Industry experts discuss new possibilities for Nigerian leather industry at LLF 2.0
The second edition of the Lagos Leather Fair (LLF), which held last weekend at Harbour Point, Victoria Island, Lagos came to an end amidst pomp and fanfare. Themed, The New Possible, the fair explored the various possibilities of the industry in terms of growth and innovation and invited relevant stakeholders to have this conversation.
Founded by Femi Olayebi of FemiHandbags, the fair aimed to draw attention to the potential of the leather industry to create over a million direct and indirect jobs as well as be the second earner of foreign exchange after oil and gas. The Lagos State government, Bank of Industry and Nigerian Export Promotion Council, supported this initiative.
The fair promoted made in Nigeria leather goods and provided trainings for artisans by featuring over 50 leather exhibitors as well as scheduling masterclasses and workshops. These trainings were hosted by local and international speakers including Bill Amberg of Bill Amberg Studios, Patrizia Prencipe, (leather consultant) Liz Oluwadare (Export Manager, Mall For Africa), Ayotomi Rotimi (Founder, Xclamations!), Temilade Osinfade (C.E.O, T.T Dalk), Adebola Williams, Bayo Oke-Lawal, (Creative Director, Orange Culture), Akosua Afriye- Kumi, (Founder, A.A.K.S), Tokyo James, (Creative Director, TokyoJames) and Obiora Ononye (Obi Leather).
Some of the topics discussed include, The Magic of Leather: Exploring the Endless Possibilities, The Fine Art of Shoe Making, From Factory To Consumer and Everything in Between, Leathercrafting and How to Build Brand Influence in a Competitive World.
The Leather Round Table, a new addition this year, spoke about Harnessing the potential within the leather industry and was discussed by representatives of those along the leather value chain. The panelists included Adewale Bakare (Representative for the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment), Olayinka Oladunjoye (Commissioner for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives), Olu Domingo (Tannery owner), Bimbola Azeh (Monamatthews Shoes), Osas Damien Omorugbe and Segilola Adedeji (Intellectual Property Lawyer). After fully evaluating the contribution of the leather industry to the economy, it was concluded that the government should make favourable policies to further enable the growth of the industry.
The exhibitions that ran daily allowed guests shop various leather goods and they were entertained by the pop-up catwalk shows during the day. Wife of the Vice President Dolapo Osinbajo was also present to see the products on display and support the initiative.
A surprise screening titled, From Ponmo to Paris: A Journey From the Slaughterhouse to the Catwalks showcased the potential we have as a nation if raw materials are properly harnessed. A runway show displaying various leather goods including bags, shoes, outfits and accessories was also featured.
The Lagos Leather Fair yet again proved to be a profound event that has moved from changing the narrative of the leather industry to highlighting and exploring its numerous possibilities. The next edition of the fair holds great promise for exhibitors and visitors.
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