Nigerian Fashion spotlighted on CNN: Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber, Bola Atta of True Love and “tailor-made” fashion explored

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 3:23 AM

By BellaNaija.com

Like we always do at this time
I go for mine, I got to shine
Now throw your hands up in the sky
I g-go for mine, I got to shine
Now throw your hands up in the sky

Kanye West – Good Life

The Nigerian Fashion Industry is certainly experiencing the “good life” at the moment. In the past 24 months, our designers have showed in London, New York, Johannesburg and most recently, Paris. Our brands are being stocked in stores from Tokyo to Los Angeles and very importantly, young people are now proud to proclaim – “I want to be a designer/stylist/fashion editor”.
The latest grand acclaim for the Nigerian Fashion Industry was a feature on CNN International. Their new show “Marketplace Africa” which is broadcast in over 80 countries spotlighted the Nigerian Fashion Industry.
Considering the length, the feature was actually quite comprehensive with high-end Nigerian fashion being highlighted alongside “Tailor-Laurent aka My Tailor made it”.

Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber was interviewed at the Tiffany Amber flagship store. She discussed how  “ethnicity made global friendly” makes Nigerian designs standout. CNN also visited the Tiffany Amber factory and we caught a glimpse at a part of the making of the Face of Africa dress.
Recent international success of the brand such as showing in New York was discussed. However, I found it fitting the designer highlighted that its the Nigerian market that keeps the business going. In addition, the power of branding and the launch of Tiffany Amber’s more accessible diffusion line – TAN were mentioned.

Next, CNN visited the market where ankara was proudly displayed on sale. In their words, “The root of Nigerian fashion can be found in any local market….everyone here is their own personal designer”.

We spotted Rita Dominic & Mike Ezuruonye on the Face of Africa red carpet as the voiceover explained that  huge demand for Nigerian fashion is fueled by “actresses, musicians and businessmen who want to good look for tomorrow’s gossip magazines”

Bola Atta, Editor of True Love West Africa magazine met with the CNN team while reviewing fashion for an upcoming True Love shoot. She explained that the Nigerian audience appreciates the fusion of our local culture with international trends and also acknowledged that the prices of most Nigerian high fashion is beyond the reach of most Nigerians. However, Mrs Atta explained that these items are inspiration for people to create their own looks within their budgets. She was joined by Omoyemi Akerele, Style Editor of True Love and Zara Okpara of Jewel by Lisa.

The statistics shared at the end of the feature were quite interesting. According to a recent  survey by Mastercard International, Nigerians are the only Africans that plan to increase discretionary spending (by a startling 55% over the next 6 months) . Also very interesting is that for 35% of the respondents, Fashion and Accessories is a major priority in their spending budget.

We’re really proud of everyone featured. Every positive report about the accomplishments, talents and creativity of Nigerians is definitely a step in the right direction. Feels great to see something other than our MIA president, kidnapping and looting being discussed.
Also, there are so many people who have paid their dues in the Nigerian fashion industry such as Folake Folarin-Coker and Bola Atta and its great to see them being recognized for it!

Watch and let us know what you think.

See some screencaps from the feature and check out the video below.

cnn nigeria fashion folake coker tiffany ambercnn nigeria fashion 4cnn nigeria fashion 5cnn nigeria fashion 2cnn nigeria fashion 3cnn nigeria fashioncnn nigeria fashion 6

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  • 28 Comments on “Nigerian Fashion spotlighted on CNN: Folake Folarin-Coker of Tiffany Amber, Bola Atta of True Love and “tailor-made” fashion explored”

    Comments
    • Ink March 29, 2010 at 4:15 AM

      this reflects what we think about our own culture. im happy that this time CNN gave a more balanced view of the fashion industry than the NY Times did a few months ago. Lovin’ the new speed of the site too! keep it up.x

    • fokasibe March 29, 2010 at 6:55 AM

      Very nice….These people are reppin 9ja in a positive light!! Well done peeps!! God bless…X

    • oju March 29, 2010 at 7:22 AM

      well… kudos to them all but i must point out that ‘increase in discretionary spending’ is not something to be proud! it just shows how vain most wealthy Nigerians are and how money is thrown away at things as temporary as fashion and beauty!!!how about we use all that money to save lives and make Nigeria a better place so that people like me can be proud to call it home!!!

    • Jan March 29, 2010 at 9:02 AM

      I watched the show. While I was proud of these designers and what they had achieved, I had mixed feelings. The research about increasing discretionary spending about Nigerians conducted by MasterCard is a year old or more. It’s available on their website for everyone to see. I don’t see the reason to jump for joy when these items in question range within $300 – $3000. what’s the percentage of Nigerians that can afford this? Minute cos from the MasterCard survey, more Nigerians were planning on investing on their own properties. So, the survey was not all about fashion.

