an alien in town

February 23, 2018

words by: Vane Karolle

Was it not said earlier on that 2018 will be the year of Afrofuturism in film? 

There seems to have been an awakening of extraterrestrial minds in the creative industry (fashion & film specifically) which is seemingly manifesting in projects currently being churned out. Evidently, the usual boy meets girl rom-coms (as per movies) and leggy blonde stunners casually sipping on champagne in designer fits (per fashion campaigns) have been over done and are terribly tired. Could be why creatives are now thinking out side the box, thinking future, literally.

Last heard was Nigerian-American writer, Nnedi Okoroafor's science fiction tale Akata Warriors being adapted into a short film titled Hello Rain by Nigerian director, CJ Fiery Obasi, and while we still await that drop, Nigerian stylist, photographer and artistic director, Daniel Obasi has just debuted his 5-minute long afrofuturistic fashion film titled "An Alien In Town." 

Seeing that Daniel has yet again incorporated otherness into his most recent body of work by way of an emigre does not at all come as a surprise as those who have followed his trajectory as a creative already know of his fondness for creating out of alterity- see: his last visual effort, Illegal, a project influenced by the non-acceptance of the LGBT community in Nigeria, using fashion as his medium. Obasi somehow always manages to put his audience in a state of fantasy as he continuously imagines what a new Africa, more specifically a new Nigeria will look like with all his projects sharing a common message which is - "Fashion as a language for the new Africa".

The exact same message is being conveyed with Obasi's "An Alien In Town" cameo, a tale in which an alien (unnamed) is removed from her rural habitat to embark on an unceremonious voyage around Lagos, Nigeria with a well besuited couple. As the film spans, the alien is depicted to familiarize herself with activities that come naturally to the humans however knotty to her - see alien unnamed learning to eat with a fork,  the intricacies that follow being a female (hair making), getting accustomed to the hustle and bustle of Lagos as she is also made to mount a Danfo bus.

While the cast, location, theatrics, maquillage were all spot on and contributed immensely to the interpretation of Obasi's futuristic vision, the true outstanding element was the styling of the cast evidently done by Obasi. Styles from a special edition collection for Vlisco & Co collaborative series, designed by Nigerian talents Tokyo James and Abiola O. Olusola feature printed separates and brilliant, flamboyant beadings worn on the crown and on the body as well which just goes to the Obasi's statutory message seen in works past - "Fashion as a language for the new Africa." An Alien in Town was captured in effort to impress upon foreigners that fashion is a way of life in contemporary Africa;

“Having this alien in town shows what it feels like for a stranger discovering the energy of African fashion,” Obasi explains. “The film is starting a conversation that will open up to something very refreshing for Vlisco. I want to see young people wear ankara in a different way.”
“It was really about building on the idea of having a stranger who has no idea what African fashion is or what it is like to be in Lagos. I wanted An Alien in Town to document that experience in a very simple everyday scenario that is completely relatable.” said Obasi to I-D Vice magazine

 A statement that makes the location of choice, Lagos, resonate because where better to capture fashion in Africa than the actual fashion capital of the continent?

Also a sheer depiction of Obasi's love for cult sci-fi-fi pictures like Starship Troopers & Avatar, the Lagos-based confirmed growing up on such films saying; “I grew up on Star Wars, it was the perfect synergy of different creatures from across the galaxy. George Lucas is still one of the best things to happen to cinema.”

Art direction, photography and styling | Daniel Obasi 
Models |  Rebecca FabunmiOke Tobi SubomiBenita Ango
Videography | Ugo Oparadike
Videography assistant | Deji Adekoya
Production assistant | Ifeoma Kalu
Composer |  Emmanuel Ejidike
Editor |  Matuluko Robert
Beauty Director | Lauretta Orji
Hairstylist | Happiness Okon