Fashion is one huge contributor of economic growth for any country and/or region if the right things and structures are in place. Take for example, Milan, regarded as the current fashion capital of the world has major fashion houses labels such as Versace, Gucci, Armani, Valentino, Prada, Moschino and Missoni headquartered in the city. This greatly contribute to its economy. The United States of America enjoys about 25% of its GDP through fashion alone! Arguably, China, the world’s biggest fashion land mine “is a rapidly growing consumer market and more companies are looking for ways to develop marketing, branding and communication that is relevant to Chinese consumers.” [SOURCE: marketingtochina.com]. From the foregoing, Africa, particularly the West African region could enjoy attendant benefits of fashion given the raw talent and creativity available, moreso the continent is overly blessed with mineral and human resources. Again, with the right structures in place, West Africa and extension could be a fashion “land mine” just like China. OBJECTIVES OF ECOWAS FASHION WEEK 2014 Being the maiden edition, the organisers of ECOWAS FASHION WEEK will seek to cash in on the growing African fashion market, especially the West African region. ECOWAS-governed region is comprised of fifteen (15) countries, namely: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo. The objectives of the upcoming fashion week will be to:
Encouraging the exportation of local designs in the region. This will be the focal point and preoccupation of organizers of ECOWAS FASHION WEEK who are desirous of making impact during the fashion week coming up in August, 2014. Talks are ongoing with buyers who will be expected to grace the fashion week. ATTENDANT BENEFITS OF ECOWAS FASHION WEEK The average African youth is known for their vibrant and entrepreneurial spirit especially if in an enabling environment. Apart from the chrematistic gains of ECOWAS FASHION WEEK in the region, one other key benefit will be the entrepreneurial engagement of youths across the 15 countries. Young fashion creatives in designing, manufacturing, makeup artistry, styling, media, PR, photography, and beauty segments will be brought on board. Secondly, as mentioned earlier, organisers of ECOWAS FASHION WEEK are partnering with top buyers who will be exposed to the raw ingenuity of these fashion creatives. Thirdly, awards and recognitions like “Lifetime Achievement Award” and The “ECOWAS Young Designer of the Year” will be given to designers who have contributed immensely in the area of fashion and most outstanding upcoming designer respectively. Being a yearly event, this will spur healthy competitiveness among young upcoming designers in the ECOWAS region to put in originality in their work. Finally, one other critical benefit when ECOWAS FASHION WEEK kicks off is it will put Africa on the world map thereby attracting mainstream investors in the region.
CONCLUSION Billed to take place between 22nd to 24th August 2014, ECOWAS FASHION WEEK will be holding at the ultramodern, world-class Landmark Event Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos State. Studio24 is the event planner. World Press Conference with major sponsors will hold in Lagos and is expected in July 2014. For more on ECOWAS FASHION WEEK 2014, visit www.ecowasfashionweek.com