      I also found Bola Atta’s view on the inspiration behind the Nigerian fashion scene as being unrealistic. She drew references to the Oscar catwalk fashion as being the underlying influence. I have always found the price range for our designs especially the ones I see on True Love as outrageous and this is why most of these stores end up with huge inventory not being sold. The key to a fully developed fashion industry is not the haute coutoure designs we keep parodying but pret a porter. I learnt from the interview that Tiffany Amber is planning on coming out with a more affordable line. This is quite encouraging and will give further room for expressions of upcoming designers.

    • Dee March 29, 2010 at 12:49 PM

      oh Wow..CNN!.Welcome to the good life… Designers… ! The sky is your starting point..

    • joicee March 29, 2010 at 1:33 PM

      I watched the interview and it just left me with mixed feelings. On one hand I am proud that these women are doing it for themselves and the otherhand , the interview with Bola Atta, talking about oscar red carpet fashion and not wanting the ethnic label but rather western reeked of an underlying inferiority complex. What is this obsession with
      wanting everything western? I do not get it

    • toya fisher March 29, 2010 at 5:38 PM

      at least wer not being highligted as theives or killers…

    • clementine March 29, 2010 at 8:02 PM

      This is indeed someing to be proud of in a Country where you are afraid to listen to the Media because it is all bad news.I have respect for women and youth for their contribution to the advancement of our Country. As for the politicians tufiakwa…..

    • Dara March 29, 2010 at 8:05 PM

      But designers like Tiffany Amber are comparable to designers like Vivienne Westwood or Christian Dior. The average American can’t afford them either. Perhaps we should be looking for an H and M like shop but we shouldn’t be asking Tiffany to lower her prices. She’s an international designer and she should price her goods with that knowledge.

    • mirian Emeruem March 30, 2010 at 1:48 AM

      its very inspiring to see this part of my country but disheartening to see that Bola Atta is still caught up with the drive to make everything westernized…. what she and others in this industry, needs to do is to help our local designers get inspired not by the Oscars, but by our traditions, our villages,our beliefs, make bold statements through fashion.

    • Ijeoma March 30, 2010 at 3:50 AM

      I don’t think it’s completely bad that she said Nigerians are inspired by Western culture because it’s true and it’s not necessarily a bad thing. The world becoming a global village sounds like a tired phrase but different parts of the world are getting inspired by other parts – look at Beyonce and Alicia Keys rocking “African fabric” *tries hard not to roll eyes* Whether your tailor charges $300 – I DIE! – or 300 naira it’s pretty obvious that a lot of our trad has for a long time had an underlying western influence. I’m sorry but what actually bugs me is this: I’ve never heard any of these women talk before. Did Bola Attah have an almost-British accent or am I running mad?

    • Blossom March 30, 2010 at 3:14 PM

      I’m surprised at CNN as what they said about Tiffany Amber being the first ‘African-based’ designer to showcase twice on New York Fashion Week (NYFW) is not true. I knowDeola Sagoe has showcased on NYFW at least twice (including this years’) and also at London Fashion Week and Paris Fashion Week… I also agree whole-heartedly with Oju’s comment.

    • ThePoet March 30, 2010 at 4:35 PM

      Yessssssssssss! Madame Folarin-Coker betta WERK!!! Look at Rita and Mike feeling hot, y’all are so fierce. I’m so proud to be Nigerian! Next up, the Nigerian gay scene takes center stage with our own Queer Eye for the Unfashionable Eye ;)

    • bukky March 30, 2010 at 5:49 PM

      yeah, one sided globalism!hiss

    • avari March 30, 2010 at 7:29 PM

      yes very happy for them but “indiscretional spending” is a huge word… no one is thinkin of charities anymore but u kno naijas, if u have it flaunt it… not the best of mottos i must say…
      love ur line of thinking.

    • bukky March 30, 2010 at 8:46 PM

      lol i meant “non-Nigerian accent”

    • THE AMAKA March 31, 2010 at 4:33 AM

      Bola Atta talking about being “inspired” by western culture disgusts me!
      first of all, why should we Africans be trying so hard to appeal to westerners? they should appreciate what we have and what we are bringing to the table from OUR OWN backyards, and not some knock off stuff they probably already see everyday.
      cause if you think about, we don’t appear innovative, but only like copycats.
      you don’t see the west bending over backwards to appeal to other nationalities. all they have to do is stamp their western names on it and it will sell like hot cakes.
      yet Africans are always trying to hard and bending over backwards to “appeal” to the west.
      why would anyone in their right mind want to disregard the “ethnic label” in exchange for being more western? GOSH! inferiority complex someone?

      but anyway look at our own home celebrities such as Rita and Mike. At least something about this post makes me happy. :)

    • oju March 31, 2010 at 6:21 AM

      thx…Im glad someone does!!!spending money has become an obsession we need to be purged of as a Nation!!!by all means look good but do so knowing that there are more important things in life!!

