Vlisco&co Igbo Inspired Edition
After last year’s events in Lagos and Accra, Vlisco&co was back in Nigeria on September 27 at Art Twenty One. Vlisco&co has travelled to East Nigeria to explore Igbo culture. Together with its creative Nigerian network the ethnic group and its relation with their fabrics are deeply researched.
The research and the concept of Vlisco&co’s next edition was discussed during a round table gathering in Lagos; the result is a unified visual narrative that mixes a contemporary own story and a research process, thereby exploring the old and the new Igbo culture and the traditions in relations with Vlisco fabrics.
For this edition, fashion designers Fruche and Gozel Green designed two fashion collections. The edition also showcased a new movie by Daniel Obasi, photography by Yagazie Emezi and a new music composition by talented Dj, Ayel, all of which is founded on extensive research enhancing each other’s creativity merged with the Vlisco world.
Daniel Obasi’s film Udara
Also addressing the Igbo belief in reincarnation, Udara – is an experimental fantasy by Daniel Obasi. It is a visual experiment that shows how Igbo culture can be discussed alternatively. The film isn’t time-bound, but rather draws inspiration from the past and present in an attempt to broaden the perspective of what is possible with Igbo culture. It is an ode to the diverse layers of being Igbo through; symbolism, music, traditional beliefs, the mild conflict and inter dependence between Christianity and traditional religion within the Igbo communities. Udara approaches spirituality softly and sheds light on certain Igbo beliefs like reincarnation “the belief that someone can be re born in another lifetime’’. The tone of the film is one of loss and not entirely about celebration with hopes to draw attention to a culture that is gradually dying.
Photographer Yagazie captured Gozel Green’s collection by addressing in his visual language the origin and the unfortunate diminishment of Uli: the mythical Igbo artform for women. As Uli was discouraged in colonial times, patterns and colours were worn less on the face, and moved onto the fabrics. Uli gradually disappeared from the public eye.
“The setting of an old backyard veranda dating 80s and early 90s was chosen to be a casual but truthful setting, an art form that takes place at home, the women without make-up as the Uli is their beauty. Bathroom slippers as they are at home and not on show for anyone. The only thing that truly stands out is the outfits and the Uli art – noble women casually at ease in their spaces.
Fruche’s REINCARNATION Collection
For this collection, Fruché imagines a reincarnation (Rebirth) of colonial Igbo women as futuristic workingwomen that rule in all facets of life.
Fruche: “We asked ourselves what these futuristic Igbo women would look like if they wore nothing but Vlisco Hollandais in their everyday life.
Igbo women for centuries have been known as hard working, empowering, forces to be reckoned with. It is no coincidence that we have drawn inspiration from their effervescence. This collection sheds light on how progressive the Igbo were, even in colonial times.”
Gozel Green’s ULI ART Collection
Gozel Green’s collection is inspired by “Uli’ which defines traditional designs drawn by the Igbo as a form of beautification including of the human body and art.
“We infused our love for our culture and contemporary art and maintained the original designs on the Vlisco fabrics we worked on to create an intriguing collection. Like Uli, we had a perfect mix of cuts, trims and lines to emphasise the body form of the woman.”
DJ Aye!’s composition is the result of an exploration of how the sound and origin of traditional Igbo music translates when funnelled through new-age urban sensibilities. “Afrodiscotech is an auditory collage. A collage which tells a story about unification.”
In his composition, he used his favourite instrument, the DJ-controller. Included in this performance were 3 original songs that form part of an EP he intends to title ‘EP NO.4: AFRODISCOTECH’.