unity is strength
Anikola Davies and photographer Ruth Ossai teamed up with fashion brand KENZO to make a short fashion film, which celebrates Nigeria’s youth. The short film is part of Kenzo’s Folio Project and is made in Nsukka, a town in southeast Nigeria, Enugu state. According to Davies, Ossai’s participation was essential in this project because Ossai’s family comes from Nsukka, home to members of the Igbo ethnic group, and also because “Ruth’s work makes me proud to be African and it’s important to see black women lead the way on documenting our cultures and communities.”
Since the 1970s, KENZO’s spirit is about celebrating the variety of cultures in a global environment. It’s always been equally about fashion as it is about culture and people. The video is a creative and fashionable interpretation of what it means to be young in the society of Nigeria. The video starts with a glimpse of Nigeria’s nature and two boys sitting on a motor inviting us to come with hem. The story continues with girls who are organizing their own beauty pageant to become ‘Miss Nsukka’. We see girls preparing each other’s hair, wearing different outfits and in the end performing their best dance moves. With this story, beauty and perfection are questioned.
Davies says the movie shows “Young black Nigerian bodies by capturing them celebrating Igbo culture and traditions, showing that beauty is always present when there is a commitment to the celebration of culture”. While celebrating the Igbo culture and traditions, they’re all dressed in the spring/summer collection SS17 of the Parisian brand.
All the models were casted in the village itself, around schools, churches and markets in the town. As shortly stated before, the fashion film part of Kenzo’s Folio project and is called Gidi Gidi Bụ Ugwu Eze, meaning ‘Unity is strength’. Davies says: “Your community is your extended family. Our strength is coming from utilising one another and trusting each other’s process”. KENZO folio, visualized in film and photography, was shown in the KENZO flagship store at 31 Bruton Street London from the 27th of April until the 10th of May.
Nine van der Wal