I’ve had to keep a low profile since I’ve been in Port Harcourt, Nigeria because of safety/security.  Some could say I’ve taken it to extremes but…

Anyhoo, I’m majorly restless at the moment so over the weekend I decided I was going to take my first trip beyond the ‘Golden Gates’.

I wore this kaftan which I had made by a good family friend.  I looooove it!  If you read my blog regularly you’ll know I’m a Kaftan Junkie.

??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Due to the nature of my consultancy work, I’m absolutely fascinated by how Nigerians shop.  The segment I’m focused on are the so-called ‘privileged ones’.  After doing some research on where to shop in Port-Harcourt, I headed to a shopping mall called Genesis.  On the whole, I was seriously disappointed about the experience.  Why? All the clothing boutiques stocked pieces from International brands: Claire’s, Primark- there was even a Mango store!  A whole store dedicated to Mango and not one store sold any pieces from Nigerian/African designers- how sad is that?

???????????????????????????????Don’t get me wrong, I walked away with a fab skirt that I’ll be wearing on my birthday- 10TH DECEMBER, Woop WOOP!!  But I didn’t expect to go to a store in Port Harcourt and walk out with a skirt from Top Shop!

Yes, the Nigerian fashion industry is climbing up the ladder: the e-commerce industry is growing, there is LFDW but in my opinion, the retail industry is…well is there a retail industry?  I know cities like Lagos and Abuja have some amazing concept stores but retail fashion-wise, Nigeria is more than Lagos and Abuja: or is it?

Pick up one of the large readership mags in London (for e.g.) and you’ll get a good idea of the range of the stores and designers in the district.  However when I flipped through the October edition of 2 of the most popular fashion mags in Nigeria, their fashion editorials used pieces from Mango on EVERY PAGE.

How can this be when LFDW shows over 25 designers for its fashion week? It’s true that a few of the designers showcased are stocked in top Lagos stores like Temple Muse, Stranger, L’Espace and sell in luxury e-commerce sites (e.g. 5th & Quansah), but that’s only a handful of the designers that show during the event. What about the others that don’t sell in the retail stores or feature in the bulk of the Nigerian fashion mags?  What happens to them  beyond showing their Lookbooks on BellaNaija?  Where does that leave them commercially?

I’m going to Lagos soon to work on some fashion projects and I can’t wait, as hopefully that will answer a lot of my questions…