Finding the perfect red carpet dress at the AMVCA runway show

The AMVCAs might be over but with my outfits, there is always a story. This time, it is about how the AMVCA Runway show saved me from the biggest wardrobe malfunction. I found the perfect dress for the award show happening the next day right on the runway. 

Inspiration behind the AMVCA runway show

“Empowering young designers to show their craft to the world on a big fashion stage” is the inspiration behind the AMVCA Runway show. “That’s a push every talented designer should have access to and this allows me to create that accessibility in the industry” says show producer and chief creative director Atafo Official, Mai Atafo

The AMVCA Runway show is a competition organised as part of the Africa Magic Viewer’s Choice Awards where emerging designers are invited to showcase their work and compete for a cash prize. Applications are sent in applications via video and shortlisted designers partake in a series of mentoring sessions and briefings on their tasks for the runway show. Atafo explains that “This interaction builds their confidence in understanding a design brief and executing it excellently”. 

The runway show is packed with sponsored tasks that give all the designers equal chances at winning some money. They have a chance to design, execute from sketch to runway, with Atafo’s guidance, and win a cash endowment at the end. As with most aspects of the AMVCA’s the runway show invites the audience to participate by voting live during the finale showcase event using a barcode that redirects them a special voting site. I was invited to attend the finale showcase, which I found interesting, and I eagerly voted for my favourite designs even while I was having a major outfit crisis.  

Let me tell you the intense craziness that was my search for the perfect AMVCA dress as a fashion editor.

The nominee gala/runway show outfit

From the moment I got the invite confirmation, I was hard pressed to find a dress as soon as possible. There was no time to waste especially as I was also planning our coverage of the event. I was too busy to attend to both simultaneously, so I delegated the task to a brand I had worked with in the past for Fashion Week. MIN Slayers is a community that promotes and celebrates Nigerian fashion brands.  

We put out a call and brands responded, I only had to communicate the designs I wanted and have them sent to me. We settled on three brands to make two outfits for the Nominee gala/Runway show and the award ceremony. This, unfortunately, was the beginning of so much chaos. Although, most of the fault was mine, because I was unable to make time to go for fittings with any of these brands.

The silk pants for the Nominee Gala came first, it was a perfect fit so I was quite optimistic. Then the designer for the award dress called to say the fabric we got wasn’t a match for the design I chose. We had to change fabric two days before the award ceremony. We did that and I was assured I would get the outfit the next day.

The blouse I was to pair with the silk pants was delivered the morning of the AMVCA Runway show. Nothing worked, from the design to the and down to the fitting. I could not afford to waste any time so I picked another blouse from my wardrobe and called it a day.

The Perfect AMVCA Dress

On the day of the runway showcase, I arrived at the apartment I was using as a temporary accommodation with a pounding head but I had to dress up quickly, I would make the showcase on time. Before I left for the Runway Show, my dress for the award was delivered and I excitedly tried it on to more disappointment. 

The dress did not fit, the design was not flattering to my body, and it was too late to fix it. I called some designer friends to find an alternative, nothing was forthcoming in such short notice. I got to the event and shared my dilemma with a friend on the production team for the AMVCA Runway Show. She was incredibly gracious and offered to loan me a dress from the finale looks. That is where I found the loveliest beaded dress on a gorgeous model just glistening and beckoning for my attention. It was love at first site and I immediately texted my friend “The blue dresssss”.  It was also in the color I initially wanted to wear, you can imagine my excitement. 

The most hilarious thing about this is, the designer was one of the people who reached out to MIN Slayers initially, but we did not go with her brand. If that’s not fate, I don’t know what it is. 

Creating significant fashion moments from the AMVCA runway show

As the producer of the show, Mai loves that he gets to “mentor young designers and help them get a hang of this. Being able to create the AMVCA Red carpet installation with some of the previous best dressed looks is also my way of highlighting the significance of those fashion moments and inspiring more people to bring the heat to the carpet, something that people look forward to like the fashion moments from the MET Gala red carpet.”

The creativity of these designers was a pleasant surprise, and I became an instant fan of the brand whose outfit I wore because of her bold choices. It turned out to be the best decision as a last-minute fitting backstage of the runway show proved what I already thought; that “water inspired” dress was made for me. I am glad I was able to fulfill my wish of wearing Nigerian brands for my first AMVCA.

Outfit Details

Nominee Gala

Blouse- Chic By PurpleDot

Pants- Seamstress Lagos

Bag- Lola Adeoti

Make up- Deborah Okhai (debrabeatit)

Award Night

Dress- FBI Wears & Styling

Hair- The Belle Store

Makeup- Oyinkansola Owoborode (HoneyGlaze)

Accessories- Accessories By Morgan

Photos- By Oyindamola

Location- 99 Apartments


  • Wumi 'Tuase

    Fashion & Beauty Editor. Wumi holds a PR major with over a decade experience in the media; from print to broadcast and now digital media. Fashion is her passion and she sees Beauty in everything. Some of her favorite things are: a two piece set, white wine, beach days, thrift shopping & cheesy romcoms.

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