By Christy Anyanwu
Nigerian designers and fashion icons were elated during the week, when the United States Consulate General honoured 20 emerging and mid-career Nigerian fashion designers, who recently participated in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a flagship US government exchange program.
At the event, the participants exhibited some of their top-quality designs and fashion accessories.
The Consul General of the United States Pierangelo toured each of their exhibits and learned about their experiences during the IVLP project. The IVLP event was a virtual exhibition titled, “Promoting Economic Growth and Trade in the Fashion Industry,” which offered the 20 participants a unique opportunity to connect with their U.S. counterparts and enriched their knowledge of entrepreneurship, business development, and innovation in the US fashion industry.
In her remarks, Pierangelo explained that the US Mission created the IVLP programme focused on the fashion industry to strengthen economic and commercial ties between the United States and Nigeria through sustained engagement with creative industries that are centred in Lagos.
“In the last few years, Nigeria and the United States have witnessed growing cultural ties,” Pierangelo said, adding, “This fashion IVLP project is a fantastic example of our strategic economic outreach to Nigeria’s creative industries to further strengthen economic ties through culture and fashion.”
Hosted by US Chargé d’Affaires, Kathleen FitzGibbon and Consul General Pierangelo, the reception was attended by an eclectic mix of guests including Nigeria’s pioneer fashion designer, Shade Thomas-Fahm; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija; and former Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode.
Expressing appreciation for the learning opportunity, which the programme provided them, Creative Director, Twelve 06, Gabby Ibeabuchi, said: “The training was a great experience. I had wanted to go global, shared my talent and creativity to the world; IVLP made my desire a reality.”
On her part, Creative Director Ronid, Veronica Obende described the training as “awesome and insightful” while Creative Director, Aayanfe Creations, Tolulope Olayiwola said the training had changed her life, adding that she learnt a lot from mighty giants in the industry.
Creative Director, Olam Creations, Mobolaji Jaaji, told Sunday Sun that the training exposed the beneficiaries to a “lot of knowledge; it was impactful and insightful.”
Shalewa Ajila, Shalewa Ajila, creative director, Regalia by Salz, said the training gave her a better understanding of the business side of fashion, adding, “We were enlightened on funding opportunities available to Nigerians in the industry.
Another of the beneficiaries, Bolupe Adebiyi, creative director, Cuttun Loops, declared the training as “really educative and inspiring.”