Added by on August 1, 2014

A Conversation With Lexy Mojo-Eyes, Founder Of Nigerian Fashion Week By Ntumba Mukendi

Lexy’s extensive experience and historical background:

Lexy Mojo Eyes has been the vanguard and a major catalyst in the Nigerian and African fashion Industry. He introduced the first major fashion event in Nigeria, The Nigeria Fashion Show. He began by re-orientating Nigerian designers to look inward for all local fabrics, accessories, and designs in their production lines. According to Lexy ‘’If we wish to successfully compete globally in the world stage, then we must look inward for inspiration in our production lines.”

lexyToday, unlike years back, every Nigerian designer uses mainly locally assembled materials. Lexy’s initiative has inspired the past, present, and future generations of designers from this part of the world.

The first Nigeria Fashion Show was held in 1997 and it was a grand success. Since then, it’s been held annually until date. In 2000, Lexy took 10 Nigerian top designers to its first international edition of the Nigeria Fashion Show in Paris. From Paris, the event moved on to Milan, New York, Stockholm, Tel Aviv, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. He even got the wife of Nigeria’s former President, late Chief  (Mrs) Stella Obasanjo as grand patron of the Nigeria Fashion Show.

In December 2003, Lexy signed a franchise contract in Paris with the international global television channel, Fashion TV. This gave birth to The Nigeria Model Awards, which has the goal of creating opportunities for young Nigerian girls who want to build a career in the international modelling industry.

In his quest to create new opportunities for prospective models, he signed a new contract in 2004 with New York-based Ford Models. This secures a Nigerian representative at the Ford Supermodel of the World contest which comes up annually in New York.

In 2005, he was appointed by the Nigerian Government through the Federal Ministry of Information and Communications to produce fashion shows as part of the Heart of Africa Project. For this project, he produced fashion shows in Washington DC, Atlanta, and Houston.

nfwIn 2007, Lexy got Nigeria endorsed by the World Fashion Organization as one of the countries to participate in the World Fashion Week. He got appointed into the International Committee of the World Fashion Organization in 2008. Due to his immeasurable contribution to the growth and development of the Fashion industry in Africa, in 2010, he was appointed as the only African on the Board of Governors of World Fashion Organization.

He produced and directed Nigeria/South African Bi-National Commission Fashion & Music show tagged « Fashionably Loud », held at the banquet hall of the state house in Abuja. It was organized for the Office of the Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and broadcast by MTV Base. In attendance was the Vice President of both countries.

Lexy was also invited to Perth Australia, in September 2011, where he addressed the International Fashion Incubators Conference.

He was then invited to the United Nations, in New York City in March 2012, where he addressed guests with the topic “Empowering Rural Creative Women through Enterprise Development & Global Fashion Opportunities”.

He was also invited in October 2012 to address a forum at the Fashion Institute of Technology of the New York State University.

His company, Legendary Gold Limited, owns and organises The Nigeria Fashion Show, the Nigeria Fashion Week, the Nigeria Fashion Awards, the Nigeria Model Awards, and their new initiative – Africa Fashion Reception which is put together in collaboration with the World Fashion Organization.

Since he became the only African on the Board of Governors of the World Fashion Organization, he has continuously used his position in the world’s fashion governing body to the advantage of Africa.

One of such occasions was when he convinced the World Fashion Organization to approve Nigeria to host the Africa Fashion Reception of the World Fashion Week at the prestigious Salle Wagram, Paris last June 2013.

The goal of the Africa Fashion Reception is to use fashion as a vehicle to eradicate poverty in Africa by empowering African women through training, capacity building schemes, workshops, and setting up of small and medium scale businesses in the various fashion vocations. This initiative is targeted at increasing self reliance and wealth creation through creating millions of jobs across the continent.

The Africa Fashion Reception aims to build bridges by creating free trade and partnerships among participating African countries and to draw the attention of the world to Africa’s very rich and diversified dress culture which can be explored as a catalyst for the socio-economic growth of the continent’s garment & textile industry.

Q & A
At the scale and level at which I am involved in the fashion industry, my schedules are generally very tight. I travel a lot around the world. This is most especially as a member of the Board of Governors of the World Fashion Organization. My schedules became even tighter with the introduction of our latest event – Africa Fashion Reception which was launched in Paris last year. Despite all these tight schedules, I still try to strike a balance with the family.

Our first event was the Nigeria Fashion Show (NFS) and it was introduced in 1996. It was the vanguard in the Nigerian fashion industry. It was through it that we reoriented the fashion scene. The NFS encouraged Nigerian designers to look inward for all local fabrics, accessories and designs with the goal of creating marketing for such clothing items. The NFS was a national platform for Nigerian designers alone. So we had to create a bigger platform for both local and international designers. And that was how Nigeria Fashion Week was born. The next edition takes place in November this year in Lagos. And the Special guest international designer this year is Agatha Ruiz de la Prada.

The Nigeria Fashion Week contributes immeasurably to the growth and development of the Nigerian garment and textile industry. It serves as a platform for small and medium scale business in the various fashion vocations to connect with buyers both locally and internationally.

The ‘Going Green’ theme continues this year. It is a series. The last edition of the NFW was ‘Going Green 2’. This year’s is ‘Going Green 3’. It is part of our contribution in drawing attention to climate change issues.

About Ntumba Mukendi
Congolese born Ntumba Mukendi is a fashion designer (www.ntumbantumbadesign.com), fashion commentator, creator and contributor of the Sahara Reporter Fashion Blog and founder of the fashion-based organization ntumba.ntumba apparel (www.ntumbantumba.org) which promotes gender-empowerment.

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