The fashion design industry in Nigeria and Africa as a whole has experienced continuous growth and development. The evidence is a myriad of fashion shows held across the continent and Nigerian fashion designers who top the list of the best in the industry. Yet, the potential for fashion designing in Nigeria remains massive with new opportunities to show one’s skills and creativity. This is especially true in Nigeria where people love fashion and shows. While rising to the top in the fashion industry will still require much hard work, diligence, and strategy, the fashion business in Nigeria is one with huge prospects that should encourage an aspiring fashion to go into it. However, becoming a fashion designer and being successful at it requires strategic thinking, which is why this article has gathered all you need to know about being a fashion designer in Nigeria.
Below are steps to becoming a fashion designer in Nigeria:
Learn Fashion Designing
The first step towards becoming a fashion designer in Nigeria is by learning how to sew. In Nigeria, you can rarely find a higher institution that offers a degree in fashion designing so you will have to go through informal means to learn how to sew or design. There are two ways you can learn how to sew in Nigeria. These are:
Learn through Fashion Design Schools
There are many reputable fashion schools that you can attend in Nigeria to become a fashion designer. These fashion schools usually have a curriculum with different courses, programs, and syllabus that will take you through the process of learning fashion designing and sewing from beginner to professional level. The advantages of attending a fashion design school include:
Learning under professional trainers and setting where your time will not be wasted compared to if you learnt as an apprentice
A unified and complete curriculum that will help you learn the craft well
Fashion design schools are usually up to date on current practices and standard operating procedures in the fashion design industry.
Learn Fashion through Apprenticeships
Another way you can learn fashion design in Nigeria is by becoming an apprentice for a practicing fashion designer. This is common practice in Nigeria, especially for artisans who learn handwork just like sewing from those who have been in the business for a long time. This method is cheaper and guarantees learning since the trainer is well experienced. To learn fashion design as an apprentice, you need to approach a fashion designer in your community and indicate your interest in learning under them. The disadvantage of apprenticeship is that it is informal unlike a fashion design school and oftentimes, people lose focus and do not get to learn as they should.
Research the market
You will need to take your time to research the fashion market before you start your fashion designing business. This is all about understanding the problems that surround the fashion industry and coming up with solutions for such. The fashion industry is a crowded industry yet there is a unique perspective you can bring into it so you do not get lost in the crowd. You can choose to focus on bespoke wears, fashion accessories, bridal wears, casual wears, native, plus size women, plus size men, taller men, etc. Your industry can be tailored towards any body type or issue in the industry. You have to make sure that you fully understand the target market that you want to serve. Also, make sure that you research where you want to situate your business because the location of your business often affects the success of your business. When you understand the gap you want to fill, you will be more efficient at your work.
Create a Business plan
You need to have a detailed business plan that explains everything about your business. Your business plan must take into account your funding source and investment plan, sales assumption, and figures, expenses, human resource plan, hiring plans and budgets, your marketing strategy, location of the business, operational plan and overall business strategy, management team, and funding plan.
Creativity is what sets you apart from other fashion designers. You must be prepared to take risks and try new things. When sketching designs or trying new outfits, you must be able to bring in new styles, blend new colors that others have not done yet. This is the only way to keep yourself relevant in the fashion industry. Any fashion designer who keeps relying on old existing styles will not make profits and will soon die out.
Promote Your Business
To become a successful fashion designer in Nigeria, you have to look for unique ways to put your business in the faces of your target market. You have to also learn to market your business rigorously. As a new fashion designer who has learnt the craft of sewing very well, the goal is to put your art and products in the faces of as many people and reach a large number of your target audience at once. There are different promotional tactics with which you can effectively promote your business. These are:
Take advantage of Social media
In today’s highly digitalized world, it is increasingly becoming impossible to make sales and reach potential customers without a social media presence. As a fashion designer and business owner, you need to be savvy on social media and use it as a tool to grow your business. A strong social media presence is one of the best ways to promote your business as an entrepreneur.
Own a Website
You can own your own website where you upload your wears and people visit as an online store. A website helps to establish your business as credible. It is also a cost-effective way to promote your fashion business.
Maximize Word of Mouth
The most overlooked yet effective form of marketing is via word-of-mouth. When you do your job well as a fashion designer, people keep referring your business to others and this is a great way to build a loyal customer base. Word of mouth is one of the cheapest ways to promote your fashion design business. People who are referred by another person they know and trust are most likely to patronize you.
The success of your fashion designing business relies hugely on how well you learn and how creative you are. It is the dream of every fashion designer to become a big name in the industry, you can achieve this through hard work and effective strategizing.