By Josephine Obute
Lagos – Ronke Ademiluyi, a renowned UK-based Nigerian fashion designer, says that African designs have come of age in the international fashion circuit and must be a source of pride to every Nigerian.
“The African fashion industry is currently worth about $31 billion, so we must collaborate to promote it within our country, we should be proud of our culture because it is rich.’’
Ademiluyi told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday in Lagos that African fashion had grown so big in London and could be used as a compelling promotional tool by the government.
She added that Nigerian entrepreneurs should strive to establish local fabrics as a compulsory dress code for corporate employees as a way to boost the sales of local designers.
“In trying to infuse our culture with the western world, we must not forget the value and its worth. People should not fail to see the beauty and richness of the Nigerian culture.
“The way the European and western community use suit as a formal dress code, we should transform our local fabrics to an official outfit,” she said.
Ademiluyi, who is the founder of Africa Fashion Week London Limited, told NAN that her outfit’s forthcoming show tagged: “The Iconic Catwalk Show’’ will hold on April 1 and April 2 at the National Theatre and Tinubu Square, respectively.
According to Ademiluyi, the catwalk would provide a platform for designers across Nigeria to express our history, culture and relevance through their various concepts.
The entrepreneur added that the iconic show would use catwalks, not just to showcase fashion, but to showcase the heritage sights in the country, not just Lagos but all across Nigeria.
“We want the international community to see the richness of our culture and patronize our tourism because we will be selling our cultural heritage to them.
“It will also bring massive media exposure to the beauty of the Nigerian costumes and fabrics such as ‘Ankara’, ‘batiks’ and more insights to heritage sites in Lagos state.
“This show started in London in 2010, when there was no platform to showcase African brands and the turnout was amazing, which made it obvious that there was a high demand for African fashion in London,” she said.
She said that the event would provide a viable platform for up-and-coming designers to showcase their wares.
“Our aim is to reach out to up-and-coming designers who cannot get space on international platform, we want the Nigerian designers not just showcasing and promoting their designs but selling their talents.
“The show will try to ensure that the fashion designers make a profitable leaving out of their passion by commercialising the industry and teaching them the business side of the game,’’ she said.
NAN reports that Africa Fashion Week is based both in Nigeria and London, and is the biggest platform for budding designers to promote made-in-Nigeria fabrics and designs.