Second Lagos Leather Fair set for next month
Created to identify the challenges facing the industry with the hope of finding possible innovative and sustainable solutions, the theme of this year is The New Possible.
The leather industry has been identified by the Bank of Industry (BOI) to generate an annual income of N24.5 billion even with limited support and also has the capacity to create over 700,000 direct and indirect jobs, therefore implying that the industry has not been maximized to its full potential.
According to the Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu, who spoke at the validation workshop on National Leather and Leather Products Policy held in Sokoto in January this year, ‘the leather industry is the nation’s next gold mine and holds the key to industrial growth, jobs and wealth creation’.
Founded by Femi Olayebi of FemiHandbags, the fair is a private initiative that seeks to promote leather designers by creating a networking platform to showcase their works and eventually provide the much-needed training for artisans that would essentially improve the general quality of finished leather products.
Last year, over 2,500 people attended the first edition of the fair to learn from the various master classes, panel discussions and creative workshops.
This year, the fair will focus on the many possibilities and massive potential the Nigeria leather industry has to offer.
To encourage up and coming designers, the “Emerging Designers Competition” has been introduced, and is aimed at giving young, aspiring leather designers an opportunity and a platform to showcase their works.
The top five finalists will win cash prize, a mentoring opportunity and a booth at the Fair.
Speaking with The Guardian, Femi Olayebi, said the fair is a step in the right direction. “Last year’s event was a real eye-opener for everyone.
This year, we intend to explore the myriad possibilities before us and do what we can with what we have to own that space.
The world is looking to Africa for answers and the time has come to position ourselves for real growth. At the end of the day it is really up to us.”