Nigeria can use fashion to create wealth, employment – WFO

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By CALEB AYANSINA & FATIMAH KAREEM
GOING by the world encyclopedia, fashion is a distinctive and often habitual trend in the style in which a person dresses.

Obviously, people nowadays are getting crazier in the current prevailing styles, and the newest creations of textile designers.

This has given  birth to a fashion week, a fashion industry event, lasting approximately one week. This is normally held in the four fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, New York and London.

Binta Sukai, Nike Oshinowo-Soleye,  Vien tetsola and  Eni Lawani

Binta Sukai, Nike Oshinowo-Soleye, Vien tetsola and Eni Lawani

The week put together by the World Fashion Organization (WFO) allows fashion designers, brands or “houses” to display their latest collections in runway shows, and buyers and the media to take a look at the latest trends.

Most importantly, these events keep the industry as well as the people abreast of what is “in” and what is “out” for the season.

Nigerian designers are no doubt drawing their inspiration from years of cultural fashion history and refitting it for modern-day life, creating apparels that can actually sell at home and abroad.

In 2011, African Fashion Week was hosted in London tagged; African Fashion Week London (AFWL). This was borne out of the urgent need to support young and emerging African inspired designers in the UK.

Owing to the success of AFWL, the Africa Fashion Week in Nigeria (AFWN), Nigerian Fashion Week and other Fashion shows were created to give platform for talented young and emerging designers, who have not been privileged with the opportunity to showcase on an international platform.

The Founder, Nigerian Fashion Week, Mr Lexy Mojo said the event gave Nigeria a platform to associate with the World Fashion Organization, which in turn provided opportunity for the country to showcase its culture and fashion potentials to the whole world.

Mojo disclosed that the upcoming world fashion week for African continent, featuring about 40 designers would provide wide exposure for up coming designers, who had a lot of creativity, but are yet to be discovered. He said for creativity to grow, there is need to be a platform that celebrates and supports it, hence contributing to its growth.

Therefore, it will not be out of place if one thinks of tapping into the abundant potentials in fashion industry to make a living.

It is on this premise, the WFO proposed a collaboration with the federal government of Nigeria to tap into the country’s fashion industry, to  create wealth in the society, while generating job opportunities for citizenry.

The partnership brought to fore, when the WFO delegation paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of Tourism, Culture and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, was to intimate the government on the forthcoming world continental fashion week that will be taken place, in July, in Nigeria.

The minister expressed government’s readiness to collaborate with World Fashion Organisation (WFO) to create wealth, while empowering women and youth economically, using fashion industry.

To this effect, Saturday Vanguard gathered the two bodies are planning to establish garment manufacturing plant in Nigeria, in addition to the proposed World Fashion University.

Duke told the delegation led by WFO President, Paco De Jaimes, in Abuja that the desire of government to promote culture and fashion was borne out of its struggle to take the country beyond oil.

“For too long, we have been depending on mono product, which is oil; we have come to the realization that oil is producing wealth, but  not  employing people.

“The fashion value chain which you have proposed today will find a fertile ground in Nigeria. The innate creativity and talent in the Nigeria fashion industry are inexplicable,” he said.

The Minister however made it clear that the government would focus on professionalism, competence and putting right policy in place, to  ensure that exploring fashion potentials in the country would not affect negatively the culture of the Nigerian people.

He promised to promote the ideal among other agencies of government, while urging designers in the country to creatively design style that would promote the diverse cultures of the people.

Earlier, the President of WFO, Paco De Jaimes said the aim of the World Fashion Week was to showcase the country as leader of African fashion in the continent, adding that, it would contribute to education and economic empowerment for the people.

He said they would explore all avenues to bring the World Fashion University to Nigeria to promote self reliance among the populace.

Also speaking, The Patron of World Fashion Organization Africa, Mrs Merit Gordon Obua said Nigerians are passionate about their culture and the way they dressed.

According to her, the diversity in the Nigerian culture makes its unique among the cultural potentials of the world. Obua maintained that if the culture and fashion potentials of Nigerians were properly harnessed, it could bring about total-turn-around of the country’s economy.

She noted that Nigerian women and youth were creative, the only thing they needed was the platform that would not only build them, but also bring out the ingenuity embedded in them.

 

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