Apologies for our little hiatus. We’ve both been extremely busy with work and school. It’s been hectic but we’re coping!
I (Kike) was in Nigeria for a week and I couldn’t help but appreciate the wonderful world of fashion there. Fashion keeps getting better and better in Nigeria. I’m so excited and curious to see what the next few years have to offer!
Just so we can appreciate our Nigerian Fashion Designers and Trend Setters, we’re going to showcase our top 10 in fashion in Nigeria, over the next couple of weeks.
Le Petit Marche is our Number 10!
It’s the pure bliss that Nigerians experience every last Sunday of the month. Entrepreneurs as well as new/established designers come to showcase their stuff and get some recognition. I finally went to my first market day and I cannot wait to move back to Nigeria so I can spoil myself more often.
Wonu and Isoken (Obsidian), the brains behind LPM tell us a bit more about it.
SBQ: Why did you start LPM and why?
Wonu: LPM was born in 2009, out of our desire to promote our own fashion interests, one of us being a fashion designer, and the other into Vintage clothing. We realised that there wasn’t a low capital intensive platform to reach our end users. We strongly believe in empowering our Indigenous designers and entrepreneurs and we felt like we needed a playground to highlight all the talent Nigeria has to offer. Having been avid fans of Camden and Portobello markets, it was intuitive for us to embark on our own Dover street-esque market.
Isoken: LPM is so much more than a market. We aim to position ourselves as a truly Nigerian brand and the premier platform for Nigerian fashion designers and entrepreneurs. One of our priorities as a creative space is to support emerging talent, introducing and exposing them to the buying public.
SBQ: How much of a challenge has it been so far?
Wonu: It’s been a really challenging ride! There have been times, in our humble beginnings when we felt like the market wasn’t ready for what we had to offer, however we persevered and so far the rewards have been great!! The concept is very simple, which would explain the sudden rise in LPM-esque events however you’ll be surprised the kind of difficulties we face!! But it’s truly worth it.
Isoken: The growth we’ve experienced, the tremendous support we’ve received from the
fashion community and loyal LPM shoppers has been more than enough to make up for any challenges/ teething problems we experience. We really just thank God.
SBQ: What is your perception of the Nigerian fashion industry so far and what would you like to see in the future?
Wonu: Being a part of the retail value chain we’ve had the opportunity to see the industry grow over the past 2 years. Our fashion industry has the potential to be world class, we’re not there yet but I see a lot of driven individuals going the extra mile to make a difference
What I’d really like to see however, is for people to take the fashion industry seriously and truly see it as a business as opposed to a hobby like most people currently view it.
Im totally into the #BuyNigerian and #StyleNigerian buzz that’s going on all over twitter and online media at the moment! However, although I fully support Nigerians and their commodities, I still won’t compromise on quality!!!
Isoken: Being part of both the retail and creative ends of the industry, I’d have to say the growth we’ve seen in the last two years is astonishing! Everything is moving really quickly, and I think we are seeing a move towards a more quality driven , brand-centric industry. It’s really interesting to watch and even more thrilling to be a part of the revolution!
I’d like to see more support for the retail movement in general. I don’t mean a blind ‘buy it because it was made in Nigeria/by a Nigerian’, but a little more thought and appreciation from buyers and Nigerians in general, for what Nigerian businesses are doing and how hard it is to do what we are doing IN Nigeria, because our environment is challenging to say the least.
SBQ: Do you feel LPM has made an impact on the industry so far?
Wonu: Very humbly, I say YES. In my opinion, prior to LPM there hadn’t been an avenue for vendors to showcase their items in a cost efficient way (discounting selling out of your car boot of course…lol). We’ve had about 200 different vendors with majority of them being repeat vendors.
We’ve invested a lot towards publicity and each month we highlight each vendor showcasing at LPM so we find that a lot of people who ordinarily wouldn’t wear Nigerian clothes or accessories have now begun to.
A lot of people look forward to the end of the month now….and luckily our vendors are reasonably priced so you don’t have to break the bank to get an item
Isoken: Without a doubt ! LPM is double sided in that we provide a genuine platform for designers/retailers to sell their goods/services without the high cost of rent AND we provide a service for a lot of people who’d rather shop/bargain hunt in a less rowdy environment.
SBQ: What are your plans for LPM?
Wonu + Isoken: We have a lot of long term plans for developing our brand and promoting indigenous entrepreneurs, but in the interim we have our December market coming up which will be spectacular!!
We got to take some photos of the designers and their amazing pieces. Enjoy!