The Lagos Leather Fair held between the 4th – 6th of May at Harbour Point, Victoria Island. It was a fun-filled fair about the leather scene in Nigeria, and why for leather makers in Nigeria, the slogan #MadeinNigeria isn’t just a buzzword.
This year’s edition was its second edition, and was themed “The New Possible.” The fair was supported by the Lagos state government, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Export Promotion Council and Ntel.
There were panel discussions, workshops and masterclasses; all geared towards creating a dialogue about the leather-making scene in Nigeria. Speakers included Adebola Williams, Co-founder of Red media, Obiora Ononye, owner of Obi leathers, and an appearance from Her Excellency Dolapo Osinbajo. There were also exhibitions from over 50 leather makers, where people purchased leather products and asked questions from the exhibitors.
Highlights from the fair
The opening day on the 4th of May featured a Leather Round Table discussion by key stakeholders in the leather industry in Nigeria. The theme of the discussion was “Harnessing the potential within the leather industry”.
The panel included Mr. Adewale Bakare (Representative for the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment), Mrs Olayinka Oladunjoye (Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives), Mr. Olu Domingo and Mrs. Bimbola Azeh (Monamatthews Shoes), Mr. Osas Damien Omorugbe and Mrs. Segilola Adedeji (Intellectual Property Lawyer).
The discussion was centered on how the leather industry in Nigeria can grow beyond its present capabilities. The panel concluded that Nigeria’s leather industry cannot adequately improve if there are no government policies that would actively favor its growth.
The first masterclass of the fair held on the same day. the panelists at the discussion “Succeeding in a creative space” included Ayo Oke-Lawal, (Creative Director Orange Culture), Akosua Afriye- Kumi, (Founder A.A.K.S) and Tokyo James, (Creative Director, TokyoJames). They all shared their individual experiences and their success as leather makers.
The exhibition space was officially opened on the 2nd day of the fair. Over 50 made in Nigeria leather goods were sold at the exhibition. The 2nd day also featured catwalk shows, where models displayed the different Nigerian leather brands. Masterclasses were also held simultaneously at the Harbour Point venue.
Leather designer Bill Amberg spoke on the Magic of Leather, and also on his new project of growing crystals into leather.
Patrizia Prencipe told leather makers in her Fine Art of Shoe Making masterclass, that it is important to understand the consumers when designing leather shoes.
Temilade Osinfade, (C.E.O T.T Dalk), Liz Oluwadare, (Export Manager, Mall For Africa) and Ayotomi Rotimi, (Founder, Xclamations) in their masterclass discussed From Factory to Consumer and Everything in Between. They gave the leather makers present at the masterclass tips on leather products that can be exported.
The highlight of the day was a screening titled “From Ponmo to Paris: A journey from the Slaughterhouse. The screening exhibited the conversion of leather from its raw form to a leather shoe, or bag. A runway show at the end of the day crowned off the second day of the fair. The runway models all displayed different unique designs of bags, shoes and accessories.
The 3rd and final day featured a workshop from Bill Amberg on leather crafting. The attendees at this workshop were taught the different uses for leather. Exhibitions were also ongoing simultaneously with the workshops. o-founder of Red Media Africa Adebola Williams was also at the fair on the last day to talk to potential leather designers on How to Build Brand Influence in a competitive world.
The Lagos leather Fair 2018 ended with a masterclass from Obiora Ononye (founder of Obi Leather). he walked the audience through the process of making a leather handbag.
The Lagos Leather Fair 2018 was once more an event made for Nigerians by Nigerians, and successfully pushed many more leather designers in Nigeria into the limelight. It also showcased how big the leather industry in Nigeria is, and the potential for job creation for many of Nigeria’s teeming youth population.