Lagos Fashion Week: A Look at one of the PAN African Designer Attendees “BLACK COFFEE”

Jacques van der Watts BLACK COFFEE in Lagos Fashion week 2018

Lagos fashion week, one of Nigeria’s and Africa’s biggest fashion shows is an annual multi-day event, started in 2011 by Omoyemi Akerele. This event has showcased various fashion designers, enthusiasts . Lagos Fashion Week has Nigeria and Africa an ultimate drive for fashion by bringing together buyers, consumers and the media to view the various collections of designs in the Lagos the “the fashion capital” how I choose to call it.


2018 is another year for the Lagos Fashion week to work its magic again by showing to us fashion enthusiasts the sizzling designs that have graced the year.

We will be looking at BLACK COFFEE label  one of the PAN African designers attending this years event.

Black Coffee is the label of South African designer Jacques van der Watt.

Black Coffee is distinctive for the way it blurs fabrication and fashion. The sharp structural designs are characteriZed by complex, layered shapes that yield a fastidious fashion sensibility that is at once restrained and bold.

The design goes beyond adornment, often melding the body with the pattern in a meticulous feat of engineering. It renders fabric in relief, its carved features projected from the surface, marking the body so that skin is brought to prominence and embossed with fabric.

Despite its exacting geometry it remains subdued with utterly feminine traits like fine pleating and intricate ribbon trimmings so that the garments are right for work wear yet strikingly befitting of evening wear too. Jacques van der Watt is a master of discreet style that refines craft, embellishing on traditions like millinery and applique and echoing African motifs but with a modern verve.

Black Coffee’s i shows are always integral to the mood of the garments and sites have been selected at unusual venues like the Great Synagogue on Wolmarans Street, the Johannesburg Art Gallery and the steps of Constitution Hill.

Jacques is one of the pioneers of fashion in South Africa, seeing fashion as a standalone industry at a time when it was restricted to occasion-specific garments. He was one of the initial unknown brands that collaborated in South African Fashion Week in 1999 that originated fashion as an art form in this country.

[Exhibition] Youngtokz Amazing Arts

The label  gained attention after a while,  and since then Black Coffee has shown at South African, Cape Town, San Francisco, Berlin and New York Fashion Weeks. It has been nominated five times for the SA Fashion Awards and has won twice (in 2001 and 2007). In 2009 it won the Mercedes Benz Art Award with an installation that was shown at the renowned Daimler contemporary gallery in Berlin. In 2010 it won Best Designer in a new awards ceremony hosted by African Fashion International.

Images of designs from BLACK COFFEE

 By Femi Ajiyon


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