Day Two Fashions Finest Africa, Nigeria

25th May marked the first day of the Fashions Finest Africa Epic Show conference themed ‘Increasing Nigeria’s participation in the Global Garment Production industry’.

Myself, CEO Fashions Finest UK Deborah St Louis and Technical Consultant and fellow panellist Mabel Doe all arrived together at the Balmoral Centre for the conference commencing at 10am.

The aim of the conference was to present an international platform that offered opportunities for key stake holders in the textiles and fashion industry in Nigeria to learn from and hopefully transform the state of the industry as it stands today.
The all-day conference included presentations from myself as headliner speaker on how we run a compliant factory in London and train designers and learners for succession planning, Mabel Doe on her vast experiences of working in factory’s all over the world and exactly what it is required to ensure optimum efficiency and a good quality garment and how the mind set and work ethic of Nigerian’s must change in order to compete, Ohimai Atafo (CEO bespoke tailor Mai Atafo) who spoke candidly about what it really takes to be a successful designer. Ohimai trained as a bespoke tailor himself in the UK at Saville Row, he explained how it was down to him to learn the skills and educate himself on how to run a successful business. He urged Nigerian up and coming designers to do the same, get experience, intern, educate yourself and not everyone can be a designer! Train and specialise in a specific area such as pattern cutting or quality control. Excellent advice and backed up everything I highlighted in my talk!

Other speakers included Mrs. Funmi Ajila -Ladipo (FADAN PRESIDENT), Engr. Chris Oputa (CEO Studio 24), and Morin Obaweya (CEO Morin.O). Morin is the founder and CEO of a luxury leather handbag label. She spoke about her experience of successfully exhibiting at Magic in LA and her handbags being so popular she secured a large order, however due to the lack of skilled workers and production facilities in Nigeria was unable to accept the order! Morin spoke passionately about the mind set of Nigerian’s and how something desperately had to change in order for the Nigerian fashion industry to be taken seriously by the rest of the world.
Following the presentations questions were opened up to the audience and it sparked a lively debate with some interesting questions. It really seems as though Nigeria is waking up and realising the huge potential they have to turn this around. They already have key stake holders interested in investment, they have the space, the population and now the passion and willingness to begin the hard work to educate themselves as individuals and start operating factories that produce bulk, quality products.

The evening of day two saw the first ever Fashions Finest Africa Epic Show awards in a bid to improve the Nigerian fashion industry and celebrate the success of Africa’s designers! A fantastic evening and hopefully the first of many!

Huge congratulations to all of the winners:

Bag Designer of the Year
Femi Oyelabi – FemiHandBags
Creative of the Year
Papa Oppong (Ghana) – Papa Oppong
Fashion Show of the Year
GTBank Fashion Weekend
Accessories Designer of the Year
Katherine – Mary Pichulik (South Africa) – Pichulik
Stylist of the Year
Oluwatosin Ogundadegbe – The Style infidel Studio
Shoe Designer of the Year
Nuba Elamin, Lynn & Tetsi Bugaari (Kenya and Uganda) – Bugisi-Ruxx
Outstanding Contribution to Nigerian Fashion Award
Omoyemi Akerele
Model of the year
Ayomide Ayodele (Nigeria) – Winner
Womenswear designer of the year
Tubo (Nigeria) – Winner
Makeup Artist of the year
D’ Artiste Dodos (Nigeria) – Winner
Menswear designer of the year
Mai Atafo (Nigeria) – Winner
Fashion magazine of the year
Schick Magazine – Winner
Fashion influencer of the year
Time Makinwa (Nigeria) – Winner
Fashion icon of the year
Deola Sagoe (Nigeria) – Winner
Young designer of the year
Emmy Kasbit (Nigeria) – Winner
Designer of the year
Lisa Folawiyo (Nigeria) – Winner

The next two days will play host to an exhibition for new and emerging designers as well as established brands, catwalk shows and we also visit Wessy Tailoring and Vocational Institute.

Jenni Sutton