion?
Cosmas Akhere: Africa is where the new fashion revolution lies, for this to be an actual paradigm shift, two things need to happen. First, we need to realize that we are in a discovery phase and we need to look inward to discover ourselves as one solidarity. We need to surf through our cultures and truly reflect stellar representations of what is, not a facade of our reality. We should understand that whatever love this white guys show to us is because they know the revolution has begun and they will seek to divide it from within. And secondly, we should seek to define this cultural changes ourselves. Record every moment, every spark of change or movement, or anything, the difference between now and 40 years back is that we have started paying attention. We need to document this shit, we need a footing to build the next revolution.