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French embassy launches Lagos x Paris fashion accelerator for Nigerian creatives

French embassy launches Lagos x Paris fashion accelerator for Nigerian creatives

The French Embassy in Nigeria has unveiled the “Lagos x Paris Fashion & Design Accelerator,” a nine-month program running from October 2023 to June 2024. It is designed to support ten high-potential Nigerian brands in the fashion and design industry.

The ten brands selected for the 2023-2024 cohort are diverse, spanning fashion, accessories, and design. They include Lagos Space Programme, TJWHO Design, OBIDA, EKI KERE, ELEXIAY, WAF – Wafflesandcream Limited, MALIKO, Ethnic Africa, OMI Collective, and Aga Design and Culture Limited.

This accelerator program aims to provide close mentorship, enhance creativity, strengthen business acumen, and guide emerging Nigerian creatives in navigating the French and global fashion landscape. Emphasizing cultural preservation, sustainability, and cross-cultural collaborations, the initiative aims to equip creatives with the skills necessary for long-term financial growth.

According to Emmanuelle Blatmann, the French ambassador to Nigeria, “Aso – oke,” “Adire,” “Ukara,” and “indigo of Kano” resonate with Nigeria’s rich textile and design heritage. The program celebrates this creativity while fostering sustainable practices and cross-cultural connections. “The primary goal is not only to develop the entrepreneurial skills of ten Nigerian brands but also to facilitate their entry into the French market through participation in key events,” she said.

The “Lagos x Paris Fashion & Design Accelerator” is a component of the larger “Création Africa” program, announced by French President Emmanuel Macron in February 2023. This initiative aims to bolster support and resources for creative and cultural industries worldwide through the French diplomatic network.

The program’s curriculum, developed in collaboration with French and African experts, as well as Nigeria’s creative industry incubator CCHUB, includes group and individual training, mentoring, and masterclasses, amounting to over 120 hours per brand. It also offers professional trips to Paris to connect with industry leaders and events.

Read also: France commits to supporting French language in Lagos public schools

“The official launch of this initiative is set to take place in Paris from October 6 to 8, 2023, featuring talents from animation, video games, and cinema,” Blatmann said. “The French Embassy in Nigeria has allocated a €1.2 million fund to support entrepreneurs in Nigeria’s cultural and creative industries, with a particular focus on design, fashion, video games, audiovisuals, and dance.”

This program reflects the growing importance of the cultural and creative industries in Nigeria, with a focus on building partnerships, exchanging expertise, and providing specialised training.

“Nigerian designers and fashion artists are reshaping global aesthetics while challenging single narratives about Africa and Nigeria,” Blatmann added. “The “Création Africa” program aims to promote economic benefits and cultural exchanges between Africa and France.”