Distinguished members of the press, it gives me a great pleasure to address you this morning on our forthcoming 2017 FADAN Fashion Week, with the theme: “A Stich In Time,” holding November 18-19 at the Civic Center, Victoria Island. The theme for this year has been carefully crafted to demonstrate the essence of making the hay, while the sun still shines.
As in our tradition, this year’s event goes beyond the runway and entertainment, it involves a new direction in youth empowerment. This two-day event will x-ray the essentials in the fashion industry through training and sure-fire Master Class to be conducted by proven professionals and experts in Nigeria’s fashion industry.
This tells you in simple terms that we are ready to take the world in giant strides by repositioning the fashion industry as a viable profession that has contributed immensely to the nation’s economy through empowerment and gainful exposure to international best practices. And this initiative to train young people in the fashion industry will be a quarterly affair from 2018.
What’s more, we are always on top of our game.
If you recall, last year, we staged an international fashion fair that was preceded by donations of clothing materials to 5,000 displaced children in different IDP camps across the country. This symbolic gesture went a long way in establishing FADAN as a serious professional body that is always rising to the occasion through our social investment in different communities, as stakeholders where we see socio-economic gaps yearning to be filled.
We are at it again this year with another laudable program beyond the runway. This year’s event will run for two to three days with fashion designers drawn from different parts of Nigeria and West Africa. Our goals this year will centre more on capacity building for young fashion designers who will be exposed to new trends in the industry, as we empower them to become real partners in the fashion value chain.
You will also recall how FADAN, under our administration had clamoured for production hubs across the country with a view to putting real value to our creativity through division of labor and specialization as it’s done in several parts of the world. We have, on several occasions presented our case to the federal and state government in this regard. We must work hard to promote Made In Nigeria goods beyond word of mouth.
Gentlemen of the press, you will agree with me that what a stethoscope means to a medical doctor is what sewing machines mean to tailors at the tail end of the fashion value chain. We will continue to push for specialization and adequate skill development above the Jack of all Trade situation most of our designers represent today, by default.
So, this year’s program, as you can see is fully loaded. We are using this medium to appeal to corporate and individual Nigerians to support our effort to empower our youth who have demonstrated interest in fashion design, and whose dreams may be truncated due to lack of exposure and inadequate funding.
Funds received from sponsors and partners will be used majorly for purchasing state of the art sewing machines for over 500 trainees — some of whom will benefit from this year’s event, and others identified through our partnership with colleges and universities offering fashion design in their curriculum.
We are set to make this happen and we are counting on you, our media partners, for your support to generate visibility for this year’s Fashion Week. With petro dollars fast diminishing, another survival option is the exportation of our work across the shores of our country; and this will benefit the industry and the nation at large.
I thank you for spending your precious time with us as we look forward to favorable coverage of FADAN Fashion Week 2017.
Funmi Ajila Ladipo
Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN).