The lobby at the Oriental Hotel Lekki, Lagos, is busy this sunny Thursday morning. The early morning November sun streaks in through the glass window. Everyone here seems to be busy doing something. Some guests are standing in small groups exchanging pleasantries while waiting for the stands to be put up. It is the opening of the 2014 edition of the Nigerian Fashion Week.
Rightly so, the Carlos Rossi stand, foremost American wine brand – famous for its variant Red California, offers visitors an opportunity to have a unique taste of rare blends of the wine while waiting for the show to kick off. The large Carlos Rossi guests to the fashion show took turns to have their blend mixed, while those who had been served sat at the tastefully furnished waiting area.
Carlo Rossi is a globally successful wine brand, occupying number one spot in many of the markets in Nigeria, says Alexandre Carneiro, CEO, Blue Arrow Limited, marketer of Carlos Rossi wine in Nigeria.
It currently sells in 75 countries around the world, including 10 African markets, Russia, Asia and the USA. The Nigerian wine category is developing quickly, as consumers seek to enjoy drinking wine and reflecting their sophistication. Annual wine sales in Nigeria were worth over N120 billion in 2013, and the market is growing at +12 percent YOY (source: Euromonitor 2013).
“We first brought our wines to Nigeria in 2002, and we’ve sold more and more each year. Carlo Rossi is now a leading wine brand, well known and loved by Nigerians. With so much choice, consumers look for well-known brands like Carlo Rossi to offer quality and reassurance. Since launch, we’ve been expanding the number of outlets that sell Carlo Rossi. We are now selling crisp and fruity Carlo Rossi White, sweet and refreshing Carlo Rossi Rosé and deliciously smooth Carlo Rossi Red. Carlo Rossi wines are made from grapes grown in California, USA. With ideal climate and soils, innovative technology and heritage, it’s no wonder that the USA is the number one new world wine region,” according to Carneiro.
Carneiro says Carlos Rossi is a part of the Nigerian Fashion Week because wine and fashion have so many things in common. “The Nigerian Fashion Week has many things to do with Carlos Rossi,” he says. “Carlos Rossi is very international. The brand is present in more than 75 countries, many of them in Africa. Given the connection, it is in the interest of the brand to be a part of the Nigerian Fashion Week. It is a wine that resonates with fashion. In Nigeria, Carlos Rossi brings this affordable style to Nigerians. So, if you put everything together, it is a perfect match, a perfect partnership between Carlos Rossi and the Nigerian Fashion Week.”
Before the final kick off of the day’s show, guests were treated to some of the finest servings of Carlos Rossi at the VIP section situated within the exhibition hall. It was not just about taste and sampling of wine, but a meeting of the avant-garde and edgy, often inspiring and thrilling essence of both fashion and wine.
“People were treated to all the three variants – the red wine that is very smooth,” says Caneiro, “the Rose that has a refreshing taste, the white that is fruity and crisp. So, we understand what Carlos Rossi offers and that is what people were given at the Fashion Week. We tied our offerings to the audience of the Fashion Week. Consumers had the opportunity to have a taste of different blends of the wine. We supported the event with our strong brand Carlos Rossi California Red wine. It is the top selling brand in Nigeria. We had the opportunity to introduce the white wine.”
And so, when the show finally kicked off, C-Ben Touch Fashion collection opened the runway. His collection included male ensemble, top and bottom from men in hues of red, black, white and wine. His pieces were bold, and edgy as he made statement with different African fabrics like Ankara and Adire. His casual collection included fitted top and bottom made of linen fabric.
C-Ben Fashion collection was followed by ChipOdina whose collection was an array of both male and female outfits made of Ankara fabric. Some of the pieces displayed were an inspired retake on audacious 1970s style making an edgy and distinctly masculine sartorial statement with African print.