African Fashion Week Nigeria 2016 (AFWN) founded by Ronke Ademiluyi was held at the Eko Hotel and Suites in Victoria island lagos. It had in attendance alot of diginities, the likes of the Minister of state,Mrs Aishat Abubakar, Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinwunmi Abiodun Mustapha, Director general of Nigerian textile industry, garment and tailoring employer Association Mr H.A.KWA JAFFA, President of FADAN, Mrs funmilayo Ajila- Ladipo , Mrs Abiodun Oyemade (Yetty D), Mr Akintunde Oyebode, Mrs Chioma Nwagboso from IGIE among others.
AFWN 2016 first day opened to a conference which the topic of discussion is ” The challenges in the manufacturing industry, making profits in challenging times in the industry”. it is channelled towards youths, upcoming designers, entrepreneurs and people in the fashion industry at large. It addresses the major problems in the Nigerian Fashion industry such as the cost of production of products made in Nigeria, power problem, lack of availability of cotton, textile market is 95% dominated by smuggled, counterfeit and faked fabrics, high cost of finance among others.
Solutions such as eradicating smuggling to the barest minimum, encouraging local patronage of local product by government through effective policy, prosecuting smugglers and burning smuggled goods, special tariff on energy as enjoyed by cement industry, zero percent duty on our dye stuffs and raw materials were proposed.
However, the conference was broken down into segments and had different panels that discussed on the topic and shared their experiences with the audience. It was meant as a wake up call to the government to make sure they do more for the fashion industry and also encourage youths in the fashion industry by providing them with tools they will need to over come challenges as entrepreneurs in the industry.
According to Mr Akintunde Oyebode, “We can’t be everything to everyone”, he encouraged the creation of hubs in the fashion industry and encourage the division of labour to increase productivity. He encourage fashion manufacturers to embrace sub regional market before thinking of exporting to a bigger market.
Mrs jennifer also talked about valued chain thinking as an important thing an entrepreneur needs to think about. She cited the case study of the brand “Zara” who created according to the needs of their customers and not what they as a producer thinks their consumers needs. She further encourgae entrepreneurs to create a sustainable competitive advantage and make sure each members of their chain knows what to do.
Also,the president of FADAN, Mrs Fumilayo Ajila- Ladipo encouraged up coming designers and manufacturers to register with the FADAN group and she also encouraged youths to go on FADAN.NG site to be informed about on going trainings and seminars. Mrs Ajala further said we as citizen should be able to do something for our selves instead of waiting on the government. She encourages Nigerian to change their mind sets and start embracing products made in Nigeria.
Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinkunmi Abiodun Mustapha spoke on the initiatives the government are working on in relation to the Bank of Industries in other to provide loans and funds to small scale entrepreneurs who have a business plan.Further more, he said government is looking into the root of problems of the Nigerian fashion industry by supporting and encouraging farmers, financially and educationally to grow more cottons which will in-turn be made into fabrics, in-order to reduce the cost of production.
All thanks to the founders and organisers of the African Fashion Week Nigeria 2016 (AFWN). AFWN is a project that will create more job opportunities and empower youths. Also, it will encourages youths to bring out the creativity in them.
Projects like this will touch lives in a positive way and bring more economic growth to our great Nation Nigeria.