Fashion shows are beginning to become a frequent occurrence in Nigeria. This shows that the people are becoming more aware of the business aspect of Fashion. Better still, attending these shows can be fascinating. People are seated, watching with so much focus as models strut up and down the runway in clothes that you may never wear. The most important aspect of Fashion shows in Nigeria is that it gives designers an opportunity to showcase their talent and creativity. These kinds of movements are what we need for the sector (and others) to thrive. However, the real question is ‘what are they really adding to the economy?
It is not enough to gather people around and amuse them with pretty clothes and good music. There has to be a way to boost small business during the course of the show. If the shows are well organized, there will be an opportunity to create a platform for other people (probably not fashion related) to showcase their business and gain exposure. When people are attending the shows, they will then be aware of the fact that they are in for an experience rather than just an event. It will be like a tourist attraction.
Another intriguing part about the fashion shows is the fact that some of the items are probably never seen again. Not on the ‘red carpet’ or at a party. It should become more accessible to the customers. Since we are thriving in the industry as compared to the global brands like Gucci and Hilfiger- things have to somehow become affordable. Imagine putting so much money in production and after the show, you take it back to your house and store it. It is really rare to see the items showcased on the runways in the stores. Where have they all gone to?
To get the best out of the industry, we need more events that will help the nation grow economically. The shows for now can be made open to the public so that people might have first-hand access to the items to scrutinize and possibly purchase. Aside from airing it online and on the television, there has to be a conscious effort to keep people interested in Nigerian made clothes. We keep emphasizing show we want things to get better when those that have the power to do so take advantage of it.
We need quality goods in our industry no doubt but we should not give people a reason to go for the international brand rather than the locally made ones. Imagine you tell me to buy an Ankara gown for 25,000 naira while I will get a pair of jeans for 2,500 if not less. There should be a target audience of course since not everyone can afford the luxury brands. However, even these brands see a need to resonate with people of different strata. All of this will begin with a more structured fashion show. There should not be a select few worthy of being in attendance. Make the fashion experience worth it and then there will be a ripple effect with an increase in shows and ultimately sales.
Written by Nkem Ikeh
Image source: chrisokafor.blogspot.com, pinterest.com, jaguda.com