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Nigerian fashion booms

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Fashion trends come and go but Nigeria's unique fashion sense seems to have stood the test of time and designers are working to take that to the bank. With big sponsorship and a growing market for locally made clothes, the industry is seeing blooming demand and profits coming from home and abroad.

A model shows a creation by designer Eki Orleans during the MTN Fashion and Design Week in Lagos, Nigeria, Friday, Oct. 26, 2012. 

The recent Lagos Fashion and Design week 2012 was just one of many events in Nigeria showcasing a wealth of new designs and styles. The four-day event drew international retailers like Selfridges & Co. of the UK, giving designers a rare shot at some truly major sales.

Fashion experts say runway shows are good for exposure but getting clothes into stores is an even harder challenge.

Whether its Haute Couture or ready to wear, Nigeria's rich Ankara patterns, also common across the region are seen as one of the unique selling points for Africa.

Wunmi Olufeko, creative director of Design For Love, said, "I'm all for production in Africa, because that is what is going to push the economy, you know, the SME'S are the ones who's going to push the economy, we can't keep waiting for the government to do everything."

But while the creatives seem to have found their footing, a struggling textile industry threatens to hold them back. Before 1997 there were around 37 operational textile companies in Nigeria. Today there are only about 15.

But a growing number of young Nigerian designers are keeping the industry strong.

Yusuf Kolawole Kuddus, creative director of Kola Kuddus, said, "If we have private individuals supporting the fashion industry, I'm very sure, in a couple of say, five years, we can guarantee another five or ten percent employment opportunity for people on the streets."

The country's working to join the top ranks in global fashion. As long it can hold up its present trajectory, it should have no trouble getting there.

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