Like Afrobeats and Nigerian Jollof rice that have become globally recognised, the Nigeria Fashion industry also needs to take it’s place in the global space.
For this to happen, the young ones and fashion entrepreneurs need to understand the history of fashion, the place of fashion in Africa and how to position themselves to be ready for partnerships with international brands.
This is why the Fashioned Museum, a fashion-oriented organisation committed to making fashion accessible, inclusive, and sustainable, held its maiden ‘Bridging the Gap’ event, a vibrant celebration of Africa’s rich fashion heritage, and a catalyst for fashion’s promising future.
Held recently in Lagos, ‘Bridging the Gap’ event is a call-to-action to connect, learn, and envision a brighter, more inclusive and sustainable fashion world. The immersive experience united fashion enthusiasts, industry professionals, and aspiring fashionistas to bridge the gap between the rich history of African fashion and its promising future.
Speaking at the event, Tejumola Maurice-Diya, Principal and Founder of The Fashioned Museum said Bridging the Gap is an event that she plans to have annually to essentially catch people at the grass root level.
According to her, the morning (first) session which is targeted towards students is to help them identify who they are and embrace themselves as Nigerians and Africans.
“Very often there are negative associations that can be made with being Nigerians and for me it was very important yo help the students understand that every single country in this world has negative associations but it all depends on what you choose to focus on.
“So, for me it was important to change that narrative to help the students recognise that they need to focus on the bright side of things. They need to embrace being Africans and Nigerian. They should be able to know that their dreams are valid at the end of the day and they have a place in the world,” Maurice-Diya said.
At the beginning of the session a presentation was done that helped walk the students through the actual history of Africa before the history of African fashion.
In going through the history of Africa in general, the natural resources, the food and culture in general were talked about so that the students know what Africa represents.
“We also went into African fashion aspect. We helped them see that there is a right place for them to be able to express themselves through fashion or whatever they want to do.
“This was targeted at students that were passionate about fashion in general and helping them recognise that they can be successful in whatever they choose to do and have the right mindset towards achieving their goals.”
She explained that the second part of the event is specifically targeted towards business owners in the fashion industry, some of whom are new to the fashion scene and are thinking about ways that they can scale their businesses and strategically position themselves to be ready for partnerships with international brands.
“We have speakers that spoke on various fashion concerns. From the legal perspective, we are looking at things you need to do to ensure you are ready for the future. How do you ensure people don’t steal your designs? Jollof rice and afro beats are gradually being recognized in the world. Now it is time for Nigerian fashion to take it’s place in Africa. We are highly creative and there is a place for us.
She said the speakers are people that are established, people that have successfully done fashion and those who uses African prints and designs.
The event featured appearances by renowned fashion experts, designers and thought leaders, like Lisa Folawiyo, Emmy Kasbit, spoken words artists Ibquark, amongst others who provided unique insights into the future of the fashion industry, while answering questions concerning the future of fashion and career guide from the students. It also featured a historical heritage and pioneers of fashion in Africa and their massive contribution to the industry over the years.
Part two of Bridging the Gap” conference is a call-to-action to connect, learn, and envision a brighter, more inclusive and sustainable fashion world. It featured a line up of seasoned speakers fashion insiders including Designer Ejiro Amos-Tafiri, Ex Beauty Queen and social media influencer Powede Awujo, Founder Heritage Apparels, Abisade Adenubi, Ugo Monye and Emmy Kasbit, stressing on issues of Branding and sustainability Branding and Sustainability in the industry. It was a very well rounded event that helped people look at the holistic dynamics of running a successful fashion business.
Speaking on the Fashioned Museum, Maurice-Diya said the Fashioned Museum stem from the fact that she is a fashion historian who walks people through the history of fashion and help them see the difference between the history and the future.
She said the Fashioned Museum is an accumulation of beautiful history in general of what Nigeria does and what its people can offer as Africans, adding that it is a collection of the years past and the future to come.