Against all odds, the city of Aba, the commercial hub of Abia state still thrives. Bedeviled by the twin anti-development factors – poor infrastructure and electricity. The city can be likened to the proverbial cat with nine lives, always reinventing, rediscovering and re-energizing. Aba is known for many things in Nigeria, ranging from technical fabrication, leather works and fashion. It has been rumored that due to apathy Nigerians have for local good which they tag desirously “Aba made” the city of Aba has demonstrated adeptness and sagacity in fashion industry over the years. Exporting shoes, clothes and bags to other African countries and even continental Europe. This fashion energy was brought to bare when the Governor of the state Okezie Ikpeazu organized the Aba Fashion Week.
Lauded as a welcomed development in the Nigerian fashion ecosystem, the Aba fashion week brought out the finest indigenous creativity in the fashion industry. Bringing notables like Noble Igwe and others. The Aba Fashion week has given the people of Aba the much-needed positive publicity which is clear departure from the rascality that was demonstrated during the ENDSARS protest where police stations where burnt. The fashion week has also shown that the youths of Aba are focused, creative and do not sit down and wait for handouts from the government.
Take it or leave it, the Fashion Week was a huge success. Said to be one of the biggest fashion exhibition in the Southern Nigeria, bringing fashion designers, footwear makers, content creators and other industry stakeholders. Aba Fashion Week is a 5-day International Fashion Platform put together to highlight the place of Aba as a veritable Global Fashion Destination. Billed to hold annually, the event is put together to showcase the creative ingenuity of the fashion entrepreneurs in the city of Aba and Abia State as a whole. The event is also an opportunity for the fashion and lifestyle ecosystem in Aba to learn latest national and global trends in fashionpreneurship from industry trend-setters.
According to the statement of the organizers in their website, they profiled Aba as “Aba, the host city of the Aba Fashion Week is historically a fashion melting pot in Nigeria and Africa. Aba goes beyond the physical city but represents the general ecosystem of fashion entrepreneurship in the region. Most big names in fashion, trading, sports and entertainment today started life in Aba. A Sub-Saharan African Regional Trade Hub, goods from Aba service African Countries with some going all the way to Europe, Asia and the Americas. Home to 5 Million residents, the city services a catchment population of over 25 Million people who come into or transit through the city on their daily endeavors. It is a cosmopolitan city playing host to people from diverse ethnic groups and orientations.”
They added” It is home to the Ariaria International Market, the largest MSME Cluster in West Africa boasting over 350,000 shops and businesses in addition to smaller adjoining markets and hubs. Aba is also the fabrication capital of Nigeria and West Africa with the fabricators in Aba possessing the uncanny ability to create complex engineering models off of a mere photograph or physical sample. With the current political leadership in the State highly supportive of the creative sector in Aba, their fortunes have since improved and the opportunities of what more Aba can become are now endless. The Aba Fashion Week is another opportunity to open gateways of business and opportunities for the creatives in the city to expand their horizon.”
Speaking on the event, Okezie Ikpeazu, the executive Governor of Abia state said “The Aba Fashion Week by Aba Creative Collective with the full support of our government started on Wednesday, 9 December and will be ending today, 11 December. The Fashion Week is just one of our numerous ways of empowering our innovative entrepreneurs in the fashion industry, improve their visibility and patronage, thereby empowering them the more.”
”As a Government, we shall continue to support innovative initiatives as this meant to promote our entrepreneurs and the good work they do. I wear Made-in-Aba products myself with so much pride because they compete favourably with products from other fashion capitals of the world”, he concluded.
Anthony Emeka Nwosu