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
A portrait of the designer, left, and some colourful Ashluxe
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
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
Where’s best for breakfast?
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.
The sun-drenched streets of the city, alongside a delicious
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
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?
A fisherman hauling nets in Victoria Island, left, and
scenes at Obi’s House. | Photo credit: Alucardion /
Shutterstock.com 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
For a walk or drive, Made in Lagos by Wizkid is your answer.