Wondering how earth the Nigerian Industry could be failing?
How an Industry that has been steadily gaining recognition could be possibly going backwards? We're just going to dive straight into the five reasons:
1. There's little to no originality.
Has anyone noticed how Nigerians keep ripping ideas off people in other aspects of the world? We then bring it to Nigeria, saying "Lo and Behold! A new thing!" Meanwhile, it's not. Most likely a cheaper and less thought out version of the original.
Well, in this case, as pertains to the fashion industry, a more expensive version. Yes, there's nothing new under the sun. Everything has been done and made (almost). We accept this. we have no problem with this. But why make like you just made something revolutionary?
The problem is, some creatives take ideas straight from other people without adding something new to it, something different. Originality in this industry is about taking old things and putting a new stamp on them. It's about adding a new twist and we hardly see that.
How do you think the big names like Versace have stayed and remained big?
2. The consumer/customer is basically ignored.
I feel that people in the Nigerian fashion industry are more concerned with being labelled "Creative" than what the consumer needs.
I had a young CEO of an upcoming fashion brand tell me "The customers don't know what they want, you have to decide for them". I then proceeded to let him know that as the ideal fashion consumer, I think I can speak for all of us when I say we DO know what we want. You just aren't listening.
We like creativity, sure. But we also like practicality. A combination of those two is what we want. So that's a big no-no to unnecessarily heavy fabrics (how anyone could think we'd actually wear dresses made out of wool in our climate is fascinating), oddly shaped silhouettes, clothes, and accessories that look pretty cool but are insanely uncomfortable, and lastly, outrageous prices. Which leads me to...
3. Outrageous prices.
The economy is making things hard. And the fashion people are making it harder.
The reason the #buynigerian hashtag will never be as popular as #yemithedestroyer is because... well, it's either the price of the item we're supposed to be buying outrageously expensive or the quality of the relatively inexpensive item is way too cheap.
For example, I walked into a store that offered "reasonable prices". They had a "massive sale". Turns out a pair of cotton slacks for 60,000 Naira is what they consider a massive sale? Why would I #buynigerian when I could get a similar piece for about $25 dollars? And on sale too so make that $10.
Don't get me wrong, there are people getting it right. But more often than not, I see clothes that look like they belong in ASOS (an online fashion store) cost far more than they would. That's the whole originality issue coming up again.
4. Little to no attention to details.
I think this is a general Nigerian problem, not just in the fashion industry. We hardly go the extra mile to ensure everything is as it should be. Well-made clothing articles and accessories are all about the finishing and sometimes, even top-notch Nigerian brands still don't get it right.
What's the point of being so high priced then? High prices are supposed to show that a brand is an extremely high quality and high fashion but yet some don't deliver.
The new talents should also work on this. They are the future and we certainly don't need a future of ripping seams and clothes that don't quite fit well.
Every single thing in this country (Nigeria) is about connections and knowing people.
Entering schools, getting job opportunities, oppressing authorities to get what you want, it's honestly ridiculous and the fashion Industry is no exception.
People should be recognized based on their merit and hard work and not just because they know "people". I honestly don't mind hardworking people getting that extra push that they need. But sometimes, it's so obvious that some people and brands wouldn't have gotten to half of where they are if they weren't connected.
All in all, fashion, at the end of the day, is to the consumer. No matter how the chart is mapped out, the consumer plays a huge part in all this.
If you're making magazines, it's for the consumer. Clothes? Consumer. Photographer? Consumer. Model? It's so that the consumer would buy whatever it is the brand you're modelling for is selling. Visual Merchandiser? Stylist? Tailor? Blogger?
If the consumer doesn't like what you are selling, it's a failing industry.
It's all about the consumer. And I'm one. Thankfully, not everyone has these opinion and a lot of people are quite satisfied with what's going on. So the Nigerian Fashion industry is very safe.
is a Nigerian fashion enthusiast in love with photography, all things crafty and books that tell the best stories. She blogs at miralabelle.com where she shares her personal style, DIY projects, fashion & photography tips and tidbits of her life.