Fashion- An industry that can shape the Nigerian Image

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.

6 thoughts on “Fashion- An industry that can shape the Nigerian Image

  1. An Afrikan Butterfly

    I was excited about the rise of Nigerian fashion brands in the beginning- or at least since I became aware of them in 2005/2006 however that has faded. I'm happy to see them in Vogue and stuff & I truly appreciate the art of some of them BUT everybody is doing avant garde, everybody is doing high fashion. Where are the everyday brands? Where is our Nigerian Forever 21? I know there's a lot involved o, but it's worth thinking about. If I'm being entirely honest I'm not really on the #buyNigerian wave because no shade to them but… Too many brands out here with “luxe” and “premium” in their tag line. If fashion is really going to be as big as Nollywood in the country, we have to see a rise in fashion for the masses. And even if they have the government support, I'm not convinced that our Nigerian designers are willing to go this route. We have a few pioneers though (I just wish there were more)

    Reply
  2. Tunrayo A.

    I think Nigerian designers may consider this route if they see it as profitable. I wonder if they are prepared to expand their business to cater to a wide market. There is the Bank of Industry 1 billion Naira fund which is going towards supporting the fashion industry. It would be useful if the funds are used to support fashion businesses to increase their capacity to produce fashion goods that would appeal to the average Nigerian. Luxury fashion goods only appeal to a certain proportion of Nigerians so there is clearly a need for a rise in production of fashion goods catered to the mass Nigerian population. I think it would reduce the need of buying imported clothing or shoes when local fashion enterprises are providing what the people want.

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  3. Eniola Bayowa

    My only problem with the Nigerian fashion industry is their exorbitant prices, like why charge balmain prices when you're still trying to gain an audience. I'm not saying their designs aren't on the same level aesthically and in quality. The first audience should be Nigerians and if they can't afford it, then something is wrong. Another thing is the availability for purchase, I am in love with jewel by Lisa but the only place where I see it can be bought is their store in Lagos and it's the same for other brands, there's no presence online (except a few lookbooks, but what use is a lookbooks if you can't buy anything from it). These two things are very important and I feel they are impeding the growth of this illustrious industry. If any fashion house wants to take me up as a business consultant just contact me, lol! Xx

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  4. Tunrayo A.

    There are some Nigerian brands that are sold online. You can check zerefashionhouse.com, laviye.com and I think Asos sells Virgos Lounge which I believe is a brand started by Nigerians. I would highly recommend Zere Fashion House because it sells a wide range of clothing that are not too expensive and Laviye because I've bought jewellery from Laviye and it's affordable

    Reply
  5. Eniola Bayowa

    Yep I know about virgos lounge but they don't have the ones that are on sale on their site on asos. Plus shipping to the U.S. from the U.K is expensive and to return it is more expensive. I'll check laviye though

    Reply
  6. La Viye

    Tunrayo thank you for this insightful post! I think it's definitely something we as fashion designers need to consider but there's a whole lot that goes into the costs of making items for sale.. But I guess that's another blog post 😊 Thank you so much for recommending us, we'll definitely put your ideas into consideration!

    With love,
    L'aviye xoxo

    http://www.laviye.com

    Reply

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