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BOI Set To Reposition Style Industry with Fashion Master Class

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BOI Set To Reposition Style Industry with Fashion Master Class



The Oriental Hotel, Lekki was a beehive of activities on Tuesday when Bank of Industry (BoI) held a Fashion Masterclass facilitated by renowned business of fashion expert, Mercedes Gonzalez for practitioners in the fashion industry.

The well attended event kicked off with a tour of a mini-exhibition of some exquisite handmade leather and Ankara bags, jewellery, hats, dresses embellished with crystals. Waheed Olagunju, acting MD/CEO BoI was closely followed by Gonzalez and other guests as they moved from booth to booth inspecting some of the beautiful creations on display.

Olagunju said the Master Class has become necessary because BoI does not just grant financial support but also render business support to its customers for them to be successful in their businesses.

“We develop our customers’ business skills,” he explained, “we help build their capacities so they can become successful entrepreneurs; in this case, along the company textile and apparels value chain. We want them to be globally competitive, we want them to keep engaging in competitive manufacturing not only for the Nigerian market but African market beyond.”

According to him, there is a lot of money to make by exporting, for example, to the US where there is a $100 billion company textile and apparel markets under The African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). We are not scratching it; we are closer to the US than Kenya is. Kenya, Madagascar, Botswana, they are exporting to the US from east Africa and south Africa. It is cheaper to export from Lagos to New York and it cost less time too than to export from Mombasa in Kenya. They are at disadvantage but we are closer but why are we not taking advantage.”

In addition, he said to ensure BoI sharpens the skills of entrepreneurs in the textile and apparels value chain such that they can be able to export and access international market especially the US market where there is a huge Nigerian population.

“There a lot of people out there who like clothes made in Nigeria but we are not scratching what we could do. So we want them to realize their potentials by bringing such an international strategist and expert and as we can see they are following the presentation and enjoying it and as a financial institution, when we lend to them, when they have passed through processes like this, they becoming substantially briefed such that when we lend to them, chances of payment are higher and it only when we lend to them that they pay us with interest which is when my salary is paid because our customers pay our salaries that why they say customer is king. It’s good to help our customers to help ourselves.”

After the tour, guests moved into the main hall for the Master Class. Gonzalez who sounded excited to be in Nigeria had earlier tried on some handmade fascinators and turbans on display in the exhibition hall.  She observed that the fashion industry is changing rapidly hence designers in Nigeria need to be a part of it.

“The future is in beautifully made designs. However, it is not just about art, but something that has a commercial value. We have the vision and capabilities. It is all about putting them into action,” she said.

Gonzalez who has been in the fashion industry for 25 years and has run her company for 18 years said to be successful in the global fashion industry garment makers must invest in independent designers.

“That is how to stay competitive,” she explained, “with the retail stores. “So many designers come with this delusion of grandeur. That is for someone who wants to be famous in this business. If you are rich, you will be famous.”

Furthermore, she highlighted groups of people who are not successful in the fashion industry as follows: longevity, ego trip, those who assume they know what they are doing, those who don’t have a niche, those who don’t have industry know-how and drive.

“Those in the longevity category do not understand it takes a long time, success isn’t instant. It is not about a perfect garment but what is sellable. Those on ego trip are looking for things to be perfect, seamless. That is not about it but the product must be sellable.”



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