Even though I could only attend this year’s Lagos Leather Fair virtually, the vibrancy and the energy permeated every picture and Instagram story. Rising to international standards, designers have presented their craft by displaying their best work and the highest quality leather creations. Read more about my top picks of the Lagos Leather Fair that are not just another bag.
Lagos Leather Fair was created in 2017 by Femi Olayebi, founder and Creative Director of FemiHandbags, a premium leather handbags and accessories brand based in Ibadan, Nigeria. Having experienced first-hand the many challenges within the industry year-on-year (regardless of whether you were a start-up or an established brand), Femi decided to create an initiative that would begin to change the narrative within a neglected and misunderstood sector.
he Lagos Leather Fair came to life to drive multiple purposes: to provide a much-needed, solution-based platform for leather designers to showcase their products and their talent and gain increased visibility; to shine a light on the many possibilities within the industry; begin to work towards finding sustainable solutions to move a potentially powerful industry forward.
The Lagos Leather Fair came to life to drive multiple purposes: to provide a much-needed, solution-based platform for leather designers to showcase their products and their talent and gain increased visibility; to shine a light on the many possibilities within the industry; begin to work towards finding sustainable solutions to move a potentially powerful industry forward.
Beyond that, it was also a means of breaking the negative stereotypes around “Made-in-Nigeria-“ and, by extension, “Made-in-Africa-“ products and generally creating an awareness of the potential value of the leather industry.
The ultimate aim for creating the LLF platform was to connect the dots within the industry and bring together the different stakeholders to enable us to collaborate better and tap into the opportunities within the sector.
Femi explains, “A lot has happened since 2017, and LLF has just been our starting point. As we achieve our goals, we hope that as a sector, we can begin the transformative process of shifting mindsets and perspectives, creating scalable enterprises, maximizing impact, and building an empowering, inclusive, and sustainable ecosystem.”
AABOUX is a chic, high-end leather brand focusing on handcrafted, limited-edition statement pieces made from the most luxurious and exquisite leather. The third-generation skilled artisans in Lagos, Nigeria, have perfected their unique stitchless technique and composition using fascinating combinations of worldwide, ethically sourced skins.
These designs have a distinctive allure thanks to their unique stitch-less technique, which is characterized by enticing textures, captivating designs, and an iconic signature shape. These flawlessly finished bags embody fascination, functionality, and an unending aesthetic appeal; they are more than just accessories. AABOUX encourages women to embrace their inner rock stars, radiating panache, sophistication, and individuality.
Hanker & Reech:
Hanker and Reech Goods was founded to improve a poor purchasing experience, which prompted the brand to examine itself and start from scratch to produce and display leather goods that adhere to international standards. Their goods are produced locally in Lagos, Nigeria, and sourced internationally.
The carefully chosen materials range from locally tanned leather to imported leather obtained from eco-friendly vendors. Every leather product is made with precise attention to detail during manufacturing as part of its commitment to quality. This strength and dependability of their leather goods are intentionally highlighted at Hanker and Reech and reflected in their love for leatherworking rooted in craftsmanship.
Whether you’re dominating the boardroom or discovering new horizons, the Hanker and Reech bags are the dependable partner accompanying you on all your ways, reminding you of your accomplishments, significant anniversaries, and successes throughout everyone’s life story. Hanker and Reech Goods strives to make bags that are more than just attractive and serve as inspiring reminders of one’s ascent to greatness.
Nichole by Haguanna:
Nichole is a Haguanna brand established in 2010 in Lagos, Nigeria, and is well-known for its bespoke, luxurious, handcrafted, one-of-a-kind bags and accessories. The love for style, creativity, and a dash of passion is at the core of NH’s heart. The NH brand stands tall and proud in Africa thanks to its collections that cover all seasons, age groups, and genders. Haguanna’s Nichole brand is renowned for using various materials to make bags, purses, straps, and accessories in various sizes and shapes. Each piece is handcrafted with love, passion, and strength to ensure every customer’s satisfaction. The renowned ‘Nora’ Straps and Handles are hand-woven back to front by NicholebyHaguanna, introducing the NH clientele to a brand-new realm of emotional styling, making the NicholebyHaguanna bag not just another bag.
Femi Olayebi, a translator turned handbag designer and manufacturer, “accidentally” started her own business in 1992 when she attempted to make a baby bag for her first child. She made her way through the design and manufacturing world slowly but steadily, experimenting with the tools at her disposal and earning a reputation over time for her meticulous attention to detail and audacious use of color. Femi has consistently pushed the envelope by renaming the company after herself and showcasing her first leather collection at Pure London in 2010.
The brand stands out from others in a market flooded with accessories. The FH bags have striking color schemes and are infused with the exquisite aso-oke hand-loomed fabric, the brand’s unmistakable signature, which artisans in South Western Nigeria weave. The FemiHandbags brand has come to be defined by the caliber of the craftsmanship, the designer’s keen eye for the minor details, the deft blending of traditional crafting techniques and modern, vintage-inspired silhouettes, and the skilled hands that bring them to life.
Blog by Waridi Schrobsdorff
Photos by Jolaoso Wasiu Adebayo