Do Nigerian fashion brands have to be pricey to be taken seriously?
Do fashion brands have to come up with ridiculous price tags to be taken seriously? I'm making a case with Fashpa!
Online fashion retailer Fashpa recently revamped only to make a comeback with highly priced pieces.
Fashpa was the go to online fashion shopping destination for style lovers who wanted affordable pieces and unique trendy pieces and accessories with prompt delivery and truth be told (the then) Fashpa delivered on all that.
Fashpa went 'away' for a while keeping their happy shoppers in suspense to make a major comeback (with even more stunning pieces at affordable prices or so we thought) but the site revamped (silently) with obviously more in-house designs going completely 'luxurious'.
The online retailer back then carried local and international brands with the prices easily standing out as competitive, it was the (online) harem of amazing sorts for the average Nigerian style lover who wanted to get the best at affordable prices.
Before the old Fashpa went on hold, there were designs retailed on the site that were designed by team Fashpa in house and were hits! Most of these designs were almost always sold out but taking a whole 360 degrees turn from being affordable to quite pricey' comes as a shock.
Shoppers off the former site have complained of the drastic change with a few really pained about the almost 'snobbery' approach the brand employed with the relaunch of the new Fashpa brand.
With products priced as low as N5,000 initially with accessories going even lower and the entire site bursting with trendy pieces from different brands, the new Faspha feels like a total stranger especially at this time (well, recession isn't a joke!) It was my (and a lot of my colleague's) absolute go to website before the rebrand.
The brand came back producing their own pieces and at a distinctly higher price gap, the once target audience quickly fizzled out replaced by high net worth shoppers (obviously). A cursory look through the website shows a parade of pieces like Fashpa Diane Blue Off Shoulder Dress set at ₦72,000.00 retail price!
Is made in Nigeria now synonymous with overpriced? expensive? if that's the case then there is a problem as I most certainly won't be buying a shift dress for N40,400 (forty thousand fur hundred naira) or a fringe skirt for N38,000 (thirty eight thousand naira) and I know I'm speaking for a lot of people- what exactly am I getting for that amount!
While not doubting the brand raised the ante with premium offerings, more seemingly polished/refined styles and pieces, is this the best direction for the brand? I know fashion brands make more money with their diffusion lines, maybe this is in the offing because how many people will go for a co-ord of N101,500 (a hundred and one thousand, five hundred naira!)?
The 'Fashpa Yellow Africa Women Iro and Buba (which I see takes a cue from a Tiffany Amber 'drummer' print from 'Rhythm Of Africa' SS '13 collection) described as "A fashpa classic here to stay. This iro and buba set features a top with a boat neckline, flared long sleeves and a vibrant print with matching wrapper" is set at N20,000! while the 'Fashpa Amina Lace Coord' described as "This cor-ord piece is in white lace and features a V neck top with bell sleeves and floor length flared trousers with an elasticated waist. Complement with statement jewelry" retails on the site for N101,500!
While there are usually arguments about cost of production, the use of premium fabrics, labour et al, I think the new price tag is alarming. I think a Deola Sagoe, Lisa Folawiyo and Ejiro Amos Tafiri have earned it and produce pieces that justify their price points but for Fashpa, I don't think so just yet, is the point of producing not to make money in return (which makes more sense with a diffusion line maybe)?
The question goes; do Nigerian fashion brands have to be pricey to be taken seriously? Fashpa, is that it?
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