GTB Fashion Weekend 2019 has come and gone but not without leaving its mark in the hearts of many like me. Yeah! It left quite an impression on me as it was my first ever fashion event, street fashion, and the likes.
As a newbie, I didn’t hold many expectations, sincerely, I was going there because of the hype it had on social media, everyone was talking about it, so, like a cool kid that I think I am, I had to be there to represent.
The GTB Fashion Weekend 2019 took place from Saturday, 9th and Sunday, 10th of November at the GTCentre, Plot 1, Water Corporation Drive Victoria Island, Lagos. From reading about the event on different platforms, the venue has been a staple since its commencement in 2016.
This makes it easy to locate and you can trust Google Maps to give you the correct direction since its a pretty popular location in VI, Lagos.
Fortunately or unfortunately, I was only there on Sunday. Why? Well, maybe because I was only going there to look, and just experience what it felt like so I didn’t see the need of using two days to do that, hence I opted for Sunday, the last day to make my findings.
Mind you, I didn’t just wake up one morning and decide to go for the GTB Fashion Weekend, it had been on my to-do list for a really long time but I always had an excuse not to make it.
This year though I was going to break the yoke. Luckily, I saw a post on their Instagram page sometime in October for press accreditation, from the post, it said bloggers could apply to be part, so I jumped on that.
Though I applied, I didn’t think I would get a press pass because my blog ain’t famous yet and I just started taking blogging really serious, so it was a gamble.
A gamble I am glad I took since I got a press pass after all. Wow!! I was surprised, excitedly surprised but a bit concerned as to why I got the pass late. I didn’t get the pass until the Saturday of the event, and when I checked the time it was sent, it was sent at around 7:30 am that day.
That really doesn’t give anyone enough time to plan and for someone like me, I had zeroed my mind off getting it, thinking I didn’t meet the criteria. I don’t know if anyone from their team will ever see this but just in case, I advise for next time, please send out the passes on time.
I feel like if I had gotten it on time, I would have been there for two days because I was really excited about it. Anyway, that’s gone now and I hold no grudges, still grateful my blog was counted worthy.
That said, knowing I would be working, I opted for jeans, a white shirt, and a flat shoe as my outfit for the day. This was a pretty easy choice to make since the idea was for me to blend into the crowd.
Now on the day, as I mentioned earlier, the venue was easy to locate, I left home, Ogba at about 1:15 pm and got there some minutes to 3 pm. Fellow Lagosians would know that was a pretty good time to get there giving the distance.
As you might have guessed, traffic was good, I could say maybe because it was a Sunday but I should give the organizers of GTB Fashion Weekend some credit, I spotted LASMA officials directing traffic leading to the venue.
I know that was a plan from them because you rarely see LASMA officials on a Sunday or even on that axis. This shows that the organizers put the regular Lagos traffic into planning and that was a nice move.
A quick checklist now, location, great, traffic going in, good, security, very strong. I remember being checked twice before being allowed into the main venue. So far so good, it was starting off great.
Once in, I was handed a hand fan and a bottle of water, another great move worthy of emulation. With my water and fan in hand, I was ready to take on the day or so I thought.
The first thing that hit me was, I looked different. There seemed to be something different about everyone else. Like something extra, sincerely to me, they seemed abnormal but in the real sense, they were the normal ones.
I guess it was at that moment I realized why it was called a street fashion event. I am not even going to lie though, I still don’t understand street fashion, because, when I look around my street now, I don’t see anyone dressing as they did at the GTB Fashion Weekend.
So how then is this street fashion? I kept thinking while I made way into the hall for my press pass. Regardless of the fact that I was not there on the first day, I still got my pass, which gave me access to all masterclasses but guess what? I didn’t go for any.
You heard that right, I didn’t go for masterclasses. I really don’t know why because I am always a good child oh! So don’t ask me why. As you would imagine though, right after getting my pass, I was outside again.
This time, my friend, Raph, mentions that he was also at the GTB Fashion Weekend event. In a few minutes, we hook up and just like me, he has dressed abnormally, lol. Abnormal in this case meaning nothing like a street fashion person.
He is going to kill me for this but yeah, I think I should mention that he is new in Lagos, lol and was left at my mercy for the day. For a moment after we linked up, we just kept looking at everyone else and taking in everything.
Not long after, we were joined by another friend, Mayowa. Again, Mayowa has dressed indecently, lol. Together, three indecently dressed friends roamed around.
Our first stop was at the craft market, beautifully set up, amazing items to shop from with most vendors offering discounted prices, just in case you are wondering, the only thing we bought was food.
Only because, we were on a budget and that budget could only cater to food, and the food I mean, small chops were sold for 500 naira per pack. With that, we proceeded into the hall.
Before I continue talking about our waka, I think GTB deserves some accolades. Yes, they do. When you check out their website and scroll to the about page of the GTB Fashion Weekend Page, it says
“The GTBank Fashion Weekend is a consumer-focused fair and free business platform designed to showcase the best of Africa’s Fashion to a global audience whilst promoting the effervescent enterprise of the continents growing fashion industry.”
In all honesty, they lived up to this and from what I hear, vendors showcased free of charge. If there is one thing I know having worked with small businesses for a while now it is that they are always in search of an opportunity to showcase their wares, thank you GTB, I could only imagine how each vendor felt after.
Back to our waka, I and my friends couldn’t stop talking about how beautiful the space was, and for a little while I was in the masterclass room, I can say, GTB finished work oh! I really can’t fault their packaging.
Again, we couldn’t afford anything inside too, lol. Our budget was too tight to accommodate anything, though from what I saw, vendors were selling since I saw guests with bags. It must have been a good one for them.
Sincerely we spent most of the time in there window shopping and talking about the day when our budget can accommodate more things and we can really flex, cause man, that environment was a flexing one oh! lol
One incident I want to remember in years to come is, the fact that amongst the three of us, someone’s footwear cut off, then one of the vendors said, “buy another one, we have this type”.
At that moment, we didn’t know whether to laugh or cry because we knew our pockets. Luckily, we took the former in good fate and went outside the venue to fix it. (This part of the story might not be useful to you, but I put it here for myself, to remember the times of not having, cause I am so sure, that one day, I will read this and laugh out loud, do you keep a note of your journey too?)
After fixing that, the rest of the day was spent taking pictures, laughing, chatting, dancing, talking, catching up in this little garden we had at the venue.
It was so interesting to see young adults sit on the ground, having fun with no pressure, some watching football and more activities. Drawn into the environment, we had one last shawarma and then, we were ready to go home at around 7:30 pm.
I should say that the runway shows were just about to start but I couldn’t stay till the end because the girl got a curfew.
But in the time I was there, I had fun and again I remember Raph saying “I am glad I came, we gat to come again next year with money”. If you were going to ask that question, you already know the answer.
Going was quite easy except for a little traffic outside the venue which is understandable for an event of such magnitude. If I may say so, the crowd was massive, as at when we were leaving, more people were trooping in.
Weldone GTB, I had fun, till next year.