Soulful Soundtracks and Hedonistic Dance Houses: A Lagos Adventure with Designer Yinka Ash

Lagos-born streetwear designer Yinka Ash takes us on a tour around his hometown, sharing his favourite brunch spots, hedonistic dance houses and a secret spot only locals know about

Lagos-born designer Yinka Ash is the face and force behind Ashluxe - the seriously cool streetwear label helping to redefine African fashion. Looking back to his early influences, Ash recalls watching his family dance to Lagos' famously flamboyant beats. "Music was, and still is, considered a celebration - something rooted at the core of the city's communities," he explains. "As a child, the funk-inspired tracks of Ebenzer Obey, King Sunny Adé and Fela Kuti would always be on repeat. I'd watch my family style themselves in bold, indigenous fabrics and accessories, moving to the rhythm of the song, working to find the right outfit."

Ash's relationship with fashion goes far deeper than current trends, with the quality and craftsmanship of his designs speaking volumes and the brand's meteoric success having raised the profile of Lagos' creative scene on the world stage. Keen to spend a weekend in Nigeria's grooviest city, we caught up with the designer to get his recommendations.

Designer Yinka Ash's insider guide to Lagos, Nigeria

Yinka Ash Headshot
Ashluxe, June

A portrait of the designer, left, and some colourful Ashluxe garms.

Describe the Lagos vibe.

Lagos is a vibrant, free-spirited city that never sleeps. The hustle and bustle will keep you on your toes and make for a truly memorable stay.

Where should we stay in town?

If you want to connect with the city's history, stay in Surulere; for shopping, the Ikeja and Victoria Island neighbourhoods are best. If you want to have fun, make tracks to Lekki's Yacht Hotel - an artsy abode presenting sweeping vistas of the lagoon.

Where's best for breakfast?

The Flowershop Café is amazing for brunch. My order is the avocado and poached eggs on toast, with their signature pineapple kale smoothie. Have an acai bowl to cap it, too.

Lagos, Nigeria
Lagos, Nigeria

The sun-drenched streets of the city, alongside a delicious acai bowl.

What about a dazzling dinner?

Kaly Restaurant. I love the aesthetic there [the restaurant has an open-air terrace decked out with velvet chairs, bamboo sofas and gilded tables]. It's the perfect spot to enjoy a lunchtime meal. The live band performances, combined with an amazing view of the sunset over the Atlantic, makes it a multi-sensory experience.

Give us a run-down on the local bar scene.

My Favourite bars are RSVP and WBar. I love art and, aside from the killer cocktails and top-notch playlists, both addresses have an authentic ambience that makes them a cut above the rest. WBar is a water-facing lounge in the heart of Lagos, offering a flavour-filled, carefully curated menu - plus, undisturbed views of Lagos Lagoon. RSVP is an ultra-luxe bar-restaurant in Victoria Island. It's one of my all-time favourite restaurants for fresh-from-the-ocean seafood and chocolate fondant. It's also a great place to spend a Friday night, thanks to its resident DJ mixing nostalgic tunes with contemporary Afrobeats. The cocktails and mocktails are pretty great, too.

What about a night out?

My typical night out starts at Zaza, before heading to the neon-lit rooms at The Library. Obi's House has a laid-back vibe on Mondays.

Nigeria, Lagos
Obis House

A fisherman hauling nets in Victoria Island, left, and scenes at Obi's House. | Photo credit: Alucardion / and Buchwithlenses / Obi's House.

Any recommendations for a late-night food stop?

It's got to be Jay's Diner. The sensation crepe is my go-to, but they also rustle up chicken stir-fry and beef shawarma hot dogs.

How should we spend a weekend in the city?

Saturdays should start with breakfast at NOK, followed by a tropical trip to Lekki's Conservation Centre and a wander around the Nike Art Gallery. If you're in town on a Sunday, hop on a boat from Bics Garden to one of the boat houses on Banana Island. End the weekend in style with a drink at Miliki.

What's a suitable album to load up for a walk around Lagos?

For a walk or drive, Made in Lagos by Wizkid is your answer.

Bre Graham
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