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Indigenous textiles projected on global stage

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By Timothy Akintola

Lagos Fashion Fair & Africa Fashion Week combine to showcase indigenous designs.

Fashion has always played an important role in showcasing Nigeria’s cultural significance on the global stages. This contribution to the fashion industry also pivotally provides the country with an economic significance. In fact, Business Sweden notes that while this industry boasts as the second-largest sector in Africa with a value of over 31 billion USD, Nigeria accounts for 15 percent of the sector’s value. The Fashion Week well projects the growth of Nigeria’s fashion industry over the years, showcasing an undeniable fashion sophistication that has caught the global attention. The recently concluded Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria was a glorification of every fashion aspects that projects Africa’s cultural significance, attracting a global audience.

The event, displaying the creativity of Nigeria’s fabrics designs well validated the versatility of the production Technology that places Adire fabrics at the apex of Nigeria and Africa’s Textile Industry. The event, by inculcating designs from different designers around the continent also projected a needed thematic preoccupation of unity and diversity among the different tribes and cultures, important for a peaceful coexistence. Importantly, it was able to solidify the place of Nigerian fabrics, whilst shaping it to meet current trends. Lagos Fashion Fair (LFF) exhibition and Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria (AFWN), two of Nigeria’s fashion powerhouses collaborated to host the event which took place at Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.

AFWN and LFF collaboration changed the face of the fashion show.

This first time collaborative partnership between Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, founder of AFWN and Ayo Olugbade, chief executive officer of LFF was reported to have changed the face of the fashion show, as both brands returned for their 8th edition. Olufolake Abdulrazaq, Kwara state’s First Lady and founder of Ajike People Support Centre stated her delight at being a part of the creative initiative that have constantly promoted Nigeria’s cultural ambience and creating a path to immense economic Empowerment by the amplification of Nigeria’s fashion to meet the current trends.

The First Lady said that she was immensely proud of the huge accomplishments of these fashion events over the years, recognizing the initiative’s efforts in providing a better platform for Nigerian designers to showcase their creative ingenuity in the biggest stages of Lagos, London and New York. Revealing her attendance at the African Fashion Week, London in 2016, she admitted to having supported the initiative since, where she was made Matron in 2018.

Growing creative sector can promote inclusive socioeconomic development.

The First Lady further noted that sessions held during the course of the event illustrated the significance of Nigerian textiles to the global Culture and Creative Economy. According to her, the sector which is growing at a faster pace can enhance economies, as well as promote inclusive socioeconomic development. She also added that with the significant contribution of the fashion industry to the country’s global gross domestic product, the sector highlighted a potential for Economic Growth and source for job creation.

Explaining the economic impact of the fashion industry, the First Lady noted that according to the World Bank’s 2020 report, the creative industry solely contributed an approximate $18 billion to the Global Economy. She also cited the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization report, the global creative industry accounted for the creation of over 30 million jobs, employing young creatives from age 15-29 more than any other sector globally, further asserting that with the stream of employment of young African creatives into the labour market. Evident developments would be seen in the national economies.

The event, a unifying factor that promotes cultural heritages.

Commending the House of Oduduwa and Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye of Ife and other dignitaries, stressed on the capability of the creative industry to curb Unemployment in the country. Also, Iniobong Obinna-Onunkwo, the CEO of Little Weavers and one of the showcased designers at the event described her experience as interesting and filled with its own challenges. On the essence of the event as a unifying factor for cultural heritages, she noted that the initiative is processed to showcase a variety of cultural differences with fashion and her brand specifically projecting the varying cultures of Igbo, Yoruba, Hausa and Ibibio, adding bits of Adire to the designs.


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