duke2As the fortune of the creative industry expands in Nigeria, the fashion industry seems to have caught the attention of the Federal Government. To this end, it is set to host the 2014 edition of the Africa Fashion Reception in Bayelsa State between July 5 and 7.

According to the Minister of Culture, Tourism and National Orientation, Chief Edem Duke, the event will see top players in the sector exhibit their products and network with international participants. He notes in a statement that the Fashion Summit will pave the way for a new investment drive for the industry.

He recalled a project he initiated a few years before he became the Minister, the Nigerian Tourism Expo, which aimed at promoting Nigerian tourism and the burgeoning Nigerian fashion industry.

He says, “I went out with at least four fashion designers from Nigeria, one music artiste and other stakeholders. I brought in a group of people from the Caribbean; they were in Abuja and Calabar. I got a seamstress to make an Ankara outfit for a lady. When she wore this to work on her return to Barbados, she is the general manager of the Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation everybody in her office said to her, you can’t wear this to work. You can only wear this when the prime minister calls for a cocktail. As I speak to you, that gesture has transformed into an enterprise. That lady has made almost 100 outfits for different people in that country alone. And what they do now is that she makes the outfit and goes to DHL. She has a code with them and she just deposits it there. As soon as they finish making it, they pay DHL and remit her money in Pounds Sterling. Can you imagine the possibility of being able to replicate this in different ways?”

Duke adds that the fashion industry is critical of the development of tourism in the country, saying it represents a frontline entrepreneurial hub.

The organisers further note that some years ago, two Nigerian designers, Lanre Da Silva Ajayi, owner, LDA label and Folake Coker of Tiffany Amber, alongside other African designers, were selected to take part in the project. This opened a new vista for made-in-Nigeria dresses. According to them, a real business opportunity for international fashion and home-grown fashion retailers in Nigeria was opened up.

Also speaking about the event, the Chief Executive Officer of Branzuk Gold Limited, Lexy Mojo, says it will be the first time that Nigerian and African fashion will be showcased differently, adding, for the first time, we are opening the world of fashion to African fashion practitioners with a different focus. We are opening the global fashion market to African designers like never before. This is going to be the biggest African fashion market ever known.

Branzuk Co-founder and African Patron of the World Fashion Organisation, Gordon Obua, believes that the benefit of hosting an event like The Africa Fashion Reception in Nigeria is huge. According to her, it will build bridges by creating free trade and partnerships among fashion practitioners throughout the African continent.

Culled from: www.punchng.com