Categories
Fashion

Surviving a Pandemic, Way Forward for African Fashion Brands

To create applicable verdicts about the future, we need to always look and learn from the past. Because those who do not learn from history are bound to reproduce her errors.

It is no news that the fashion industry; alongside other sectors, have taken a severe jab from the Corona virus pandemic, which has caused major setbacks, especially in the modus operandi of the global sector with respect to appearances, seasons and evolution. The virus, similar to the Spanish flu of 1918, is an infamous fatal pandemic that is eating away years of progressive growth, thereby causing global relapses as of what we are encountering currently. Countries have had to resort to executing economical stimulating policies and incentives to its citizens in order to keep business activities afloat. 

As of 1919, the Spanish flu had engulfed a 3rd of the world, which in turn caused people alongside the government to deploy counter measures in containing it. As such, distancing, sanitation, and very importantly the incorporation of masks into daily clothing ensembles aided the cause. These aren’t any different from what we are currently deploying in an attempt to put out the corona fire.

“I heartily favour a woman wearing a heavy chiffon veil all the time she is on the street. It may become necessary to order everyone in New York to adopt this measure. These veils are very thick and would serve as an almost absolute preventative. Let’s forget style and stop this epidemic,” said New York Health Commissioner Royal S. Copeland, in the Oct. 16, 1918 edition of WWD.

This, to the fashion space, beams a touch of the old ways paving the path for our future as even Truth Over Trend once stated, “the way forward is at best, backward”.

Deploying movement restrictions and travel bans across the globe seems like a fit to cut off the virus’s spread. But, it has also hampered industries and progressive economical activities, including the fashion world. The pro to this is that it caused a massive outpouring of creativity and innovation wherein the industry as a whole begins to deploy virtual measures of advertising, marketing, and sales even beyond what was obtainable in the last decade. Fashion shows are being hosted online, interpersonal brand experiences with clients are mostly virtual, and even purchase of merchandise via the internet becomes the new normal wherein the market continues to survive as the world shakes off the dreaded virus.

Thus, taking a look at the African fashion scenery, the continent as we know it is a vivid contributor to the fashion history and space the world is concerned for, as she utilises the recourse availed her as an insufficient region to compete with the developed parts of the world. The pandemic also affected her as a lot of manufacturing plants, stores, outlets were forced to close and events cancelled (as it was with other parts of the world), but so did it avail her a new horizon to create at beneficial terms and swiftly as opposed to what the Fashion Capitals are capable of.

The industry, especially in Africa is capable of thriving by deploying flexible work ethics that caters for the essentials as opposed to excessive and (on the long run) creating a common base of well chain-linked networks that provides a means of collaboration (resource pull), specialisation and adequate deployment of the limited resources at hand.The future of African Fashion is highly dependent and tailored towards collaborations and incorporation of digitally inclined strategies for her to go beyond the status quo.

Anita Ukah

“It has been said that Africa is the future of fashion and that is undeniably true. From Nigerian craftsmen making exotic designs to designers and their awe-inspiring pieces. It is amazing how much work and heart put into the production of pieces.

“We have a lot to offer: our rich textiles; colourful fabrics and leather, all these can compete with the global markets especially when it comes to the finishing of most Nigerian products.

“We have a lot of culture and heritage, and we keep these alive by representation and presentation.Telling our stories and expressing who we are through fashion is imperative cause that’s one of the ways to keep our identity alive. Most international brands use African prints and even just rebrand what we have and market. 

Anita Ukah

“You are the best person to tell your story, you don’t sit and let someone else do it, milk you for it and then complain. Although, using African culture and heritage cannot be everyone’s style but finding ways to incorporate or identify with it is important because that’s a way to keep it alive.

“As of today many Nigerian works are being recognised abroad, as well there is a demand for them.

“Regarding how we have been able to remain sustainable as a leather bag brand despite such harsh times, t he cost of leather in Nigeria are generally fair which made top international brands often import leather from Nigeria, and I don’t think they would import from Nigeria if it were considered expensive. This enables us to source all our working materials locally, so getting materials wasn’t an issue at first. But then, there was the scare of going out and contacting the COVID-19 virus as we work with craftsmen, this also meant coming in contact with people and everyone being at risk. The situation then gradually went from that to the lockdown. People were rarely going out and didn’t quite see the need to purchase fashion pieces and even if they did want to make a purchase, there was the issue of delivery.

