By Josephine Obute
Lagos – The founder, Africa Fashion Week London/Nigeria, Ronke Ademiluyi, says that fashion can be used as a veritable platform to enhance the profile of the nations iconic cities.
Ademiluyi made the assertion during a visit to the Lagos office of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Tuesday.
According to her, we realised that most of our historic monuments are going down and we need to sell it to the outside world to draw them into our country.
“Nigeria has the potential to become one of the biggest tourism havens in Africa, if we do not promote what we have as our own heritage, no one will do it for us.
“I mean 10 top countries, its going in billions and trillions, look at little Gambia, in fact, their economy is on tourism, nine months of the year, they are earning from tourism,’’ she said.
Ademuliyi said that African Fashion Industry was worth about 31 billion dollars and still growing by the day.
“There is recognition for the African fashion industry across the globe, and we are trying to encourage upcoming designers to have a platform that will boost our tourism industry,’’ she added.
In the same vein, Aiki Odiawa, a partner in the Africa Fashion Week London/Nigeria, said there was a cyclical effect of the fashion industry on the economy
“Nigerian designers are very vibrant and unique, they have what it takes to turn the fashion industry into economic gain by diverting fashion traffic into the country,’’ she said.
She said that Africa fashion week started in London with over 50 designers of which 40 were from Nigeria.
“The Nigerian fashion industry sets the pace in the fashion industry. When we set the ball rolling, everyone will follow.
“In Brazil, they want to know everything about African culture and Nigeria has it; we have reached the historical “Point of No Return’’ that the government has just refurbished, let the foreign visitors go there.
“At the end of the day, we are looking at a balance of payment in terms of forex; we are talking about forex not coming into the country.
“But when these people come in they spend foreign currency, and we must grow the market ourselves and show them what we have.
“I’m sure people in Lagos haven’t even been to Tinubu Square in recent times, it is an amazing place to go to now, the National Theatre is an edifice that is worth coming down to look at.
“We all queue in front of Madam Tussaud in London, we queue in front of Eiffel Tower in Paris, it’s the same thing, and we are even better off because we’ve got stories to tell.
“We’ve got tales to tell, those are all artificial pieces that were made there, but we have stories to tell about all the things we have.
“For the country, we are talking about hospitality business, we are talking foreign exchange, we are talking inflow of air travel and road travel.
“And even tourism within the country would be improved by the time people know that there are things for them to see, it will educate our children.
She told NAN that the forthcoming 2017 Africa Fashion Week, Nigeria, tagged “The Iconic Catwalk Show’’ would take place at the National Theatre and Tinubu Square on April 1 and April 2 respectively.