Weeks ago, we made this daring statement; ‘Nigeria Fashion Industry is the next big thing’. The statement just got re-enforced by the theme of the Africa Fashion Reception scheduled for July 3rd and July 5th at Yenogoa, Bayelsa state. The theme for the event states “Africa is the new inspiration of global fashion”. It is not a bogus statement as indices proves it to be true.
The Nigerian Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, says Bayelsa has won the hosting right for the 2014 African Fashion Reception. Report by ThisDay on June 21, 2014, says that “The event will feature over 40 notable designers from Africa and about 120 international fashion and textile designers from across the world”.
The event promises to be a stepping stone that will establish the Nigerian fashion industry in the global scene. After the quantum leap that the Nigerian economy took a few months ago that brought the Nigeria economy to the fore in Africa, attention has been heavy on developing the creative industry. As a result, the government has been actively involved in boosting the creative industry because analyses showed that it was the major catalyst that brought Nigeria to its present economic status.
Government’s Stance in the Nigerian Fashion Industry
The stance of the Nigerian government to revamp the fashion industry and make it a world class standard is evident in this move. With the potential of the fashion industry, Nigerian government aims at using the Africa Fashion Reception as a vehicle to develop the creative industry.
One of such aims is to build bridges by creating free trade and partnerships among fashion practitioners throughout the African continent. This is made evident from the number of participants. The current agenda of the government is to use the Nigerian fashion industry as a pilot to drive the other creative industry.
Another aim of the government is to attract global attention to Africa’s (Nigeria) very rich and diversified dress culture which can be explored as a catalyst for the social economic growth of the continent’s garment/textile industry. One of the richness of Nigeria’s cultural heritage is found in the mode of dressing. These dresses are one of the unique features that mark an ethnic group from the other. With over 250 ethnic groups in Nigeria means over 250 dress cultures that are yet to be explored. These rich untapped areas of dress culture are one of Africa Fashion reception aim of exploring.
The fashion fair is also aimed at expanding the potential power of fashion as a tool for fighting poverty in Nigeria by creating wealth through the empowerment of women and youths in the various fashion vocations through training, capacity building schemes, workshops and setting up of medium/small scale businesses thereby supporting the United Nations Millennium Development Goals mission of halving global poverty by 2020.
The Nigerian government also wants to bring about self-reliance as the initiative will create millions of jobs across the continent for Tailors, Creative Directors, Textile designers, Models, Cutters, Pressers, Fashion Photographers & Writers, Hair Stylists, Make-up Artists etc
the bottom line is to further develop African economies by creating the biggest and most profitable African fashion and lifestyle trade and investment initiative for global patronage.
The Hot Sauce for Investors
There can’t be a better time to invest in the fashion industry in Nigeria than now. The world fashion organisation desires to establish a fashion University in Nigeria for the whole world as an aftermath of the event. This initiative will automatically sign Nigerian fashion industry on the world map of fashion.
Succinct investors can take advantage of this wave in a number of ways;
1. Production of Fabrics: As an investor, you can begin to look at investing in Nigerian textile as that will be the basic raw feeder of the fashion industry.
2. Distribution: An investor can also look at the distribution aspect of Nigerian fabrics.
3. Creative/Design: An investor may also choose to own designs and labels. The need for an indigenous label will be key to promoting the Nigerian and Africa fashion industry. The era of Hugo Boss, T.M Lewin, Gucci, etc is gradually coming to end.
4. Sales/Marketing: Investing as a major distributor is also another viable option for an investor.
As the count down for African Fashion Reception begins, count down for investment into the Nigerian fashion industry should begin also because the time now!