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Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria: Showcasing indigenous textiles, designs on global stage.

Ifeoma Okeke-Korieocha

There were all shades of colours, designs, fabrics and fashion at the just concluded Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria, attracting audiences from Africa and across the world.
The event which featured a display of the beauty of Nigerian fabrics, validates the versatility of the age long production technology that makes adire fabric the cynosure of the Nigeria and indeed African Textile industry.
The event, which showed creativity and fashion at its peak from various designers, again implied unity in diversity as designers showed designs from various tribes and cultures.
With models dressed so elegantly and proudly in their indigenous attires, they amplified the place of Nigerian fabrics yet fashioned it to meet current trends.
For the first time, two Nigerian fashion powerhouses, Lagos Fashion Fair (LFF) Exhibition and Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN) combine forces to host the fashion event at the prestigious Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos.
This historic partnership between Princess Ronke Ademiluyi, the founder of AFWN, and Ayo Olugbade, chief executive officer of LFF, changed the face of the fashion show in Nigeria as both brands returned for their 8th edition.
Speaking at the event, Olufolake Abdulrazaq, First Lady, Kwara State and founder, Ajike People Support Center said she was delighted to be part of yet another creative initiative of Princess Ronke Ademuyili aimed at promoting Nigeria’s culture and creating pathways to wealth and economic empowerment through amplifying the place of Nigerian fabrics and fashioning it to meet current trends.
The First Lady said she was proud of what Princess Ademuyili has been able to achieve over the years through the African Fashion week initiative which has provided a veritable platform for Nigerian fashion designers to exhibit their designs and showcase their creative ingenuity in Lagos, London and New York.
“Interestingly I attended African Fashion Week London in 2016 and have been supporting the brand since and she made me Matron in 2018 even before becoming First Lady of Kwara State.
“I am aware that the different engaging sessions that had been held in the course of this event speak to the importance of African and Nigerian textile in the global cultural and creative economy and promote it as a non-oil commodity,” Abdulrazaq said.
Read also: Boost for tourism as Ife holds Africa Fashion Week, QMA beauty pageant
According to her, the rapidly growing sector can boost economies and drive inclusive socio-economic development, adding that its significant contribution of three percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) highlights the economic potential of cultural and creative industries as a source of growth and job creation.
“In Nigeria alone, the cultural and creative industries contributed approximately $18 billion to GDP according to a World Bank 2020 report. Also according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, cultural and creative industries account for more than 30 million jobs globally, employing more young people aged 15-29 worldwide than any other sector. As more young people enter Africa’s labour market, national economies will need to create jobs to meet the demand,” First Lady of Kwara State mentioned.
She stressed that the Creative industries have the potential to address the urgent need for job creation across the continent.
She commended the House of Oduduwa and Arole Oduduwa Olofin Adimula, Ooni Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Ojaja II, Ooni of Ife for championing the sustenance of our culture and heritage and most importantly for creating a pathway to wealth and promoting creativity among young Nigerians.
Iniobong Obinna-Onunkwo, CEO of Little Weavers and one of the designers who showcased at the Africa Fashion Week, said the experience was interesting and filled with its own challenges.
“The idea is to tell people about our different cultures. From the north, we have other ethnic groups such as the Hausa Fulani. In the West we have the Yorubas, in the East, the Ibos and in the South, we have other tribes. However, the significant cultures that we decided to showcase and talk about were the Yorubas, Hausa, Ibos and the Ibibio. We also decided to add a bit of the Adire. So, it is all about culture and Heritage,” Obinna-Onunkwo said.
Some distinguished individuals were presented awards on the last day of the event for their contributions and outstanding role to the growth of the fashion industry in Nigeria.
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