On Sunday, 19 February 2012, the city of Lagos witnessed a one-of-a-kind event, a large gathering of fashion designers and fashion entrepreneurs. Their purpose? To meet, discuss, collaborate and find solutions to the current challenges faced by many fashion businesses in Nigeria and in the process move the industry forward.
Powered by Martwayne, a fashion retail, consulting and training outfit, Designers Connect was attended by over 150 guests in a very sophisticated and up-market boutique hotel in Lekki Phase 1, Trends the Kitchen. The networking session was attended by various players in the fashion industries and featured speeches by Temitope Williams, CEO of Martwayne and convener of the meeting, as well as other notable designers such as Prince Oyefusi, owner of Nobel Afrique and President of FADAN and Ohimai Atafo, renowned designer and creative director of Mai Atafo Inspired (MAI).
What gave the event a unique twist, however, was the presence of business professionals from all works of life such as accountants, marketing specialists, lawyers, business development consultants, PR specialists, the media, a representative from FATE Foundation, photographers, etc. As explained by Temitope, an ex-accountant with KPMG Professional Services and a South-African trained fashion designer, “It was necessary to call in these professionals to help us out since we cannot do it alone. Many designers are drowning in their businesses and as much as we all complain, no one ever does anything about it. So I decided enough was enough and took it upon myself to do something about it. However, I realized that what I needed to do was to try and merge the fashion and business communities. It’s about time fashion designers wake up and realize that we need help from experts in other fields if we are to move our businesses and, inevitably, the industry forward. We also need to network, work together and speak with one voice if we want other industries and even our customers to take us seriously. It doesn’t stop here, though. This is simply the beginning.”
Check out pictures from the event below and visit www.fashionbeyondstitches.com for more insight into Designers Connect.