BusinessDay

Chioma Nnanna: Designer leading the way in sustainability

From their materials to production to the way they treat their employees, Omazin International has been sustainable from day one it started operations.

Founded by Chioma Nnanna, Omazin International – a fashion business operating in Lagos metropolitan is leading the way in sustainability in the country’s fashion industry.

For Chioma, sustainable fashion is key and her business approach is to incorporate fabric recycling and reuse into the production process to create clothing with minimal environmental impact.

She was inspired by her interest in the fashion and lifestyle industries. Her brief modeling career also inspired her to venture into the fashion kind of business.

“I never really pursued modelling as a career and only modelled occasionally but as an ardent people-watcher and social observer, I was able to pick up on the practices that I admired and those that I didn’t,” she said.

“In 2020, while still in full-time employment, I decided that I wanted to pursue fashion as a business to implement some of the ideas I had developed over the years,” Nnanna explained.

Since starting, the business has continued to grow steadily. A look into the company’s operations shows deep passion and dedication toward bringing meaningful change to the fashion industry and society at large.

Some initiatives, she said, started by the company include its ‘No Fabric Wasted’ program where their scrap fabrics are turned into clothing pieces and sold at lower than their regular prices instead of being disposed of.

Her company also recently announced the forthcoming launch of Opcycled by OMZN, a subset that upcycles donated clothing into new trendy styles.

OMZN’s eco-friendly and people-first vision is outlined in so many other ways, from production to brand communication.

Recently, the company launched its official blog site called The Spiral, where it will share details of its operations, news, insights and stories informed by the fast-paced fashion industry.

The business currently operates via an e-commerce web channel (omazin.shop) and on its social media platforms. A mobile application is planned for release to fully automate the company’s entire operations.

Though OMZN is already building a solid customer base, the company is still in the pre-seed stage and will begin its first round of seed funding in the second quarter of the year.

“Our main catalog, currently, is marketed towards women in Nigeria and the Nigerian/African diaspora between age 25 and 40 who are income earners or business owners,” she said.

“However, supporting projects such as the No Fabric Wasted program targets students and women across demographics who are looking for affordable unique clothing pieces.”

On the business short-term plans, she said OMZN plans to include a gender-neutral line that manufactures clothing that anyone can wear regardless of their gender.

Read also: Chinemerem Nduka: Building successful clothing brand

On its long-term plan, she said the business plans to cater to all markets across the fashion value chain.

On challenges faced in the business, she explained that running a business in the Nigerian market is particularly challenging as there are diverse people with diverse interests so meeting the needs of such a large market can be challenging.

“To maneuver this, we employ creative thinking, innovation, and a listening spirit,” she added.

“Navigating what I call ‘bad habits’ in the fashion industry is also a major challenge for us. Some of these ‘bad habits’ include unreliable tailors and a lack of attention to detail.

“To curb this, we incentivize our tailors with conducive working environments and good pay, and provide strict production guides for them to follow,” she said.

“As we expand and further digitize our operations, we will introduce a mobile application that allows our tailors to stay accountable and meet deadlines,” she explained.

She also hinted that logistics and couriers also pose a major challenge for our business as customers want to receive their orders as quickly as possible and though they try to process orders quickly, the company cannot control the actions of third-party courier partners.