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  • QRATED, Ep. 2: Oge

    QRATED and Oge Araraume sit down to discuss everything QRate and streetwear... QRate's Creative Director delivers her expert opinions and analysis on everything streetwear. Unpacking the cultural importance of budding brands and identity and the long-lasting love affair between luxury design and sneaker culture, Oge examines why QRate is just getting started. Having risen to fame at the helm of the QRate conglomerate - revered for her unique style and elegance of new-wave luxury, Oge has become a creative force in the fashion world. A multifaceted artistic creator, she's worked with multiple brands and creators in the past including Net-A-Porter & Martin Rose. Continuing her work with QRate, Oge continues to innovate streetwear for a new cohort of fashion enthusiasts. Combining strategic prowess with unmatched aesthetic elegance, style and flair, Oge continues to curate and deliver fashion brands and apparel which effortlessly encapsulates the beauty and allure of streetwear. In an era where designs and collaborations barely go beyond standard logo slapping and reworked colour schemes, Oge is proof that staying unique to you, is more important than what is simply accepted. All curated capsules and collections from Oge are available on shopqrate.com. QRATED END.

  • QRATED, Ep.1: Iretidee99

    A spotlight on Iretidayo Zaccheaus Dubbed 'Industry Lion,' Iretidee is the founder of Street Souk - an annual convention that focuses on celebrating the vibrant and growing streetwear culture in Nigeria. Masterfully synthesising Nigeria's vibrant streetwear culture to create a space where creatives can express, enhance and showcase their creativity. Built upon a core philosophy of community & collaboration, Street Souk opts to disrupt the shallow obsession for foreign streetwear brands in favour of nurturing local Nigerian streetwear brands and fostering close relationships with their target audience. To mark Episode 1 of QRATED, we sat down with the company's founder Iretidayo Zaccheaus to talk about her hobbies, inspirations and get her take on the current streetwear market in Nigeria... QRATE: What's inspires you to keep Street Souk going? IZ: The brands make Street Souk what it is. Seeing the growth of brands from the 1st year to the 3rd year. Their success stories and how they completely reach a new target audience, and they say, "yeah, it's because of Street Souk." Opening doors for them, helping them achieve their objectives, Street Souk put them in a position where they can collaborate with another brand, which then elevated them etc. Just coming to Street Souk and seeing what other creative people are doing also. I feel like, that's the main motivation for me. Seeing the brands and the community grow together. QRATE: What are your thoughts on the integration of streetwear and high fashion in Nigeria? IZ: In Nigeria, I wouldn't really say it's gotten to the level it is everywhere else but then you've got brands like Ashluxe that are really redefining streetwear. There's a lot of potential and room for growth. It's definitely growing but we're not quite there yet. QRATE: Why do you think this is? IZ: There's really only 1 brand that has got the facilities and resources to produce luxury streetwear. Cause luxury streetwear is about the thread, the materials and where you source it from etc. So yeah, it's different. QRATE: How far away do you think brands in Nigeria and Africa are from achieving this? IZ: It depends a lot on the GDP [Gross Domestic Product] of the country. What's the point of selling $500 t-shirts that only 2 people can afford, when you can sell $50 t-shirts that 500 people can afford. QRATE: Do you think it's a matter of price-setting and strategy that's limiting the Nigerian streetwear industry? IZ: First and foremost, it'll depend on the vision and idea of the brand. Do you want a streetwear brand, or do you want a luxury streetwear brand? I'll give you an example. Off-white and Supreme are not the same. Off-white is a luxury streetwear brand, high-fashion brand, it is owned by New Guard, based out of Italy. Whereas you have Supreme, it's real skate culture. Real skateboarders. Real skaters. So they are not going to have the same price point. Supreme t-shirts and an Off-white t-shirt are not going to be the same quality either. These are important things to remember. Personally, I feel like I'm still in the streetwear-streetwear scene. It's just more of what I like. It feels more original, authentic, unforced. QRATE: What would you prefer for a Nigerian brand? IZ: It's up to everyone's preference really - it's not about what I prefer. But personally, I feel like I'm still in the streetwear-streetwear scene. It's just more of what I like. It feels more original, authentic, unforced. Do you know what I mean? With a lot of luxury streetwear brands, it's getting to a point where you're creating something for a certain consumer base but they're not really about this culture like that, so what's really going on here? But hey, that's a conversation for another day. QRATE: What's the end goal for Street Souk? IZ: I just want Street Souk to be the driving force of African streetwear. Not Nigeria, but Africa as a whole. Broadening the African streetwear community. For example, you've got the Japanese streetwear community, which is crazy. Everybody wants a taste. Everyone's wearing BAPE [Bathing Ape] now. Why? Because it's fire, it's cool. Pharrell and those guys were wearing it back then, brought it back to America and it went crazy. So why can't that happen with African streetwear? Because there's also stuff that brands like Supreme have created that we can see where they get their patterns from. Making Ankara t-shirts, that's Nigeria, that's Africa. So we've got the authenticity, we've got the resources - to an extent. Everything I think we need to be on that level, we've got it. So why not. They steal everything from us, it's crazy! QRATED END.

