Abuja Fashion Summit/Show Set to Position Nigeria’s Fashion Industry on Global Pedestal

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Convener of Abuja Fashion SummitShow, Ms Oluwakunmi Nwokoro

Mary Nnah

The maiden edition of the forthcoming 2-day Abuja Fashion Summit/Show with the theme ‘The Impact of the Fashion Industry in the Growing Nigerian Economy’, is set to rightly position the fashion industry as a viable sector to be explored in the nation’s quest for diversification.

Speaking recently with journalist on the forthcoming event, the Convener of the Abuja Fashion Summit/Show, Ms Oluwakunmi Nwokoro, who expressed the worry that the Nigerian fashion industry has not been accorded the necessary support by stakeholders in both the public and private sectors to reach its full potential, stressed that the fashion industry’s value-chain is very wide.

Nwokoro explained that the industry has the capacity to shoot the nation’s economy from its current state of dilemma to a very viable position.

She explained further that the fashion industry generally has the potential to get more people employed, adding, “Making a single clothe involves a chain and various professionals. The chain includes the textile industry but it is however sad to see that none of our textile industries is functioning in Nigeria. We all know that the textile industry is the largest employer of labour in many economies because of its high demand; everybody wears clothes at every point in time. So, it’s a very huge industry.”

Nwokoro said further that the Nigerian fashion industry has evolved over the years and has been revolutionised in a way that nations all over the world want to have something to do with it.

“Even celebrities in Europe and America admire our fashion. As a people too, our women and men are very fashionable and would go any length to look good. From bags to wristwatches, perfumes, hair, shoes and clothes, we always ensure we look the best. So, the industry has the capacity to generate much more income for the government and the nation if round pegs are put in round holes”, she noted.

Scheduled to hold from October 11th to 12th at the Transcorp Hilton, Abuja, the Abuja Fashion Summit and Show 2019, will examine issues of funding, security and its effects on the industry, as well as the myriad of challenges faced by those in the textile industry.

This summit already endorsed by the Abuja Enterprise Agency; Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment; NDDC; Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) and quite a lot of partners from the private sector, Nwokoro said will serve as a platform for collaboration for public and private sector stakeholders.

This, she added, includes financial institutions, government and professionals working across the industry’s value chain while expressing the hope that by the end of it, government and other stakeholders will be set to build the textile/fashion industry.

“By the end of the summit, I will really be fulfilled if one textile industry, maybe the Kaduna, Kano or the Lagos textile comes back to life and begins production again, she noted.

“On the other hand, there will be sessions on financing for the industry. So, if some of the designers present get some commitment from financial institutions to fund the industry that will mean a lot to me also. We are also concerned about mentoring. So, I will also be fulfilled if successful designers volunteer to mentor one or two younger designers by allowing them undergo internship in their organizations. Finally, if we could have the Federal Government become more committed to growing the textile industry, then I would have been much fulfilled”, she said of her expectations at the end of the summit.

The event which will host over 150 fashion designers and 50 exhibitors across the country will motivate young designers and enthusiasts in Nigeria, while affording them a platform to air their opinions, network and connect with the big names in the industry. It will also get upcoming designers equipped in areas of technology, finance and a lot more.