Founder, Africa Fashion Week, London and Nigeria, Ronke Ademiluyi, says that Nigerians and indeed Africans should adopt African prints (Ankara) as official attires since they are becoming household wears.
Ademiluyi, who made the assertion while speaking to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos about the upcoming Africa Fashion Week Nigeria, said Nigerians should be proud of their own.
She said that it was not enough wearing Ankara mostly on Fridays, adding: “It should be adopted officially for workers and even by schools.
“We adopted the wax print over 150 years ago, but we have turned it into our own.
“Our traditional symbols have been used on the fabrics to pass massages,’’ she said.
According to her, particular prints are synonymous with passing different messages and most of our textile factories adopt patterns of prints that evolve around our African cultures.
“If great men and public figures in international communities put on the Ankara proudly, then why can’t we promote what is our own?
“If we don’t blow our trumpet, who will do it for us?’’
She also noted that if given the right skills through training and opportunities, the business of fashion could lift a lot of people out of poverty.
“Promoting our local fabrics is a step to achieving this,’’ she said.
Ademiluyi described adopting local fabrics as official wears as promoting Africa’s colourful and rich heritage, bringing spunk and new energy to style and fashion across the continent.
She said the African fashion had grown so big in London that it had become a promotional tool for the country and it currently had a high demand internationally.
“African fashion industry is currently worth 31 billion dollars; so, we must collaborate to promote it within our country; we should be proud of our culture because it is rich.
“In trying to infuse our culture with the western world, we must not forget the values it is worth.
“People should not fail to see the beauty and richness of the Nigerian culture,’’ she said.
She further advised groups and organisations to make local fabrics compulsory dress codes for their staff as a way of boosting sales and promoting designers.
“We should transform our local fabrics to official wears just as the international community use suits as formal dress code,’’ she said.
Ademiluyi said that the Africa Fashion Week Nigeria (AFWN), scheduled to hold between June 3 and June 4, was committed to staying true to its African heritage.
“We tend to achieve this in conjunction with governments by organising cultural promotion through fashion,’’ she said.
NAN reports that the AFWN with the theme, “Celebrating the Vibrant Pulse of Africa’’, will hold at the National Theatre on June 3 and June 4.
According to her, the National Arts Theatre, Iganmu, Lagos, where Africa’s culture was showcased in all its grandeur and splendour 40 years ago, represents the nation’s pride.
The programme, she said, was dedicated to the promotion of Africa’s heritage with designers creating concepts from African prints and fabrics.
“Long term growth of the fashion industry is grounded on developing initiatives to ensure that Nigeria remains the centre of fashion and a leader at the forefront of creativity.
“The best of Africa’s emerging and established fashion talents will be showcased at this historic monument to reflect the dynamism of African fashion and a reflection of our roots,’’ she said.
Africa Fashion Week is based both in Nigeria and London and it is the biggest platform for young and upcoming Nigerian and African designers to promote Nigerian made fabrics and designs.