Home » FEATURES » Feature: Our Exclusive Chat With The Mysterious Genius Behind Lagos Street Style

Feature: Our Exclusive Chat With The Mysterious Genius Behind Lagos Street Style


Chic stylish scenes discovered by  Lagos Street Style

Chic stylish scenes discovered by Lagos Street Style

 

Loving Lagos

 

By: Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé

Toronto, Canada

 

 

“Lagosians just do it better,” boasts Buzzfeed’s Bim Adewunmi.

 

And it’s true.  The evidence is in with Lagos Street Style, a new blog capturing the vibrant and eclectic street styles of the Nigerian city’s fashionistas.

 

The blog, profiled in Buzzfeed and counted among Black Fabulousity’s favourite things of 2014, will give your heart a “quick spin,” and capture the imagination like nothing else.  Whether it’s the church-going young man in the electric tangerine suit; the modern reimagining of the traditional Yoruba iro and buba in shades of lemon, lime and eggplant; or the effortless cool of a Lagosian Lovely in her bright flowered crop top and snake-skin pants, looking fresh on her bicycle, Lagos Street Style excites and enchants.

 

 

"Looking Fresh" as captured by Lagos Street Style

“Looking Fresh” as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

 

Penned anonymously by a Nigerian “lawyer/photographer/blogger/wife/mother,” Lagos Street Style offers fierce street style and glamour, but beyond its insights into Lagosians’ finely-turned sartorial tastes, the blog offers perspectives into the lives of the women and men behind the threads.

 

In This Woman’s Work, one fashionista in a pink and white print dress poses for the camera.  “Such a lady, such a beauty,” writes Lagos Street Style.  “But please do not mistake her for being only this.  (…) In these photos, she’s on her way to work. She’s a Structural Engineer in the big bad world of oil and gas, and she’s good at it and she loves it.”

 

And for an au-naturel beauty, who “always rocks some beautiful sewn-in locks,” Lagos Street Style reminds us that a woman is more than her hair, her face and her style – “not this hair, not this skin, but the soul that lives within” – writing, “When I found her au naturelle, with her amazingly face-fitting crew cut on display…I gushed over her hair for a bit. With a gracious smile, she was quick to tell me, she’s not her hair.  She’s just she.”

 

Breezy Couple by Lagos Street Style

“Breezy Couple” by Lagos Street Style

 

"Orange Suit Guy" as captured by Lagos Street Style

“Orange Suit Guy” as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

 

In Stereotypes, the blog challenges a critic who felt that Lagos Street Style is an elitist representation of Nigeria’s affluent: “How will we enlighten Mr. Sullivan and elucidate that it’s part of our culture to dress up and show up…and sometimes we go over the top but it’s our way of life and we love it?  Who’s going to whisper in his ear that a lot of us actually get our clothes hand made as there are so many dressmakers with charges ranging from cheap-and-cheerful to you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me … and there’s a dressmaker for almost every pocket? Really, I need someone to tell him that stereotypes lose their power when the world is found to be more complex than the stereotype would suggest.”

 

Cheeky, and à propos!  And in an interview with Ramp1885, the mysterious author of Lagos Street Style discusses the new blog’s success and what it’s like to profile Nigerian fashion.

 

 

"Red Suit Guy" as captured by Lagos Street Style

“Red Suit Guy” as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

 

How did you get your start?

 

My start came from my recognition that my love for photography doesn’t correspond to my level of skill at it. So I bought a beginner’s ADSL camera. What quickly followed was me photographing people whose style I found to be eye-catching expressions of individuality. Along the way, I bumped into Scott Schuman’s site, The Sartorialist, and I was inspired. Street style blogging was birthed in me.

 

Why are you choosing to be anonymous?

 

This question elicits a smile because I genuinely didn’t “choose” anonymity. Some people know who’s behind the blog, others are blissfully unaware. Either way works perfectly fine for me. Wait…Pause…  It just occurred to me that even you, Isabelle, don’t know who I am. Actually this anonymity could be good fun.

 

Gorgeous prints as captured by Lagos Street Style

Gorgeous prints as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

Fantastic silver shoes as captured by Lagos Street Style

Fantastic “silver shoes” as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

 

What’s the best part about Nigerian fashion?

 

It’s easily the diversity. The country in itself is so diverse in language, religion, ethnicity, cultural practices and even physiognomy; so you can imagine how varied the sense of style is around here. An offshoot of this diversity is the unabashed use of color for outfits. There are no rules, the bolder, the better. And I absolutely love it!

So the short answer to your question about the best part of Nigerian fashion is – the colorful diversity.

 

What is the standard reaction from people you photograph?

 

I’m pleasantly surprised to find that most people I ask, are happy to have their photos taken and to brave the hot sun for those extra few minutes till I’ve got the shots I need. As for the candid pictures, where I don’t ask, they get to find out quickly enough through the power of social media. The reactions are so far have been very reassuring. I’m hoping for continuity :)

 

Fantastic colours as captured by Lagos Street Style

Fantastic colours as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

"Turbanista" colour blocks with brilliance as captured by Lagos Street Style

“Turbanista” colour blocks with brilliance as captured by Lagos Street Style

 

 

What are some of the other street style blogs you love?

 

Ah! The Sartorialist is my all time inspiration and favorite. Scott Schuman is a force. I enjoy the visuals of Stockholm Street Style; the photography is fantastic and the people captured are excellently styled. The Expressionist, a South African blog, has become my new delight. It’s completely partial to the unapologetic creative crowd. The photographer is mad! And I won’t have him any other way. There are others I visit as well, Street Peeper, The Locals, Toronto Verve. The entire street style community is committed to exhibiting beauty on the streets; it’s nice.

 

All truly, very, very nice.

Follow Lagos Street Style on Instagram @Lagos_StreetStyle and on Facebook.

 

*Isabelle Bourgeault-Tassé is a writer, budding world traveler, and explorer of the ateliers of fashion artisans around the world. She tweets @Isabelle_BT and blogs at isabellebourgeault-tasse.tumblr.com.

 

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