Ace designer, Bayo Oke-Lawal, has called for more direct investment in Nigerian fashion industry to grow the sector.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Creative Director of leading brand, The Orange Culture, expressed dissatisfaction at banks and other corporate bodies taking the easy route of organising fashion events.
Orange Culture was selected in 2015 by Louis Vuitton and Moet Hennessy for their first ever LVMH prize as one of the 20 finalists selected from over 1221 brands all over the world in Paris.
It was also selected by L’Uomo Vogue and GQ Italia to present at The Latest Fashion Buzz in Florence and then by The International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative.
According to Oke-Lawal, events such as fashion weeks, frequently organised by banks were welcome but the industry needs growth-directed investments in certain areas.
NAN recalls that in the just concluded Fashion Week season, at least four banks hosted their own Fashion Week shows, designer meet ups and pushed conversations.
These events, although fun, had limited designers to showcasing their products and networking without tackling the investments needed to transform the cottage-level industry into billion-dollar movements.
Speaking via his twitter handle, @TheOrangenerd, Oke-Lawal advised corporate bodies, especially brands to assist the industry holistically.
“Nigerian banks, what the fashion industry does not need is more fashion weeks!
“The fashion industry needs so much more support in clothing manufacturing, fashion education, labour acquisition.
“We also need help in textile manufacturing especially developing our indigenous techniques and creating sustainable fabric creation spaces.
“Grants for designers not loans with high interests, all the flight money to bring in designers you do not need, could be given as grants to Nigerian designers.
“And the list is absolutely endless. It is so hard working as a designer in Nigeria! People will never understand just how difficult it is.
“So, if banks really want to help, stop wasting money flying designers in from countries that would never fly us out and work on funding platforms that are developing the industry or invest directly in the industry,” he said.
His tweets sparked a conversation on social media among designers who agreed with him.
They added that the corporate world had not taken time to understand the peculiarities of the Nigerian fashion industry.