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So it’s been a very colorful week in the bustling city of Lagos, Nigeria. The fashion and design week has seen a lot of street styles and amazing runway presentation from various African designers.
I remember the first time I considered renting a stall for the week. Not sure what year exactly but I was in Italy at the time and was planning my trip back to Nigeria the same time the fashion week was supposed to begin.
Well of course I didn’t rent because they wanted me to pay an exorbitant amount of money for a space that wasn’t even in the event hall.
Now I get that sometimes you need to dish out a ton of money to get recognized at events such as these but hell….c’mon now.
So anyways, Lagos fashion and design week right? The photos are all over the internet and some of the outfits that hit the runway were incredibly amazing and it shows how the fashion scene in Nigeria has evolved in such a good way. Events like this one brings out the potentials of great people. People who don’t need to feel that they can’t make it in Africa with the ideas they have.
For too long, the famous four major cities have sort of crippled smaller cities into thinking they can’t grow in the fashion universe and that’s certainly not their fault. They are called major cities for a good reason oder? But the good thing is that smaller cities are definitely stepping up.
Now the whole concept of fashion week if you didn’t know is that designers showcase their next season outfits in advance for coverage and sales. Another major reason for fashion week is to give retailers the chance to buy or slip in the designers into their retail marketing. Zum Beispiel, autumn and winter collection get shown in February/March while spring/summer collection is September/October hence ss17 for example.
Why am I bringing this up? Well I did rant about this in an old post so I have no qualms grumbling about it again!
In Nigeria, we do not have these seasons. So when a Nigerian designer creates a collection to show in Nigeria and calls it spring/summer, it annoys me. There are only two seasons in Nigeria. The rainy and then the dry season. In the dry season comes the famous harmattan dust from the sahara desert.
Summer isn’t actually bad as a season term because hell, it’s pretty hot in Nigeria. But imagine that you go for a runway show in Lagos and the collection is SS 2016. Am I the only one freaking out here?
What happened to making use of the seasons we have? I mean sure it’s kind of silly to say rainy2017 or dry 2017 right? Sure it is but people are creative in Nigeria so coming up with an appropriate term should not be difficult. We keep trying to convince people to buy Nigerian with all the hashtags in the world but we are still holding on to western consoles.
How about organizing a runway show with puddles, having the models strut in wellies, catwalk with cute umbrellas when showing a rainy season collection? West Wind2017 sounds cool to my ears! How about just leaving it at summer collection and loosing the first S? Hell, HW(harmattan wind! Get it?) 2017 is actually not that bad!
There’s a whole bunch of ways to name the seasonal showings of new designs in Nigeria without looking silly in a bid to be like European designers. I mean I get that some Nigerian designers are making it big in European cities and will be inclined to do the whole SS or AW thing and that’s ok. But when we are in Nigeria, let’s stick with the program. We are our own and should be proud of who we are. Check out this page on Instagram. His(for some weird reason I am assuming he is a male designer) photos are so amazing and his runway method is just fly! I love him and he makes you want to buy what he is selling!!
When as designers we make outfits and get ashamed to add “made in Nigeria” on labels, what does that say about who we are and what we are trying to accomplish? If we do not recognize the potentials our citizens have, who will? Someone once argued that the fashion industry in Nigeria is not well equipped to mass produce for a larger world wide scale and I say boohoo. If every designer in Nigeria lock brains together and create a platform for producing and marketing ready to wear pieces to be exported, the fashion scene in Nigeria would take a huge turn. Don’t get me wrong, it has improved but it can get better and it should. Most local designers who have gained recognition in the West tend to forget where they are from. It’s not about showing up to support lfdw and showcasing clothes a regular Nigerian cannot afford, or hashtagging Nigeria to show solidarity. How about creating workshops to improve the fashion industry, collaborating with fashion bloggers, getting into talks with the government sector on how the Nigerian fashion industry can improve tourism and fuel money into the economy?
It bothers me that to this day, some people are extremely embarrassed to admit to owning locally made products and by locally I’m talking in terms of being in Nigeria. I like to be in a city and have something, anything made in that city. Could be something as simple as a plastic container or a T-shirt. Everything is made in China these days and to be honest, it’s getting quite annoying. I get that labour is cheap in most of these countries and as a business person, you need to find the cheapest possible option. Still, it would be cool to walk into a store here in Germany and find an outfit that proudly says made in Nigeria on the tag. If we as locals/citizens do not encourage recognition of Nigerian made brands with Nigerian ideas and culture, then where is the glory in hashtagging?
If you are in Nigeria, buy Nigerian and be proud. If you are a local seamstress, don’t be afraid to spend that extra cash getting tags and having “made in Nigeria” on it. If you are a small business owner, don’t be shy to get the handmade tags that proclaim where a product was made. Let’s be our own people and encourage the growth of Nigerian products. Until we can do that, the world won’t give a flying damn about what we have to offer.
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