In recent years, since Nigeria began to place an increased focus on its non-oil sectors, the Nigerian leather industry has received an increased level of attention, and in small doses, some investment. The Lagos Leather Fair was designed to address the issues, promote talent, and create awareness within a potentially powerful industry.
Founded in 2017 by Femi Olayebi, founder and CEO of FemiHandbags, one of the nation’s leading leather brands, the Lagos Leather Fair brings together a diverse range of key players in the leather industry, from rising stars like Kkerele, Marte Egele, HankerandReech, and PereLei, to established leather designers such as City Cobbler, Mona Matthews, St. Davids, Zashadu, O’Eclat, to furniture manufacturers such as Siod Leather, iO Furniture etc.
These players are provided with an opportunity to showcase their products, form partnerships with industry peers, and expand their audiences. Through master classes, conversations, workshops and panel discussions, the Lagos Leather Fair also engages investors, branding experts, business teachers, international designers, and state sector leads in discussions on the challenges and the way forward for Nigeria’s leather designers.
The first two editions were a huge success and collectively brought together an audience of over 4500 people. About 120 exhibitors collectively made over N25 million in sales; the Fairs featured 10 Master classes and 6 Creative Workshops, delivered by 30 local and international speakers; and showcased 12 runway presentations by various designers.
This year’s edition promises to be bigger than the first two editions combined and will feature a specially curated private investor showcase, exhibitions by leather designers and manufacturers, a great shopping experience, runway presentations, networking opportunities, and knowledge-sharing activities, amongst others. The 2019 edition of the Lagos Leather Fair, tagged #LLF2019, which will take place from Saturday, September 7 to Sunday, September 8, 2019 at The Harbour Point, Victoria Island, is themed: Advancing the Conversation. It will play host to about 70 Nigerian leather designers, and feature 3 topical Conversations, 2 Workshops and 6 Runway Presentations. This year will also showcase a few international designers.
Through The Lagos Leather Fair, Femi Olayebi feeds and fuels her passion for promoting the work of leather designers and the Made-in-Nigeria initiative by showcasing local talent. And it seems to be about the best thing that has happened to the Nigerian leather industry: for its ability to drive conversations, change, and create a spotlight for one of Nigeria’s most critical untapped markets.