On social media, there has been the hashtag #buyNigerian. The hash tag is self-explanatory- it encourages people to buy Nigerian products. The recently concluded Lagos Fashion and Design Week brought the “buy Nigerian” thought back to my mind. Looking at pictures of models strutting in clothing designed by Nigerian designers such as Maki Oh and Zainab Ashadu highlighted the viability of patronising Nigerian fashion labels. These fashion brands not only appeal to the Nigerian market, they are also attracting international attention as featured on Vogue and Business of Fashion.
I love the rise of Nigerian brands because it is a way of growing local talent and indigenous companies.We can only look to the future to see the positive impact these businesses would have on the Nigerian economy in terms of its creation of jobs and income. The British fashion industry contributed £26bn to the UK GDP and supporting the Nigerian fashion industry could provide generous contributions to the Nigerian GDP.
It is time that Nigeria is seen not just as a major oil producer or a country where there is conflict in the Northern parts of Nigeria. Not to say that these images are not valid, but there is more to Nigeria. There is a growing fashion industry in Nigeria and this should be recognised. Not everyday, bad news about Nigeria, some days lets celebrate the successes in Nigeria.
I can only hope that the Nigerian government supports this industry by developing the country’s infrastructure- power supply, transport links… so that Nigerian fashion businesses can thrive. E-commerce fashion businesses in Nigeria would benefit from well-managed postal services as this may lower their delivery costs. Lower delivery costs could mean cheaper prices. I know I am not always willing to pay a lot for delivery when I buy things online so I am sure that there would people like me who would be willing to pay less for delivery and receive their the goods they purchase on line on time.
I would love to see this industry grow and I hope to patronise Nigerian fashion brands more because of what they stand for in the African market places.