Omoyemi Akerele founder of Style House Files and the just concluded MTN Lagos Fashion & Design Week was recently quoted in the New York Times, as part of the newspaper’s coverage of the IHT Luxury Conference held in Rome.
“ROME — Has Africa’s golden moment arrived? For the gurus of the luxury world, the answer is a resounding yes — at least as a source of inspiration for design trends that are rippling through the fashion industry.
The designer Jean Paul Gaultier and Farida Khelfa of Maison Schiaparelli during the luxury conference in Rome this week.
Designers from Vivienne Westwood to Jean Paul Gaultier have long drawn on the vibrancy of African culture in their clothing lines. But now the industry is taking a tentative look at whether it makes sense to put down larger stakes as the African economy begins to take its place alongside the world’s other promising emerging markets.
After decades of struggle, and despite continued challenges like poverty and conflict, a middle class is forming in several large countries that have managed to diversify their economies away from basic commodities and move toward modernization.
That is fueling a perceptible rise in large cities like Nairobi in the numbers of people who are aspiring to more than the basics, creating a demand for luxury goods that is in step with the trends seen in other growing countries like China and Brazil, participants at a luxury conference in Rome said Thursday. The event was convened by The International Herald Tribune.
“We all know that Nigeria was all about oil and natural resources for a long time,” said Omoyemi Akerele, the creative and managing director of Style House Files, a guide to fashion, style and beauty. “Now we have telecoms, banking, marketing, retail and tourism. As a result, more jobs have been created, consumer spending has increased and there is more disposable income.”
Read the full story on NewYorkTimes.com.