After 48 hours of intense competition on the grandest runway in Africa, ARISE Fashion Week, Kenneth Ize has emerged winner of the 30 Under 30 competition.
The emotional winner found himself grasping for words as Naomi Campbell announced him winner of the event that kicked off on Thursday, December 10.
Ize is rewarded with a $100,000 cash prize while runners-up Ré Lagosa and South African Mmuso Maxwell receive $75,000 and $50,000 respectively.
The three winners emerged from a pool of eight designers which included Lagos Space Programme, Ziva Lagos, TJWho, Onalaja and Ajabeng.
Known for his use of hand-woven West African textiles and vibrant colours, Ize’s collection boasts colorful striped jackets, tailored suits worn over tights as well as a knitted hat. With the win, the 30-year-old designer continues to expand his growing fame. He was LVMH Prize 2019 finalist.
The finale brought to a close the 2020 Arise Fashion Week which defied the odds of the pandemic and held virtually for the first time.
The theme of this year’s event was ’30 Under 30: The New Stars’ where 30 designers were selected to participate in the competition. It also featured Campbell and Alton Mason modelling for designers like Mmuso Maxwell, Bloke, Tzar Studios, Lagos Space Programme and Colrs
This year’s event marked the first time the award is attaching a monetary reward to its ceremony and also the first time the focus is solely on young designers.
“We need a breath of fresh air. We need younger people to get into this space, and be given the accreditation they certainly deserve,” noted Ruth Osime, co-producer of ARISE Fashion Week.
She added that the monetary reward is a way of supporting young fashion entrepreneurs.
“We’re looking forward to launching a brand new designer that will also be making waves internationally,” said Osime. “It’s not just enough for us to be known only in Nigeria. One of the ways to be successful is to spread your tentacles across the world.”
Saturday night’s event marked the end of what could be best described as a celebration of African creativity and culture. For the two days, the live shows were held, young designers pushed the boundaries of creativity, showcasing layers of innovation deeply rooted in African tradition.
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, who graced the occasion acknowledged the potential of the Nigerian fashion industry during his speech.
Emefiele reiterated the commitment of the apex bank and the Bankers Committee to growing the fashion industry, stating that “We are fully aware that the fashion industry in Nigeria can provide a positive and beneficial growth path for young Nigerians who seek to utilise their talents in creating products and services that offer value at home. And indeed, abroad. We will continue to ensure that these skills are harnessed to support the growth of the Nigerian economy, and also support the growth, the businesses of the Nigerian youth entrepreneurs.”
Usually held in the early part of the year, this year’s event was rescheduled to December. It was held virtually and broadcast on www.ariseplay.com and ARISE NEWS Channel on DStv.
The fashion event saw 30 young designers display creativity and ingenuity on the runway. They were selected from a pool of 150 designers who vied for a spot on the show.
They were hosted to a sumptuous dinner on the first day of the event as well as given a participation fee of $5,000.