Business a.m.

Nigeria’s $1bn plus-size fashion industry

- Bukola Odufade

THE FASHION SCENE IN NIGERIA has evolved over the years and has garnered some internatio­nal recognitio­n with local turned internatio­nal fashion houses like Deola Sagoe, Maki-Oh, among others, making a strong showing.

However, a small sub-sector of the larger industry,

THE FASHION SCENE IN NIGERIA has evolved over the years and has garnered some internatio­nal recognitio­n with local turned internatio­nal fashion houses like Deola Sagoe, Maki-Oh, among others, making a strong showing.

However, a small sub-sector of the larger industry, plus size fashion, has been underserve­d despite an estimated $1 billion market valuation.

Being plus-sized used to be an “African thing” and was regarded as normal, but the adoption of Western lifestyle changed this. And this is because the Western culture has not always been welcoming towards plus-sized women.

Wilson Alao, managing director of PlusSize Fashion Week Africa (PFWA) described the industry as “a growing industry”.

He told business a.m. in an interview that most major brands are still shying away from venturing into the plus-size fashion industry because it is still in its infancy, but he notes that the potential of the industry is understate­d.

The fashion show the company is putting together is aiming to promote the fashion industry especially for plus sized women and to remove the hostility that is experience­d by plus sized people in the society, said Temi Aboderin-Alao, founder of PlusSize Fashion Week Africa (PFWA) who also spoke to business a.m.

The old stigmas surroundin­g plus-size fashion are melting away and as a result, the industry is recording growth and various new opportunit­ies in the industry are popping up.

One result of this growth has been a focus on plus-size modeling and this has been bolstered by celebritie­s who are also plus-sized and MarketRese­arch, a market data analytics firm, said that plus-size modeling is on the rise, reaching $64 million in the United States alone.

Alao also gave examples of internatio­nal brands like Asos now doing plus-size fashion to appeal to millennial, and how this was pushing local brands like Modavi Couture.

He said: “Looking at Asos, who is also doing plus size, we have designers in Nigeria now, who are doing plus size. We actually have designers who do skinny wears, but did plus size collection last year.

“So it is a gradual process, but it is about time. Everything starts from somewhere, and we are proud that we are part of that growth,” he explained.

The company is also trying to key into the growing plus size modeling industry, as it looks to host a competitio­n for plus size models who would be part of the PFWA and would be signed by JP Kouture modeling arm, Golden Curvy Agency. It is also aiming to be the first internatio­nal plus size export in Africa, because for now, there are no model exports from Africa, Alao said.

Also, despite the state of the industry, it is quite competitiv­e because it involves women and there is increased attention on the way women are viewed and portrayed in the society.

“It is very competitiv­e because it is an industry that has to do with a lot of women, and a lot of people want to say I did this for us, I did that for us, so that is what is happening, and the only way we stand out is to make sure that what we are doing is back to back, that we don’t stop.” he added.

One result of this growth has been a focus on plus-size modeling and this has been bolstered by celebritie­s who are also plus-sized

 ??  ?? L-R : Mathieu Plassard, chief executive, Ogilvy Africa; Seni Adetu, chief executive, Ogilvy Nigeria and Paul O’Donnell, chief executive, EMEA, the Ogilvy Group, during the media launch of Ogilvy Nigeria at the Landmark Event Centre Lagos.
L-R : Mathieu Plassard, chief executive, Ogilvy Africa; Seni Adetu, chief executive, Ogilvy Nigeria and Paul O’Donnell, chief executive, EMEA, the Ogilvy Group, during the media launch of Ogilvy Nigeria at the Landmark Event Centre Lagos.

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