BellaNaija’s Style Digital Summit

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FAIRGROUND

By Azuka Ogujiuba

Africa’s biggest fashion and lifestyle destination, BellaNaija Style hosted the second edition of its virtual conference BellaNaija Style Digital Summit some weeks back. The event was a convening of leading experts and global thought leaders in the fashion and creative industry who unpacked the theme “Harnessing Africa’s True Potential”.

Over a 4-hour live broadcast, the 400+ plus attendees listened earnestly as speakers outlined the steps that need to be taken over the coming decade to align the blossoming African industry with global goals and trends.

The event leveraged the strength of the BellaNaija platform. Through its super brands including BellaNaija Style, BellaNaija focuses on utilising the power of media and technology to drive positive change and celebrate progress with content that serves a generation of African voices and change agents, dynamic in their interests, living transnational multifaceted lives with the desire to stay connected to home and the expectation that media should be relevant and connected to their lives, and bridge the gap between the imagined conceptions and the actual realities of Africa

BellaNaija Style’s Head of Content, Mary Edoro kicked off the activities for the day with an opening remark, emphasizing the importance of this annual event which has been provided for Africans in Africa and in the diaspora to discuss the opportunities and challenges present in today’s fashion industry; from the manufacturing sector, design and investment in fashion, to analyzing the true nature of sustainable fashion on the continent.

The first session was with Omoyemi Akerele, Founder of Style House Files and convener of Lagos Fashion Week. Mary Edoro led the conversation around creating more commercial value internationally for our locally produced fabrics as well as the pros and cons of advancing the process of industrialization of Africa’s fashion manufacturing sector.

The next session was a deliberate thought-provoking conversation that aligns with BellaNaija Style’s latest efforts to encourage people to think more about the life cycle of their fashion choices in order to foster long-term changes in consumer behavior through its Declutter & Donate Campaign.

From responding to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, new advances in recycled fabric technology to the promotion of African textiles heritage, designers Nkwo Onwuka (NKWO), Ekwerike Chukuma (WUMAN Brand), Sydney Nwakanma (Emeka Suits Kenya) took the stage hosted by one of BellaNaija Style’s lead team members, Sandra Omoregie, to explain how their brands are paving the way for a more environmentally responsible fashion future.

In order to address unemployment, low investment, and lack of structure in the creative industries, BellaNaija Style tapped industry leaders with years of experience like Morin Oluwole, Director, Global Head of Luxury, Facebook & Instagram; Roberta Annan, UN Ambassador and Founder, African Fashion Foundation and Elizabeth Elohor, Founder Beth Models Africa; to deliberate on the topic “Empowering Fashion Creatives & Establishing Long Term Careers in Africa.”

Closing the session, Roberta said: “Creativity on the continent is not an issue. We have creativity in abundance but a lot of creatives don’t have an education about the business aspect of their creativity. So, they are creative but they don’t have the acumen. They don’t have a solid business plan; they don’t have an exit strategy. They don’t even know how much funds they need at a given time.”