In part one of my Lagos travel diary I wrote about the sights and sounds of Nigeria – places to go, food to eat, where to party… essentially a londoners guide for first timers like myself if you will. I got so caught up that I had written 500 words and realised that I hadn’t even touched on anything to do with African fashion! This is a personal style blog after all – So I guess you guys want to see some ‘fits!
And you will – Soon.
But first of all I need to share with you my amazing shopping experiences in Balogun market and Oba elegushi arts market. For those of you who know My Starr, you will know that he is not one to mingle with locals or partake in tourist indulgences. The Starr life is chauffeured rides in air conditioned jeeps, suites in top hotels, cocktails on roof tops and fine dining at every given opportunity. The Starr life, whilst fun, is not my idea of a well rounded holiday. I like to see and experience things that I couldn’t or wouldn’t back home. Yes, I want to go to the dreaded market and haggle down the price for my yam and tomatoes. Yes, I want to swelter in the heat of a clapped out subaru (Sorry Uche!) listening to the radio instead of lounging in the Q7 connecting my spotify via bluetooth. Yes I want to learn how to pound yam and sit and listen to the elders tell stories for hours on end. Yes I want to go to the village and attend a traditional wedding instead of a 5 star western affair at Eko signature. And then yes, I want to put on my Jimmy Choos at the end of it all and join My Starr on a rooftop somewhere for champagne and canapes. I want a little bit of everything. I want the full experience.
So, whilst My Starr sat in a swanky hotel bar somewhere I went out in search of the REAL Lagos! I started with Balogun market as Mama Starr has a shop there. I had been warned several times that this market was a beast like no other, sure to swallow me whole. A city of its own with a law unto itself. But I really had no idea…
The hustle and bustle was electric and slightly terrifying. No order. No Queues. No prices (everything is pure negotiation). Absolutely everything is for sale – from frozen yoghurt to Livers (the latter was actually offered to me in hand as I scoffed my frozen yoghurt). You can buy hair supplies, toiletries, clothing, shoes, assorted meats and fish, … There is absolutely nothing you can’t buy in Balogun Market. Nothing. Trying to capture the real time buzz of this place was a massive feat for an amateur photographer like myself. Not to mention the fact that I was not aware that nigerians are private people and do not like to have their pictures taken. Please take the time to admire the photo of the wonderful red tomatoes in my last post as I took a good earbashing for that!
For arts and culture I ventured to Oba Elegushi to purchase the work of the local talent. I used to be very artistic in school – drawing, designing, painting… one of my regrets in life that I am determined to put right this year is turning my back on my artwork and listening to my mother who pushed me into the sensible vocation of English studies. I want to rekindle my love of the arts and get back into drawing and painting. Using my negotiation skills learnt from Mama Starr at Balogun market, I managed to grab a few bargains for family and friends including paintings, wooden carvings and a selection of clutch purses in traditional fabrics.
I wore a selection of African inspired prints throughout my holiday all with a western twist. The reason why I tried not to document these outfits on Instagram or here on the blog was because I was secretly working on my very first Look book! I have been very apprehensive about venturing into the Vlogosphere – And still have a long way to go… But here is my first offering. I hope you like it. xoxo