Abuja – Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN) has called for the liberalisation of trade policies that hinder export of textile material within the African region.
Mrs Funmi Ladipo, National President of FADAN spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja.
She said though governments efforts on trade so far must be lauded more needed to be done.
“Governments are trying to assist African designers but I think they can do more to remove trade barriers killing our local textile industries.
“Raw cotton is exported to different countries like China, where it is processed into finished goods and then brought back to Nigeria, where we have to buy our own cotton at thrice the price.
“Hence it becomes expensive to work under those circumstances.”
“Even the equipment used in the industry is imported from Asia and Eastern Europe.
Ladipo said further that industry-related education is another major challenge.
“At present, the industry is a loose amalgam of African designers and creative professionals who are interested in the successful promotion and formal establishment of the fashion industry,’’ she said.
“Some African Universities are known as best universities in the region, but none of these universities offer programmes on fashion.
“They do not see the need for it and if the government does not see a need for the fashion industry locally, it becomes difficult for us to convince the international market of our existence.
“Africa’s fashion potential is huge both in size and value.
“South Africa and Nigeria currently are the continent’s top fashion markets, but other countries, such as Ethiopia and Mauritius, are coming up.’’ Ladipo said.
Ladipo said that the Oyo State government recently collaborated with FADAN to promote a special Yoruba traditional fabric known as “Aso Ofi’’ popularly called “Aso Oke.’’
She said the collaboration was one of the efforts at showcasing the part of “our Africaness and unique styles”.
“The Aso Oke is worn on special occasions by the Yorubas, especially for coronation, chieftaincy, wedding engagement, festivals, naming ceremony and other important events.
“There are different types of Aso Ofi, but the three popular ones are Etu, Sanyan and Alaari,’’ Ladipo said.
She stressed that, if African Governments were to throw their support behind the fashion industry, the development in the fashion industry in the continent would be enormous.
Ladipo also called for support from other organisations like the African Cotton and Textile Industries Federation.