    • ruby March 31, 2010 at 12:58 PM

      I belive bola atta was right,we all want everything western,how many of you gals look at the fashion magazines and do not lust after them as opposed to our own ethnic fashion,the western world still rules whether we like it or not ,our own designers copy them too and @ ijeoma, bola atta has a british accent and not faking it.

    • Ijeoma April 1, 2010 at 2:18 AM

      Well, almost EVERYTHING we wear has some Western influence even if it is with Ankara fabric. The only exception that I can think of at this point is the boubou so in my opinion, Bola Attah was just saying it like it is. Thank you Ruby for clearing the accent issue up but it still sounds a bit suspect to me sha :-)

    • cece April 2, 2010 at 7:02 AM

      I think Nigerians can’t go without having something negative to say. It just shows why the country is the way it is, so backward. What’s wrong in picking up something from the western culture. You can learn from different people, and as long as you don’t completely lose the essence of the culture it’s all good. It just baffles me when Africans/Nigerians are in the spotlight, Nigerians always have something negative to say, oh, why does she have English/American accent, duh, if someone grows up somewhere, they pick up the way they talk. Why does she dress like that, it’s just too much. Why can’t Nigerians just learn how to be positive/optimistic, as opposed to been negative, it will go a long way.

    • Ms bisola April 2, 2010 at 11:32 PM

      when i saw this at first, i was ecstastic that nigerian fashion was on cnn then i hear d last comment about d increasd spendin n m thinkin these people have issues with naija o! even with all our rebrandin, they can’t help but still criticize or find something wrong with us and its so sad. thats why a lot of us run to other countries and pick up thier accents regardless of our own. but wteva, shit happens!! i’m a nigerian n m proud of this country even though we have lots of issues, we still awesome. big ups to folake coker and the other designers representing.

    • Hava April 13, 2010 at 4:35 PM

      what bugs me is all the hating from the western world and the stereotypes they always love to portray about Nigerians…it’s like they are obsessed with making us look bad..no matter how positive the news is about Nigeria, they always look for something nagative to sneakily add…hissssssss I STILL LOVE NIGERIAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA….

    • Hava April 13, 2010 at 4:51 PM

      And i’m not talking about the accent or her comments about being influenced by western culture. i think the world is influenced by western culture. i don’t see anything wrong in being influenced or inspired by western culture or any other culture for that matter..in my oinion it’s all about what you do with the influence. how you channel that influence into something positive. i don’t see why her accent should be an issue either….all that just gets me just gets me upset is the nagative stereotypes they constantly focus on..

    • Ijeoma April 15, 2010 at 4:10 AM

      @ Hava, when you talk about negative stereotypes, you’re just speaking in general right, and not about this particular clip? I thought the clip captured the Nigerian fashion industry perfectly. On the one hand we have people who can afford the Folarin Cokers and the Deola Sagoes. On the other hand, every Nigerian is his or her own designer and how much you pay for your outfit is ultimately up to you. I don’t understand why people are getting worked up over the accent issue. Is she somebody’s aunty? Obviously if you live in England long enough you’ll pick up a British accent. If instead the accent starts to sound “not-quite British” it sounds not-quite British and that’s it. It doesn’t make her less of a designer. Calm the hell down abeg.

    • Ijeoma April 15, 2010 at 4:42 AM

      or magazine editor

    • hava April 16, 2010 at 11:31 PM

      @ ijeoma…yes, i was speaking in general when i talked about the stereotypes…what i basically had to say in regard to the CNN report was that i had no issue with Nigerians being influenced by other cultures; we cant all be wrapped up in our cocoons..even westerners are influeced by other cultures…Anyway, in regard to the “accent thing”, like i said earlier, i don’t see why it should be an issue either. i really don’t understand why nigerians are usually sensitive about that. I think it might boil down to this idea that it depicts people being fake in order to be accepted or respected..but so what if she has an accent? i don’t think any one ought to poke fun at her over that..

    • sandra vuvuv September 30, 2010 at 12:06 PM

      i feel that you are potraying a very good job as an african woman. You inspire me alot because i too would like to further my industry of becoming a fashion designer like you. I would like to ask if there is a way for me to be one of your models so that i can be close too you four some designing ideas.Thank you.