The Lagos Leather Fair: The narrative within the Nigerian leather industry
The Lagos Leather Fair is the first of its kind and a private initiative borne out of the need to draw attention to the untapped possibilities within the leather industry, identify the current challenges and discuss possible innovative solutions to move the industry forward.
Themed “Changing the Narrative”, the Fair is scheduled to hold from the 2nd to 4th of June, 2017, at the Federal Palace Hotel.
With Nigeria having one of Africa’s largest livestock populations, it is no surprise that the Nigerian Export Promotion Council identified leather and finished leather goods alongside ten other products as having great financial value capable of replacing oil in the Nigerian economy.
It is noteworthy that Nigeria’s Sokoto red goat skin is one of the world’s best and attracts huge demand by global fashion houses; developed countries such as Italy are undoubtedly major consumers of Nigerian leather. Presently, major tanneries in Nigeria continue to produce for export while the smaller tanneries are geared towards local demand.
Although Nigerian leather is still mainly used in the production of shoes and bags, resulting in thriving local production and exportation to regional West Africa, the country still imports about $500 million worth of leather products annually.
The country's huge livestock populations coupled with other available resources needed in the leather and leather goods production process, sets the floor for aggressive development of that sector - Nigeria could easily become globally recognized as a major player in this industry. However, to ensure that the future of the leather goods industry is secured, appropriate policies and the very fundamentals of a large raw material supply and a large pool of skilled labour to guarantee high quality production must be put in place.
Furthermore, In concurrence with the Made in Nigeria initiative, the fair also seeks to promote leather designers, provide training for artisans, and improve the quality of finished products. The fair will host about 50 emerging and established leather designers as well as the ModainPelle Academy, a training institute in Milan, Star Machines, a supplier of leather equipment and machinery, some tanneries from Kano and some members of the Aba cluster.
Other planned activities include workshops, a panel discussion and masterclasses featuring Nigerian and international speakers such as Nelly Wandji (world class expert retailer in Paris), Muni Shonibare (CEO, iO Furniture), Tosin Dekalu and Olatokunbo Onagoruwa (The Lady Cobblers), Roberto Gussoni (development consultant for footwear and leather goods in Italy) and many more.
The Lagos Leather Fair aims to connect the dots and change the narrative in an industry with so much untapped potential.