Words: Aluwani Ratshiungo | Photography: Philipp Raheem | Art Direction & Styling: Daniel Obasi | Hair: Happiness Okon | Make-up: Awoyemi Kemi | Models: Daberechi Ukoha-kalu & Ifeoma Nwobu | Creative Assistant: Lauretta Orji
“With the editorial I was aiming to push Nigerian fashion further but with a more complex and different approach to styling,” says Daniel Obasi, the stylist and art director behind the arresting Young and Restless editorial. “The background was an old rustic Lagos after it has rained, everywhere still felt humid.”
The Young and Restless editorial, originally shot for Hunger Magazine, was inspired by “a youthful need to rebel, a need to have your voice heard.” The editorial is rich and colourful as Daniel opted for garments with vivid contrasts and bold colour pairings. The richness of the location, bright props, and make-up (mainly toned down, punctuated by bright eye shadow that was also used on the tip of the earlobes) also play into that. Even though the robust colours are the key aspects of the highly detailed editorial, the black and white images are also hauntingly beautiful.
“I tried as much as I could to pull in new and already famous Nigerian brands together. All the clothes and accessories where made here in Nigeria or at least in collaboration with a Nigerian brand. It was our own way, through art, to engage the world with what is happening here in terms of fashion and art.”
“There was a lot of elements at work on this editorial a lot of details and a decision to use minimal and uncommon accessories to create a balance to the oversized and multi layered styling and coloured shoes that just popped out differently. To be honest I didn’t know exactly how it would all turn out but it was worth the try.”
Nigerian born Daniel Obasi officially started styling in 2016 and only started dabbling in photography earlier this year after immersing himself in behind the scene videos and experimenting with friends. But his raw talent has already seen the 21-year-old make impactful work such as The Illegal Project which blurs gender binaries and explores LGBTQ issues in Nigeria, and Embers of Bloom, an impeccably styled and beautifully shot fashion film about friendship.
For the Young and Restless editorial, he was contacted by London based photographer, Philipp Raheem during his short visit to Nigeria. The models Daberechi Ukoha Kalu and Ifeoma Nwobu, are often Daniel’s first choice. “They have been the consistent faces of my recent projects simply because of their beauty and dynamism plus they have a sort of synergy when they work together.”
Driven by a need to always showcase and offer commentary on what’s happening around him, Daniel set out to ensure more people are aware of what fashion in Nigeria is like and hopefully inspire them. For example, the hair (braids and beads) was inspired by something he saw some girls braiding on the streets.
“Together fashion and photography create an interesting perception on the world, for me it’s such a powerful tool. If properly used it can change so much of the stereotyped narratives on Africa, and today it’s so important that we create and tell our own stories otherwise we would have to sit ignorantly and let the rest of the world paint it for us.”