  • #EndSARS THE REVOLUTION LED BY NIGERIAN YOUTHS

    Oct 1, 2020. Nigerians around the world celebrated Independence Day. The day Nigeria gained her independence from the United Kingdom on 1 October 1960. Oct 3, 2020. Nigerians around the world unify to amplify the social movement in Nigeria that started on Twitter, calling for banning of the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS), a unit of the Nigerian Police Force. What is SARS? The Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) was a branch of the Nigeria Police Force under the State Criminal Investigation and Intelligence Department (SCIID). The Squad came into being in 1992. The squad was created as a faceless police unit that performs undercover operations against crimes associated with armed robbery, car snatching, kidnapping and crimes associated with firearms. SARS has been alleged to be engaged in human right abuses, illegal stop and search, illegal arrest and detention, extrajudicial killings, sexual harassment of women and brutalizing many young Nigerians. The human rights abuses of SARS are seen in trending videos on social media. #EndSARS In 2017, Segun Awosanya actively took up the #ENDSARS campaign on social media alongside other activists and it later culminated into advocacies and protests in a call to end the police brutality and scrap the notorious police unit. On Saturday 3 October 2020, a video started trending on social media showing a SARS police officer shoot a young Nigerian in front of Wetland Hotel, Ughelli, Delta State. It was alleged that the police officers took away the young man's vehicle - a Lexus SUV. The trending video caused the resurgence and amplification of the #EndSARS movement - especially on Twitter. The campaign resonated with young people all around the country as they are main the victims of the SARS abuse. Widespread protests over Nigeria's hated Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars) are a sign that the country's massive young population is finding its voice and demanding reforms in Africa's most populous country, which has been characterised by poor governance since its independence 60 years ago. As protests were continued in different parts of the world on 11 October 2020, Nigeria's inspector general of police, Mohammed Abubakar Adamu, announced that SARS was being dissolved. But protests continued in Lagos, Abuja and Kwara on Monday, with young Nigerians saying they would continue to take to the streets until the entire police force was reformed. In reality, it goes beyond just the disbandment of SARS, because the wave of protests has given a platform to a section of the country's young population - who are dissatisfied with the consistently bad, inadequate and incompetent system of government they have been accustomed to their whole lives. What have I benefited from this country since I was born?" asked Victoria Pang, a 22-year-old graduate, who was at one of the protests in the capital, Abuja - and one of the many women who have been at the forefront of the demonstrations. "Our parents say there was a time when things were good, but we have never experienced it," she said. THE YOUTH ARE TAKING BACK THE POWER These peaceful protests - organised by the youth, led by the youth and executed by the youth feel that this is the beginning of something special - a revolution you might say. More than 60% of Nigeria's population is less than 24 years old, according to UN population figures. Although there is a high level of organisation, the #EndSARS movement and its supporters are adamant there is no one leader but rather, everyone who supports the movement is a leader. They have been able to pull together everything from water, food and banners to arranging bail for those arrested. Money has been raised through crowdsourcing - some of the donations have come from abroad, mostly from Nigerian IT firms, whose staff are easy targets of profiling by security personnel. Gone are the days where football, reality TV, social media etc. are the priority. Our eyes are open! We care about our future! We are our future! What can you do? You can support and stand together with our brothers and sisters in Nigeria against police violence, too: Donate to the fight against police oppression and brutality Share news about Nigeria and SARS on your social media platforms Stay educated and up-to-date on the news and protests in Nigeria Read more at: https://www.vanguardngr.com/2020/10/five-demands-from-endsars-protesters/

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