Nigeria fashion parades potential at World Expo in Dubai
Supermodel Naomi Campbell strutted the catwalk at the Burj Khalifa in outfits by renowned Nigerian designers during the Arise Fashion Week (AFW) Friday.
Outstanding African fashion brands are conquering the continent and the world. In doing so, they are also tapping into the continent’s growing lucrative market which is increasingly popular among its middle class who have demonstrated some resilience in the face of the pandemic.
The event which took place at the Armani Hotel was organised in partnership with the ministry of industry, trade and investment to mark Nigeria Day at the Dubai Expo 2020. President Muhammadu Buhari was represented by Niyi Adebayo, the minister of trade.
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African fashion is now considered lucrative. Nigeria’s fashion industry is valued at $4.7 billion, 15 percent of the sub-Saharan market. While still a fraction of the global $1.5 trillion fashion industry, African fashion and models are being acclaimed locally and internationally for adding a diverse culture to the industry. Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, was also present at the event and said over $5 billion was given to support creative industries from film to fashion in the country.
The 15 Nigeria designers featured at AFW greatly contribute to shifting the perception of African fashion. The designers were Lisa Folawiyo, Ituen Basi, Banke Kuku, Huddaya Fadoul Abacha, Adju Thompson, Onalaya Kanyinsola, Taju Ibrahim II, Yutee Rome, Tzar Studios, Odio Mimonet, Kenneth Ize, Lanre Da Silva, Titi Adesa, Syari Bespoke, Ziva Lagos.
They all, in their own personal creative way, prove that fashion is indeed a lucrative sector of the economy and like any industry, the road to success requires passion, vision, creativity, professionalism, determination, discipline, the ability to grow a large African and international network and investment in technology to expand into e-fashion.
While the middle- and upper-class African consumers are growing the profits of the fashion brands, most at the bottom of the pyramid are still stuck in survival mode and can only afford self-made clothing or the neighbourhood’s tailor.
Neighbourhood tailors are often great stylists and with just some coaching, internet connection and a bit of funding, they will up their game for their own growth and the benefit of their consumers and the nation.
Brands such as Maju, TNL (Things Nigerians Love), Lady Biba and TokaToka Lagos, are trying to bridge the gap and offer trendy pieces at prices as low as N2,000 during sales.
Ahead of 2022, the Nigerian fashion industry will continue to face challenging times, especially with risks that the virus may continue to mutate, forcing the world to adapt continuously. The recovery is slow but the African economy is picking up again.