© Micheal Mayren
© Carri Munden and Lakin Ogunbanwo
© Lagos Fashion Week
© Carri Munden and Lakin Ogunbanwo
1 December 2015
by Dapinder Chahal
As part of this year's Fashion DNA: Image Makers project, we sent super stylish Carri Munden as our UK Fashion expert off to Lagos. She partnered with Nigerian photographer Lakin Ogunhanwo to undertake a series of masterclasses, collaborative workshops and public events in partnership with Lagos Fashion Week.
Carri Munden founded her brand Cassette Playa in 2006 showing at LFW for 12 seasons, 8 of which were digital presentations. Cassette Playa is an independent lifestyle brand with a global reputation for cult graphics, digital print and new technologies.
Carri also works as a freelance stylist and on a consultancy basis providing concepts, creative direction, strategy and design services for a number of brands and artists
We Talk Fashion with Carri to find out all about her experience;
What were your expectations?
I didn't have any expectations to be honest - I was so excited to go to Africa for the first time, although I did know alot about Nigerian and West African culture through friends in London and also research I had done previously for collections.
You mentioned that the partnerships pairings were perfect in terms of style and personality. Could you tell us about your pairing with Lakin Ogunhanwo and how that fitted with your group?
I was really excited to discover and shoot menswear designers from Lagos. I love the way Lakin shoots men and menswear, so I was so happy to be paired with him. From our first communication we got along really well - have the same relaxed attitude, and share similar aesthetics - strong, graphic and using lots of colour and texture but most importantly we both know what we like and how to achieve it : )
What was the most challenging part of the project and how does it compare to working in the UK?
I think the only challenge I found was the traffic! Getting to meetings and locations was so LONG!
Which image were you most proud of? Could you tell us about the making?
Deji's designs (see slideshow above) are so beautifully cut and use a mix of traditional tailoring fabrics and traditional Nigerian fabrics. KyKy the model looks so strong and beautiful here - so much character and experience in a young face. The sun had suddenly reappeared ! and I love the light and textures Lakin captured. Its a really sexy image too.
You mentioned that you gate-crashed a wedding. Tell me more!
Ahah yes me and Nina met a very distinguished and well dressed gentleman at the hotel who invited us to a big society wedding. It was so epic, the wedding was even being live streamed on giant screens. I accidentally photo bombed a gentleman during one the speeches and I was terrified I had ruined the Wedding. I love Weddings and this one had such a special energy - a true celebration not just of the couple but of both the families coming together.
Your brand Cassetteplaya is all about bold colours and psychedelic prints. Have you ever taken influence from African style? What struck you most about Lagos fashion?
Yes absolutely as I mentioned I had previously done a lot of research into West African textiles and dress - its something I have been interested in since university. Ghanian and Nigerian prints have especially inspired my own digital prints. Men in Europe do not wear print or colour in the same way - ie matching prints / head to toe. This was a massive inspiration on my own designs - translating complete print looks into European sportswear and streetwear styles.
I was familiar with Nigerian styles of dress but what struck me the most in Lagos was not just the clothes but Lagosians sense of style. Style is not just how you put clothes together but how you wear them - the confident and attitude. Nigeria definitely has some the most beautiful men and women in the world and again this is not just looks but that same confidence, pride and attitude.
As a stylist and an owner of your own label, how important is it to learn how to present fashion?
Crucial - as a designer you need to understand how to communicate your brand values and aesthetic to the correct audience and how to collaborate with other creatives to achieve this.
From a business perspective, where do you think there is market of growth the Nigerian fashion industry?
I was interested in the elements of Nigerian Fashion Industry that make it unique - the textiles, the traditional styles (and that traditional styles are still so widely worn) and that a lot of the industry is bespoke / made to measure. The are definitely Nigerian designers that are on a global level and that are and will find international success but just as important is the domestic market which has a massive opportunity for growth.
How did you find the creative hustle?
It was so interesting to hear each of the creative's participating individual stories. And also to hear the questions directed at both the UK + Nigerian creatives. I felt I learnt a lot about the creative industries in Nigeria through these discussions.
Has this experience changed how you see international collaboration?
I have always been open to international collaboration, Fashion to me is about communication - connecting with people and I have always considered my brand global. The internet is such a powerful tool for connecting us globally but when I travel I am so happy to see there is still cultural elements that are unique to a country or region. These should be celebrated. I am so happy for this opportunity and look forward to many more!