LAGOS, Nigeria -- In collaboration with Africa's hottest emerging design talent, Lulu Mutuli and Azra Walji, global beer brand, Heineken® (www.TheHeinekenCompany.com) has launched its first-ever African fashion collection, unveiled on the catwalk of the closing show at Lagos Fashion and Design Week on Saturday 28 October 2017.
The initiative is the next chapter in Heineken's 'Open Design Explorations', a global co- creation programme that connects emerging creatives and gives them a platform to showcase their talent. The Heineken® Africa Inspired Collection is a fusion of the two designers' concepts and is the first of many design apprenticeships that the brand will roll out across the world, going next to Asia.
After spending a week in Amsterdam developing their designs at top Dutch Fashion House, LEW (www.LeemansenWicker.nl), Mutulo and Walji will go on to benefit from a year-long programme of coaching from the designers, known for eye-catching print design and innovative corporate fashion. The designs will be produced at scale across Africa to be worn by Heineken ambassadors throughout Nigeria, East Africa and beyond.
One of the first global brands to invest in Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Heineken has been a headline sponsor for the past two years as it emerges as one the most important events in the fashion calendar for supporting new talent and inspiring Nigerian and African consumers.
Lulu Mutuli, 24, whose work gives traditional African apparel a futuristic edge, has worked in top fashion houses in New York including RHIE and OMONDI. She said, "My designs took inspiration from the role African fashion has played in the culture of my country. Combining this rich heritage with the progressive character of the Heineken brand was a challenge I couldn't resist. I used the bold Heineken colour palette, but I added a grey tone and used technical orientated patterns for a modern twist. The asymmetric shapes you can see were a way of incorporating practical elements whilst creating striking and stylish silhouettes."
Azra Walji, 27, is known for her feminine shapes and African inspired elegance, reflected in her winning designs with Heineken. She said, "I am so grateful to Heineken. Sharing my work at Lagos Fashion at Design Week is a career-defining opportunity. I really enjoyed playing with the bold red and green colours -- they are so iconic to the brand but also synonymous with the vibrancy of Africa. My designs are inspired by traditional African apparel but with a twist -- I love the modern femininity of the trousers and short dresses."
Mark van Iterson, Director Global Heineken® Design said, "Identifying and empowering talent remains a critical part of our global agenda. We are constantly seeking new co- creation opportunities, to connect with young emerging designers and give them a global stage to showcase their talent, so we are delighted that this initiative has put a spotlight on such talent. Nigeria is a growing hub for creativity and commerce and Lagos Fashion and Design Week is helping to influence and define the global fashion landscape. Heineken® in Nigeria was one of the first global brands to invest in this vibrant event, seeing the opportunity to support new industry talent with real experience and a global stage. We look forward to extending the programme to other key markets next year."
The new Heineken® African Inspired Collection with Mutuli and Walji launched in style at Heineken Lagos Fashion and Design Week, with items from the collection displayed in style on the runway. After the reveal, award-winning music star, Tiwa Savage, of Jay-Z's label Roc Nation, took to the stage to perform international hits including 'African Waist' and 'All Over' live for a star-studded line up of guests as award-wining flair bartender Tom Dyer served cocktails during the event.
Lagos Fashion and Design Week 2017 is a multiday fashion extravaganza at the Eko Atlantic, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, where global designers including Maki Oh (whose fans include Michelle Obama and Beyoncé) take centre stage to celebrate African fashion and culture. The judges for Heineken's Africa Inspired Fashion challenge in Nairobi which brought Mutuli and Walji to Lagos, included fashion powerhouse and founder of the Lagos Fashion and Design Week Omoyemi Akerele, top Nigerian fashion designer Gloria Wavunno and Tanzanian stylist Rio Paul.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Heineken Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge.
Joanne Stacy Eyango
35°Nord (Press Agency)
About Heineken Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge:
Heineken has a long history of innovation and creativity, and is always eager to learn and absorb fresh inspiration from all 192 countries where it's present. Designing together with upcoming talents from different backgrounds, is a concept that has been successful for Heineken in fueling new initiatives, and provides the creative talents a unique global platform. It's clearly one of the proof points of the Heineken mindset to 'open your world'.
Heineken sought to open the world of fashion to upcoming East African talented designers through an exciting ''open innovation'' challenge that invites designers from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to become part of a creative journey to collaborate on a unique Heineken® fashion collection, truly Africa inspired.
The "Africa Inspired Fashion Challenge" is Heineken's first design initiative in the region extending the brand's commitment to design and innovation by enriching the consumer experience in bars and at events while celebrating the richness of the East African design culture.
The project seeks to generate a rich textile print and fashion forward range for the Heineken® Collection; a process that will see Heineken co-creating with emerging creative talents and the brand's partner design studio in Amsterdam. 10 shortlisted finalists benefited from 3 days textile and design workshop in Nairobi -- from the 5th to the 7th September -- led by the Global Heineken design director Mark van Iterson and his design team, in close collaboration with Amsterdam based fashion design house, LEW.
The judging and organizing panel constituted influential fashion industry players names; Omoyemi Akerele, founder of Lagos Fashion and Design Week (Nigeria), International model Ajuma Nasenyana (Kenya), Stylist and key fashion player Rio Paul (Tanzania), Award winning designer and founder of Kampala Fashion Week, Gloria Wavamunno (Uganda), International model Tarmar Wobotu (Nigeria) and Model and stylist Ochechi Adah (Nigeria).
Heineken (www.TheHeinekenCompany.com) is the world's most international brewer. It is the leading developer and marketer of premium beer and cider brands. Led by the Heineken® brand, the Group has a powerful portfolio of more than 250 international, regional, local and speciality beers and ciders. We are committed to innovation, long-term brand investment, disciplined sales execution and focused cost management. Through "Brewing a Better World", sustainability is embedded in the business and delivers value for all stakeholders. HEINEKEN has a well-balanced geographic footprint with leadership positions in both developed and developing markets. We employ over 80,000 employees and operate breweries, malteries, cider plants and other production facilities in more than 70 countries. Heineken N.V. and Heineken Holding N.V. shares trade on the Euronext in Amsterdam.
Prices for the ordinary shares may be accessed on Bloomberg under the symbols HEIA NA and HEIO NA and on Reuters under HEIN.AS and HEIO.AS. HEINEKEN has two sponsored level 1 American Depositary Receipt (ADR) programmes: Heineken N.V. (OTCQX: HEINY) and Heineken Holding N.V. (OTCQX: HKHHY). Most recent information is available on HEINEKEN's website: www.theHEINEKENcompany.com and follow us on Twitter via @HEINEKENCorp.
Kim Leemans and Merel Wicker both graduated from the fashion department of the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2001. It was during their study that they discovered the strength of cooperation and have been partners ever since. Working as freelance fashion designers they decided in 2007 it was time to start their own label: LEW by Leemans & Wicker (www.LeemansenWicker.nl).
LEW is a multidisciplinary studio and works for local and global clients. Over the years the studio specialized itself in designing and creating concepts for corporate fashion. 'The way LEW balances branding and fashion creates a new approach to corporate clothing: not stiff and predictable, but lively, progressive and open minded.'