Anita Ukah

“However, knowing what I want for my brand (Uzoleatheratelier)  keeps me and the enterprise going. We are working towards having a brand of locally made goods that cater to variety of people within the socio-economical pyramid. My craftsmanship is really important to me as i consider one of the most important things in a product is it’s finishing. My pieces are finely crafted and high quality is always attained, this applies to the leather and all other materials used as well.

“Meanwhile, most Nigerian fashion brands import fabrics and other materials, so with closure of borders, manufacturing has definitely been challenging and also with events and celebrations being brought to a halt or minimum, this drastically reduces the demand for most fashion items as people have fewer places to be and therefore do not purchase clothing like before the pandemic. But, as the situation has been, most fashion brands have ventured into production of protective face mask and even incorporated fashion pieces like beads, sequins etc into making them. Profits made from production of face mask would (I think) not be comparable to that made from other fashion pieces prior to the pandemic.

“But, at least a new niche was carved and at the end of the day, little profits are better than no profits at all. The lockdown has been eased and business for me is gradually picking up. Business is not what it used to be but that’s why it’s important to think of new ways to move ahead.

Anita Ukah

“Also, accessibility of textiles for production of items by local brands may present its own challenges, as finding particular type of fabrics over time is not assured due to the fact that they are mostly imported into the country. 

“So, tackling the issue would involve local production of textiles and materials and this is not common as running and maintaining such an establishment would come at a great cost.” 

“However, E-commerce businesses are actually best in times like this as business still goes on whilst keeping safe. Regarding online stores and Social media, there’s a higher tendency of reaching a wider range of customers coupled with a high consumer base for almost anything on social media, thereby making business activities via E-commerce platforms certainly advised in times like this,” Uzoleatheratelier, Founder and Creative Director, Anita Ukah explains during an exclusive interview with theparakeetshow.com 

Anita Ukah

Meanwhile, we would be turning a blind eye if we do not recognise that there are prominent limitations such as, scarcity of quality affordable fabrics, drop in sales of clothing items and fashion merchandise, order cancellations, inability to gather; amongst many others. All of these affect segments of the fashion industry, majorly Fashion Designing, Modelling, Photography, and slightly Fashion Publications. But, if the African Fashion industry pulls resources together to enable a joint and much solid impact in the global market, such would sporadically influence the positioning of Africa as a 1st or 2nd World Fashion Capital. Owing to this, truly some parts of Africa would benefit more while others less, but this would be based on principles of offer and acceptance where what is offered meets the global needs and demands of fashion savvies.

Anita Ukah
Categories
Poetry

Night Lights

H.


My intent is not to tickle your nipples and then leave you wanting, nor have you from this Moonlight till the next Sunrise. Nah, this does not please my soul, but my Body and Mind.

I see no point holding on to what was, So, I seek for what I believe is the source and this leads me to a new world with moons and singing Stars.

I long to have you for eternity, or at least for as many days as the Stars, but if thy flesh and fire is all you want, verily your wish is my command.

However, my conscience pricks so i have to warn you i will appear and disappear from your sight as a shooting Star, on the night all your wishes can become a reality, thus, i am known by few and a myth to most of mankind.

Whilst I wanted it all with you the grains on my palm were not mine, neither was the river I felt I could drown in; thus I wrote you songs that will live forever.

Darling, I was neutral until your sweet dirty words sunk into my senses, thereby creating a sensation I want, thus, it was as pure and powerful as Light.

Model: Peggy George
Photographed by: Hamid Ayodeji
Categories
Poetry

A Tale of True Religions: The Milky Way

H.


At the right space and time i could catch you by the wings when you are falling.

With the right amount of Sunlight i can look into your eyes and feel its burning sensation save me.

At the deep Eastern region of the garden, after a life time of descending, it feels like i am still falling for you.

With every step taken i feel a certain kind of way, i mean energy. Finally i feel free, like i can do anything i wish and pray for; and this can also be intoxicating me.

