The Retail Fashion Industry in Nigeria over the past few years has transformed enormously with more creative fashion designers and designs. Fashion designers have become more enthusiastic about showing Nigeria fashion creativity to the rest of Africa and the World.
The Success of the Nigerian fashion Industry cannot be overemphasized as we have witnessed the collective and individual growth of designers like Deola Sagoe, Mai Atafo, Zizi Cardow, Frank Oshodi, Tiffany Amber, Yomi Casual etc. These designers have not only greatly impacted the leisure and lifestyle space in Nigerian but have also contributed immensely to growing the economy, diversification of the economy and have become a source of foreign exchange through export.
The just concluded 2017 Lagos fashion exhibition held at Eko convention center, Eko Hotel and suites, Victoria Island Lagos reflects the continuous transformation taking place in the Nigeria Retail Fashion Industry.
The event organized by Atlantic Exhibition Nigeria Limited in partnership with Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), WFM, and Exhibition Affair for two days, highlighted Stake holders from the Fashion Industry, Designers, celebrities, cosmetologist, makeup artist, models, fashion journalist and clienteles exhibitions, presentations, and networking opportunities. There was also the opportunities to make quick cash as buying and selling ruled the day.
The major drive of Lagos Fashion exhibition held annually is to promote and explore fashion in Nigeria and West Africa; create an avenue for wholesalers, retailers, designers to meet, network, learn and discuss business with top designers, manufacturers, major distributors and retailers across the globe.
The event was a blend of Music and fashion as the DJ kept dishing out great tunes to accompany runway exhibition by the models showcasing different amazing ready to wear collections from Traditional pieces like Ankara and Aso Oke to Western styled designs. To accompany the ready to wear clothing exhibition were African made accessories such as beads, Ankara bags, foot wears etc.
Some of the Fashion designers, Jewelers and bead makers who exhibited their ready to wear (prêt-à-porter) designs at the event were Kola kudus, Victor Bassey, Afrikoncept, Bella Rack, Sahara Sunrise, Temmiasaraloge, Kiphy7, Zaris, La Penza Couture, Adnoli, Rumen Bags, Bimbeads, Oyetur Fashion empire etc.
Challenges and Prospects for the Retail fashion Industry
A key challenge that have slowed the growth of the Retail fashion industry in Nigeria is lack of efficient distribution channels, particularly retail outlets. While online retail channels like as Konga, Jumia, Yudala, Jiji etc. have been helpful, most designers however believe that more can be done in retailing through the retail stores, as this is still the greatest channel of distribution if they are ever to satisfy more of their target market in Nigeria.
Many designers who desired to operate own stores by patronizing the western styled Malls have complained that the Spaces offered are often very expensive making it impossible for them to access. According to Adewale Adegbaiye, Owner of Kijipa Couture, “It’s very imperative that designers figure out a way to market their product… the average fashion designer needs funding to enable them establish their retail outlets”, he further advised that “retail consultants develop contents and ideas to help fashion designers bridge the gap between the retailers and consumers”.
The growth of the fashion Industry lies in the hands of the retailers who will ensure that these designs get to the consumers. While designing may be a huge task, the more difficult challenge facing the designers may in fact be getting their product to the targeted markets and consumers.
An option may be that designers collaborate to establish their own pop-up fashion retail outlets at strategic points where their consumers just as their western counterparts can easily access their products.
The other challenges enumerated by some of the fashion designers at the exhibition are poor infrastructure, lack of government support, poor access to finance, and poor retail business management capabilities. among others.