By Moses Nosike
Lagos—The U.S. Consulate General honored 20 emerging, mid-career Nigerian fashion designers who recently participated in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a flagship U.S. government exchange program.
Through the virtual IVLP project titled, “Promoting Economic Growth and Trade in the Fashion Industry” the 20 participants had the unique opportunity to connect with their U.S. counterparts and enriched their knowledge of entrepreneurship, business development, and innovation in the U.S. fashion industry.
The goal of the IVLP is to provide firsthand knowledge about U.S. society, culture, and politics while cultivating lasting professional relationships. By introducing current and emerging leaders to their professional counterparts in U.S. communities, the IVLP creates opportunities for business, professional, and academic collaboration, and offers direct exposure to American systems and values.
In her welcoming remarks, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo explained that the U.S. Mission created this IVLP program focused on the fashion industry to strengthen economic and commercial ties between the United States and Nigeria through sustained engagement with creative industries that are centered in Lagos.
“In the last few years, Nigeria and the United States have witnessed growing cultural ties. This fashion IVLP project is a fantastic example of our strategic economic outreach to Nigeria’s creative industries to further strengthen economic ties through culture and fashion”.
At the event, the 20 participants exhibited some of their top-quality designs and fashion accessories. Consul General Pierangelo toured each of their exhibits and learned about their experiences during the IVLP project.
Consul General Pierangelo highlighted the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting economic growth and trade in the fashion industry by empowering local fashion designers to not only thrive in Nigeria’s fashion industry, but also to prepare for the global fashion marketplace.
The reception hosted by U.S. Chargé d’affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon and Consul General Pierangelo was attended by an eclectic mix of guests including Nigeria’s pioneer fashion designer, Shade Thomas-Fahm; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija; and former Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode.