Since the 1970s Nigerian fashion has flourished nationally and internationally. Our country is full of fashion elegance. Western wears is becoming unpopular as the years go by and African wears are gaining popularity due to their uniquely tailored patterns. Our tailors are top in terms of creativity, the world see our fashion as one of the best in Africa.
Fashion speaks clearly to the imagination. Different styles of clothing are tailored often. Also widely welcomed are the fashion shows and exhibitions. Due to the growing interest in fashion, lots of persons have gone for apprenticeship or internship programmes in fashion houses. Some higher institutions of learning have created degree courses in fashion.
Though the fashion industry is growing but harsh economic conditions and lack of regular power supply are major inhibitors. But working in the fashion industry, is fun and profitable.
Creativity and fashion business
The last 4 months I interviewed as part of my research on “successful fashion business”, 20 designers, male and female, known and less known, successful and less successful startups and established. They all had stories of passion, courage and boundless dedication. I was curious about how they work and think, and what impact it has on their own definition of success. I discovered their constant search for innovative styles and creating new trends was a major part of their success. Clients always wanted to wear current styles in their clothing.
The interviews taught me that these designers are indeed constantly looking for uniqueness and innovation, and that business skills are important to survive as a creative entrepreneur. A balance between creativity and business skills, appears to be critical, but however skewed by a lot of starting designers is this balance. They seem to want to lose focus on the business side of creativity and vice versa. This can hinder success.
The interviews show that a skewed balance is detrimental to the growth of their creative enterprise. Although usually thought differently about them, they still attach remarkable importance to the business side of their design and organization.
I also came to the conclusion that young designers have difficulty not following the usual way of working in the fashion industry. As a young designer, you have to follow the fashion norms to be successful. Humility and integrity are vital norms in fashion.
Let it be known to those who are starters in fashion “there’s no easy way to success”. It’s hard work, and above all means, seek a balance between artistic freedom and your business acumen and survival. There are plenty of courses which focus on one of these aspects: creativity; you learn at a fashion house either as an apprentice or an intern, business of fashion; you can learn any where else. But few fashion house like ours offer both because it is the key to a successful fashion career.