Fashion industry capable of contributing billions to African economies, if well harnessed — Entrepreneurs

Fashion industry capable of contributing billions to African economies, if well harnessed — Entrepreneurs

Some international fashion entrepreneurs have described the industry as a veritable money spinner that could contribute billions of dollars to the Gross Domestic Products (GDPs) of many African nations, if properly harnessed.

They said this in interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Lagos on Sunday, on the sidelines of the just-concluded “GTBank Fashion Weekend,’’ which held in Lagos.

Caroline Rush, the Chief Executive Officer, British Fashion Council, said that the potential for African fashion to generate billions of dollars to African economies remained largely untapped by stakeholders.

“For example, the fashion industry in the UK annually generates £28 billion to the UK’s economy and employs close to eight hundred and eighty thousand people,” she said.

Rush urged governments at all levels in Nigeria, to create a platform where budding talents in the fashion industry could be invited to showcase their products.

“You will be amazed at the creativity of some of these fresh fashion designers and their products in preserving the cultural values of the country,’’ she said.

Rush urged fashion designers in each community to work together in promoting and achieving their common interests, because that was the only way to make great strides in the industry.

“The only way to make a meaningful impact in any economy is when there is harmony but we must also keep in mind to protect our innovations and creative works,’’ she said.

Oke Maduewesi, the founder of Zaron Cosmetics, said that creative ideas were the only way to achieve greatness and to make a lasting impression in the fashion industry.

According to Maduewesi, where an up-and-coming entrepreneur has clear-cut goals on what to do, it makes it easier for the individual to secure a loan from the banks.

“Lots of people have complained of not being able to access loans from the banks.

“But they don’t seem to realise that what banks are looking for is the feasible nature of your ideas in generating income for you.

“Once they are convinced that your idea is fail-proof and can stand the test of time, they will readily grant you access to loans,’’ she said.

The entrepreneur stressed that as necessary as money was in achieving one’s aims, it should not be a barrier in forging ahead with one’s future expectations in life.

“Money is not everything. Eighty per cent of success comes from the power of the mind, while the remaining twenty per cent comes from what you do.

“So, the first thing you need to do to succeed in life in whatever venture you find yourself in, is to first visualise it and believe in yourself, and the rest will take care of itself,’’ she said.

David Tlale, a South African designer said that manufacturing products locally by using ingredients sourced within the country would help produce affordable finished products for the consumer.

“Supporting the entire value chain system from the fabric manufacturer to those that do the tie and dye, goes a long way in minimising costs, to achieve affordable products,’’ he said.

Tlale, who had been showcasing his products in Nigeria since 2011, said that African fashion was on the rise due to the increase in African fashion consciousness around the globe.

The South African, however, urged Nigerians and Africans to continue to patronise locally made items, which he stressed, would make African products popular in the international market.

In the same vein, Sam Fine, a renowned international make-up artiste, said that the fashion industry was capable of creating employment for youths in the country.

Fine told NAN that make-up artistry could be used as a means to leverage talents, build entrepreneurship and the requisite innovation for a sustainable business in the fashion industry.

“By so doing, highly-talented individuals are bound to thrive in the emerging market,’’ he added.

NAN reports that no fewer than 70 exhibitors in men and women’s fashion and accessories, were on ground to add glamour and glitz to the two-day event. (NAN)

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