FashTech Meet Up at SMWLAGOS

We held our first Fashion Tech Meetup on Thursday 2nd March 2017, moderated by Yoanna “Pepper” Chikezie hosting Yegwa Ukpo, Co-Founder Stranger Lagos, Honey Ogundeyi, CEO Fashpa, Oroma Itegboje, Co-Founder, This is Us NG, Damilola Jegede, CEO Nairabox and Zainab Ashadu, Creative Director Zashadu.

The purpose of the meet up was to have an open dialogue around sourcing textiles in Africa, the challenges opportunities and leveraging technology to develop the industry, here’s a summary of what happened;

Oroma Itegboje described the This Is Us clothing production process and how the came to source cotton from Katsina State, to make the very popular Funtua shirts. She also added that there are lot of resources in Nigeria but people are ignorant to this because information isn’t shared well enough.

Oroma Itegboje, This Is Us, The Assembly

Zainab Ashadu also shared her start-up struggles and the process she had to go through to source and produce good quality leather for her luxury handbag lines. Interms of creating her brand, she stated the importance of individuality and storytelling, crediting some of her brands success to the relationship she had nurtured with her suppliers and being true to the essence of the brand.

Zainab Ashadu, Zashadu, The Assembly

Damilola Jegede shared various ways in which technology would ease the process of sourcing and production.  Dami also brought to light the untapped market in the production and sourcing segment and that someone needed to use technology to marry production with demand. For the local e-commerce players he pointed out that brands that ship provide international shipping tend to attract more customers that will only help a buisness scale. He also cited Alibaba as an example of how certain platforms have used tech to create information about production and manufacturing and asked why there couldn’t be a Nigerian equivalent?

Yegwa Ukpo provided some interesting insights into the characteristics and behavioural patterns of the Nigerian customer and the importance of storytelling which not only helps a brand stand out but justifies the price points of their products. He expressed the need for brand transparency to justify the cost of products. Yegwa also stated that tech could be used to bridge the gap between industry players and resources while also stating the need to formalize the fashion sector to create structure and transparency for growth.

Honey Ogundeyi also shared Fashpa production processes whilst mentioning that Fashpa is developing real time tech to help track each stage of the garment manufacturing process, as well as trying to develop a Fashpa sizing guide to help produce better fitting garments for their customer.

We also had guests share their ideas and current ventures while panellists gave instant feedback and advice.

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Photo Credit: Raphael Lens for The Assembly