The nation’s fashion industry has in recent times turned out to be a big money spinner, especially for folks who ply their trade in that bubbly sector.
Prior to the upsurge in the clientele for its colorful products, the nation’s fashion industry was in a near state of limbo.
But through the bold exploits of “haute couture’’ fashion designer, Deola Sagoe and others, the nation’s fashion industry is beginning to make its impact felt in places that matter in the global fashion community.
Sagoe and her daughters’ label “Clan’’ just finished their Mercedes Benz Fashion Week showcase in New York. The runway show concluded a while ago at “The Salon’’ at Lincoln Centre, New York displayed exquisite collections that are both absolutely breath-taking.
The joint showcase kicked off with Deola’s label showcasing a number of beautiful Spring/Summer 2015 pieces, which will in essence titillate the palates of fashionistas.
For those Nigerians that are predisposed to exotic fabrics and labels, Sagoe’s locally combined fabrics, which are usually customised will surely live up to the expectations of the nation’s elite.
The trend has consequently expanded the potential of the nation’s fashion industry tremendously and created boundless opportunities for the upcoming generation.
Mrs. Fumi Ladipo-Ajila, the President of Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), says that the nation’s fashion industry is worth about N2 trillion and it is capable of attracting investors into the industry “because it is juicy“.
“I can boldly say that Nigeria’s fashion industry is worth over N2 trillion, but we have yet to tap into all the potential because of the cost of production which is aggravated by poor power supply.
“Our population in Nigeria, I must say, is one of the advantages we have in the fashion industry because it provides the platform for our works.
“The fashion industry is so lucrative, in spite of the crippled state of the textile companies which was once the second major employer of labour,’’ Ladipo-Ajila said.
She urges the Federal Government to establish a production hub and a retail store that could accommodate about 70,000 tailors and designers.
“The production hub will serve as a meeting place for all stakeholders in the fashion industry and all finished items will be displayed in the centralised retail store for customers to buy.
“The government can support us by providing funds, landed asset or tailoring equipment for the success of the hub,’’ she said.
Ladipo-Ajila adds that the Textile, Garment and Footwear sub-sector currently accounts for 0.47 per cent (N380 billion) of Nigeria’s rebased Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Mrs. Temilola Akintayo, the Managing Director, De-Image Creation and Fashion School, says the fashion industry could be used to reduce unemployment in the country.
She notes that the industry, if well harnessed will be one of the largest employers of labour in the country because of its vast potential.
Akintayo says that there are job opportunities in bead and craft making, fashion designing, stylist and creativity, among others.
She adds that the sector is endowed with talented and gifted individuals who are capable of using their natural endowment to create jobs and also to earn a living.
“If the government can properly channel funds to the industry, it will be the highest employer of labour and it will generate high income,’’ she said.
Mrs. Tope Olanre-Alade, an Afro Style designer, urged the Federal Government to assist in providing soft loans for practitioners to assist in improving their creativity.
“Such loans will assist fashion designers to produce quality fabrics and also make good clothing.
“It will also assist stylists to obtain quality machines for mass production and also boost manpower.
“Such a move will fetch the federal and state government’s huge revenue,’’ she said.
Olanre-Alade says that it is high time for Nigerians to show pride in their African fashion and style, both at home and abroad.
“Most of the foreign artists — actors and actress — wear African attires to shoot their videos and to perform on stage.
“What that means is that Africa style has taken its position internationally.
“Such trends will increase foreign exchange earnings and also increase Gross Domestic Product (GDP),’’ she said.
She, however, urged the Federal Government to create an enabling environment for investors for the fashion industry to thrive.
Mrs. Queen Ahneva, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Wearable Art Gallery, urged the Federal Government and other investors to show more interest in the fashion industry.
She says that investing in the sector will aid further progress as the country’s fashion industry was beginning to compete favourably with its foreign counterparts.
“Stakeholders in the Nigerian fashion industry are of the opinion that the sector has begun to deliver on its mandate.
“Since fashion industry is one of the biggest employers of labour around the world, the quality of Africa style is competing with international standards.
“The major challenge that the industry is facing is funding; most fashion designers go out of business due to insufficient funds.
“If the government can address that area, it will boost the nation’s GDP,’’ she said.
Ahneva said the government would get huge returns on their investment.
With the entertainment industry playing a critical part in rebasing of the nation’s GDP in 2014, the onus is now on the government to provide a viable platform for the fashion industry to thrive unhindered and to sustain revenue growth in the sector.

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