As preparations for the 20th edition of ARISE Fashion Week gathers steam, 600 young models competed for a position in what has been widely described as Africa’s most influential runway show. Those selected at the audition which kicked off on Tuesday this week will feature during ‘ARISE Fashion Week & Jazz Festival’, which is scheduled for 2nd to 4th February, 2023 at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos.
Models, both aspiring and established, were given the chance to audition in front of an expert panel which consisted of ARISE Fashion Week Creative Director, Desirée Ejoh, BETH Models CEO, Elizabeth Isiorho, Executive Editor of THISDAY Style, Konye Nwabogor, and serial entrepreneur, Taofick Okoya.
“The model casting this year was focused on finding great new faces who will join fashion stars from previous ARISE shows,” said Ejoh. “Previous models discovered by ARISE have gone on to have successful careers and take part in international shows and campaigns for brands like Gucci, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Louis Vuitton and many, many more. At ARISE, we aim to discover more new faces and continue to be a leader and advance the industry forward.”
For most hopefuls, the opportunity a platform like ARISE Fashion Week provides can be life- changing. Casting director Konye Nwabogor has witnessed firsthand how ARISE Fashion Week can propel unknown faces directly into the stratosphere. “The turnout was really impressive,” she said. “What was even more refreshing was the number of new faces. I think overall we have more than 50 models who have never been on the ARISE Fashion Week Runway. Everyone talks about the designers who are allowed to showcase their talent globally through the ARISE brand, but they rarely talk about the models who are open to the same opportunities. This year it will be different.”
ARISE as a platform has always been the first to showcase new talents, many of whom have gone on to achieve remarkable success on the global stage.
Isiorho, whose agency BETH Models has launched the careers of international successes like Mayowa Nicholas, Davidson Obennebo and Nyagua Ruea, described ARISE Fashion Week as one of the best platforms for discovering new talents. “All the major international modelling agencies keep up with ARISE Fashion Week religiously. They are constantly watching to see which new faces will be on the runway, and often this translates to big opportunities for African models in many of the world’s fashion capitals,” she said.
Some of the world’s most iconic models have graced the ARISE Fashion Week runway, including Alec Wek, Grace Jones and of course, Naomi Campbell. However, ARISE continuously pushes the envelope for African fashion by placing promising new talents on the same runway as these established icons, celebrating previous generations while placing a spotlight firmly on the new.