At this point, i feel the darkest times can be our brightest hour as i can see the moon and a shooting star adorn the night sky. Thus, i reached out midst everything with poetry.

Categories
Poetry

Her Story

@abandoned_road


she waits for him

as she had promised

and she waits alone.

Her ears desperately craving

for the sounds of his footsteps

from the other side

But she isn’t able to see

what’s happening on the other end

because he has already closed,

not just the doors,

but the windows as well.

Still she believes

he’ll open the doors very soon

Oh God, she is such a tragic fool.

she doesn’t know she is lost somewhere

Deserted of all her hopes & dreams

Pushed far away from all those places,

places she believed were her destinies

a master he was with all his words

spoke those lies like a player,

Eventually became her god & beyond

she invested in him every bit of her prayer

But still she waits alone there under the moon,

Because she really believes

he’ll open the doors sometime soon

Oh God, she is such a tragic fool.


Categories
Lifestyle

Novographer Discusses Journey as a Nigerian Photographer

We caught up with budding event and celebrity photographer, Novographer who granted us a sneak peek into his journey thus far as a Nigerian photographer.

Hamid Ayodeji presents the excerpts:

How did you come up with the name Novographer?

My Nickname happens to be Novocaine and I am a photographer. When I started, I had problems getting or picking a name. So a friend actually, Samuel Ogbeh picked the name. He just added Novo and Photographer. First said Novothegrapher then I finally coined it into Novographer

So what’s your real name?

Olayinka Oluwatobiloba Adedipupo

How long have you been a professional photographer for and why photography?

I’ve been a Photographer Since my 200L long holiday break, that was 2015, but professionally, 2016. Well, photography because I really didn’t get along with school, so I felt if I didn’t have good grades at the end of my fourth year, I should have something to fall back on.

Who has been your most interesting client to work with thus far and why?

I’ve had a lot of fun shoots along the line. But I’ve not had THE ONE yet I guess…

via @novographer

In few sentences tell us how Nigerian women have been treating you since you went into photography professionally

Nigerian women… Let me say babes…
Mehn… At first the attention wasn’t all there. Till December 2017 when I got to work with my first Celebrity, YCEE and boom!! Everything changed. This 2018 also, has been a cool year as far as my career. Most girls even some guys see me as one big man. But mehn, I’m really just that guy they all knew November 2017. But then, It’s much easier to talk to girls now ‘cause at the end of the day, they want to get in front of my camera. Lol.

Is there anybody you are looking forward to working with, who if yes?

Kenvshots!!! That’s his instagram Handle. His name is Kehinde I think, he’s a Nigeran UK based Event Photographer and his images give me chills always and always. He said if he comes to Nigeria I’d work with him. Damn I’m so excited honestly.

 

 

 

Categories
Poetry

River of Love

H.

Countless numbers of kisses you give me in my mind.

We were in utopia, naked and drunk all night.

Boundless was the love and the desire for your kisses.

Countless lies I tell myself, only to be defeated by the truth tonight.

We were alone in the whole universe the moment your lips touched mine.

@tartiyana

Boundless are our thoughts, if the mind is explored, the unthinkable will be our findings.

Countless times have we drifted away from the winds reach, to wake from the fall off a dragon’s wing.

We were breathing heavily but yet short of breath of life.

Boundless was the intent to prove my love for you, even if it meant going to war for the world and riding with the Knights.

Categories
Poetry

Seasons Pass

The Journey and Sunshine made my skin dark as clay and with each step Angels were my light, night and day.

The stars were lit, the moon full so as every string was struck in accordance to every note, the Angels led the way.

Every symphony birth from the beauty emitting from your smiles and gestures was so much a sign that this piece, I no go fit throw wey.

As the leafs dropped from the the tree’s branches, down to the streets, due to the freezing wind lingering upon it, I watched from a distance wishing you were next to me.

Fancy leather boots from the store with shinny glass windows and I was reminded with you it is all or nothing.

If love could dare wither away as quickly as these leafs or leather on these boots, I never loved you truly.

H.

Photo Credit: Hamid Ayodeji