When South African Satellite Television company, MultiChoice, announced on Thursday, February 6, 2020, it’s Africa Magic nominations for the seventh edition of the Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Award a lot of Africans jubilated.
Most celebrities with nominations (or not) started making arrangements for one of the biggest awards ceremonies in Africa.
Yet, Toyin Lawani, the undisputed queen of Nigerian fashion wasn’t in support of the AMVCA taking place in Nigeria. Why would Toyin, arguably Nigeria’s most talented and flamboyant designer with a huge list of celebrities clientele not be delighted with an event that most fashion creatives are eagerly waiting for, as it no doubt will buster their account balance and profile. So why was Toyin ‘so pissed that she went to bed without watching the show on 14th March 2020?’ The answer is pretty simple – Toyin, has always been a step ahead most of her peers – She’s a visionary.Toyin Lawani who has a huge following of almost a million people on social media is one of most talented designers in Nigeria. At age of 16, ambitious Toyin started a boutique, owned a mini supermarket and a spa while studying at the University of Lagos. With over 20 years of successfully running a business, Toyin is a leading voice, influence and mentor to many in the fashion and entertainment industry. Hence, she was not in support of the AMVCA because she could see what most Nigerians and other people around the world could not or just didn’t want to acknowledge – COVID-19.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is the infectious disease caused by a newly discovered coronavirus. Toyin knew that most people infected with the COVID-19 virus experience mild to moderate respiratory illness and recover without requiring special treatment. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease, and cancer are more likely to develop serious illness.
In addition, Toyin knows that the best way to prevent and slow down the transmission is by being well informed about the COVID-19 virus, the disease it causes and how it spreads. She also knows that besides protecting yourself and others from infection by washing hands, social distancing is very important hence her trepidation with AMVCA holding in Nigeria.
Before you think Toyin is just a lucky opportunist or unnecessarily controversial, then you really don’t know the enigma called Toyin. Toyin, though from a prestigious family in Ekiti State, is the owner of over 25 businesses so the huge amount of money from her services for the AMVCA is negligible compared to the pains or risks of Coronavirus spreading in are beloved country.
The gorgeous 38-years-old fashion guru and mother of two has built a successful career and empire for herself in the industry, with or without the AMVCA Awards.
Also Toyin, as early as March has already started protecting herself by wearing a face. Stylish Toyin was wearing her face mask when flying home from a fabric-buying spree in Istanbul when she realised that she could do more to spread the Coronavirus message not just to Nigerians alone but globally.
So although Toyin was ‘pissed’ with the AMVCA decision, when Omashola Kola Oburoh, a Big Brother Naija finalist with almost a million Instagram followers approached her to help, ‘make me an outfit that will pass (the coronavirus) message to Nigerians,’ her answer was decisive, ‘Say no more,’ .
Omashola sported a shimmery pinkish silver suit with three-dimensional fabric skulls on the chest and a matching face mask. The AMVCA in it’s bewildering wisdom did not judge the outfit worthy of its badly-judged best-dressed Award, Toyin’s creation went viral.
Ifu Ennada, the former BBnaija housemate and beauty influencer with over 1.3 million Instagram followers, who adorned her mouth with lace and jewels specially curated by Toyin also went viral. Hundreds of messages flooded her inbox: Where did she get that mask?
“Everything I do is always out there in the public,” Ennada added. “I’m trying to educate people. To inspire them to stay cautious and stay safe.”
Initially, some Nigerians, saw it as “awkward” because there were only two cases of coronavirus in the country at the time. Now that there are over a thousand official cases with scores of deaths recorded and growing fears of more unknown cases, they have come to appreciate Omashola’s style and the genius of Toyin.
Toyin thereafter said: Fashion isn’t just about making a statement, it can be educative and used to pass a message to the world as well. @sholzy23 thanks for taking it upon yourself to do this, A lot of people forget how deadly this virus is and they joke around with it until it gets a loved one, please let’s all be safe out there, this virus as started affecting businesses and our kids from going to school etc , .#Amvca7 was a shutdown with this message ⭐️.
With a global pandemic that has seen most countries in lockdown, with millions infected and over 200,000 deaths, Nigerians are waking up daily to appreciate and respect Toyin’s creativity, vision and philanthropy. Toyin’s foresight has paved the way as many luxury designers to ordinary citizens are inspired to take to their sewing machines, united by a common thread: making masks for those on the frontlines of this coronavirus pandemic.
Not just on for fashion alone, philanthropic Toyin Lawani was one of the first celebrities to start giving foodstuffs and face masks to Nigerians on the streets of Lagos, Ibadan and around the country.
Toyin’s team have received huge amount of masks orders and they’ve sent thousands free masks to charities. “Didn’t sleep all night,” she posted recently on Instagram. “Still working on production with my tailors/managers who put their lives on the line to help the public.”
Toyin Lawani along with her team took to the street of Lagos handing out packaged food items to the public, Toyin noted even if the Coronavirus do not kill people hunger could kill people ravaging those who depend solely on daily earnings as means of survival and livelihood so she decided to help such needy by supporting some homes in Lagos with the handouts.
Toyin Lawani recently wrote; “What most people don’t understand is this , if the virus don’t kill some people , hunger will, You tell people to stay at home yes it’s true they need to so they won’t get the virus and spread it , but what did you do for them so they can stay at home. ? The government really need to hear some people crying and wailing , people are extremely angry in different areas .. it ok for@some people to make silly remarks like stay home but are not in the shoes of these people , smh let’s be guided pls, it’s is hard times for everyone, we all have our own problems too , for me to be out there trying to help doesn’t me I’m invisible ,all rich men don take cover now ekushe 👍
.@uandi_innovative thanks for helping out with ikorodu, I had to send more food items and sanitizer with a boat by 5pm, my team didn’t get back till 1am ,they were stranded there at the jetty for hours, atimes some of us do this things not for recognition but for the fact that we know what it is to be helpless , I have never taken my foundation as one to put in your face , it’s always been me doing the most for people and as usual takers take , giving is to give and not expect anything in return your reward is with God.
If you are still one of the doubting Thomases, who derides Toyin because she’s from Nigeria or for other reasons, simply ask yourself this one question. Which fashion designer globally has created much and/or better awareness on Coronavirus than Toyin Lawani? Toyin Is the Designer who saw the future.Photos Credit: SegunWealth of Tiannah Photo Studio
Designed by @elegantebytiannah styling.
Styled by @tiannahstyling ⭐️
Shot by @segun_wealth of @tiannahsphotostudio ⭐️
Fabric via @classybabesrock ⭐️
Makeup @deydeysoso_ ⭐️
Appliqué via @tiannahsfabricroom