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U.S. celebrates 20 Nigerian fashion designers on completion of leadership programme

U.S. celebrates 20 Nigerian fashion designers on completion of leadership programme

Twenty emerging and mid-career Nigerian fashion designers have been honoured by the United States Consulate General, following their participation in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a flagship U.S government exchange program.

According to a statement by the U.S. consulate, the 20 participants had the unique opportunity to connect with their U.S counterparts and enriched their knowledge of entrepreneurship, business development, and innovation in the U.S. fashion industry. This was facilitated through the virtual IVLP project titled, “Promoting Economic Growth and Trade in the fashion industry.”

The IVLP’s mission is described as giving a first-hand understanding of American society, culture, and politics while fostering long-term professional ties. The IVLP promotes possibilities for economic, professional, and academic collaboration, as well as direct exposure to the American system and values, by exposing existing and future leaders to their professional counterparts in U.S communities.

Claire Pierangelo, U.S. Consul General, in her welcome comments during reception, highlighted that the IVLP program focused on the fashion sector was developed by the US Mission to improve economic and commercial connections between the US and Nigeria via continuous engagement with creative businesses based in Lagos.

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“In the last few years, Nigeria and the United States have witnessed growing cultural ties. This fashion IVLP project is a fantastic example of our strategic economic outreach to Nigeria’s creative industries to further strengthen economic ties through culture and fashion,” she said.

The 20 participants exhibited some of their top-quality designs and fashion accessories during the event. Consul General Pierangelo viewed each of their exhibits and learned about their experiences during the IVLP project.

The Consul General, the statement noted, also made known the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting economic growth and trade in the fashion industry by empowering local fashion designers, to not only thrive in Nigeria’s fashion industry but also to prepare for the global fashion marketplace.

The reception, hosted by Kathleen FitzGibbon, U.S. Chargé d’affaires and Consul General Pierangelo, was attended by guests including Nigeria’s pioneer fashion designer, Shade Thomas-Fahm; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; Mrs Folorunsho Alakija; and former Chairman of Access Bank, Mr Gbenga Oyebode.