The fast-growing uptake of social media in Nigeria has successfully placed the country’s fashion and glamour industry on the world map, experts said today at a panel session of the Social Media Week Lagos.
This was one of the key takeaways at the panel discussion at the Social Media Week Lagos where the Nigerian fashion industry came under the spotlight.
One of the panelists, Pepper Chikezie, who is Channel Manager, Spice Fashion & Lifestyle, describes social media as a catalyst that has pushed the Nigeria fashion industry into global recognition.
He believes that African fashion, especially Nigeria, is fast becoming an area of attention globally, with the traction gained largely through social media, which Chikezie credits to a greater extent for the upsurge of Nigerian and African fashion brands around the world.
“Social media has been able to showcase our fashion in an unprecedented way both locally and internationally. It has given our designers platforms to display their products and that has helped a lot in improving the industry’’ Chikezie adds.
Kelechi Amadi-Obi, a fashion photographer and Publisher of Mania Magazine believes the advent of social media has given people more freedom to display their works without having to meet any magazine Editor to help them publish it.
According to Amadi-Obi, “I started photography when there was no digital camera. When digital camera came, there was no social media. But in the last few years when social media came around, it has cut out the gatekeepers, that is, the magazine editors that will choose only the photographs they like to publish. Now you put out any photograph you wish to and your followers see it all and choose the ones they like.’’
On her part Funmi Daniel, VP/Creative Director, Jumia Fashion, believes the social media has opened a lot of opportunities for people to make money “from anywhere.”
According to the Jumia executive, “the impact of social media technology is that you can be on your bed and discover new things. People can literally be on their bed and make money. It is really a good thing. It has opened up many entrepreneurial opportunities.’’
She advises attendees at the Social Media Week Lagos forum on the need to have quality and relevant content “that your followers can appreciate.”
According to Daniel, “now we have a channel to tell our story and showcase our fashion. We have started it already and the result has been positive.’’
For Bukky Karibi-Whyte, who is Founder, The Bobby Tailor Africa/Invicta Africa, people have to seriously work and improve on what they do before getting on social media so as to be able to attract genuine followers who can really patronize their brands.
“Since the whole idea of social media is to take you to the next level, you have to seriously work more on your craft. So you work properly before going to the social media for more credibility”, according to Karibi-Whyte.
Echoing what her co-panelists had earlier said about social media, another fashion designer, Lisa Folawiyo says that, “as a designer, it is important that what I do is shown to the world and social media has been able to help me do that. People in the world over are able to appreciate what we do and it is social media that did that for us.’’
There is a consensus among the panelists the impact of social media on the Nigerian fashion industry is powerful and positive.
However, Amadi-Obi identifies the importance of things like protecting one’s intellectual property online, which still “still poses a challenge” but concludes that the benefits of putting your work out online still far outweighs these disadvantages.