The Ashluxe’s latest fashion show was a vibrant homage to the indomitable spirit of Fela Anikulapo Kuti, the Nigerian musical maestro and revolutionary. At the event, the air was thick with anticipation as the runway lit up, not just with the glow of spotlights but the fiery essence of Fela’s legacy, a beacon of Afrobeat and activism.
The collection, an electric fusion of streetwear and traditional African motifs, was a sartorial shout-out to the Shrine, a testament to the enduring impression of Fela’s Kalakuta Republic. Each piece seemed to dance down the runway, alive with the same pulsating energy that characterised Fela’s own performances. And what performances they were! As the models strutted, swayed, and sashayed, Made Kuti – the heir to the Kuti musical throne – unleashed an electrifying performance that had the audience spellbound.
It wasn’t just a fashion show; it was a celebration, a cultural revival, a legacy reborn on the catwalk.
Speaking to the Creative Director – Yinka Ash – at the final fittings before the show, it was clear that this collection was a labour of love. A tribute that resonated on a personal level.
“Ashluxe has always explored aesthetics native to Nigeria. However, this is the first time we’d tailor an entire collection around one person – Trying to tell a legend’s story through clothes.”
But the garments weren’t just visually arresting; The patterns, the colours, the cuts – all were reminiscent of Fela’s eclectic style, a sartorial symphony of his essence.
“Fela had a strong presence and so many nuances to his personal style. This collection reflects most (if not all) of the segments of his style. If Fela were to be with us today, he would wear some of these pieces.”
The show, which was a harmonious collaboration endorsed by the Kuti estate – a first in history – was a seal of authenticity, a nod of approval from the very source of inspiration. It bestowed upon the collection a sense of legitimacy that resonated with the audience, many of whom were ardent Fela fans.
“I definitely feel honoured. I feel great that we’re able to jump through all the hoops and hurdles to get to this point where we can actually show the collection to the world. It’s a privilege to be able to explore Fela’s legacy through fashion. Being the first brand to do this means a lot; We feel very special. It’s really a pivotal moment for the Ashluxe brand.”
As the finale approached, we knew this because Yhemo Lee had just walked across the runway, and they usually save the best for the last, right? – the crowd rose in a standing ovation, not just for the artistry on display but for the spirit of Fela that permeated the room. Ashluxe didn’t just close the year in style – they closed it with a message, one of resilience, creativity, and the unyielding power of cultural expression.
As guests spilled out into the night, there was a palpable sense of having witnessed something more than fashion. Ashluxe had delivered an experience, a moment in time where style met substance, and the legacy of Fela Kuti was clothed in the fabric of the future. The fusion of fashion and music, tradition and modernity, was a testament to the brand’s ability to capture the zeitgeist while honouring timeless legacies.
One thing is certain: the echoes of this Ashluxe show would resonate for years to come.