By Omodele Adigun

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African Development Bank (AfDB) has partnered with Nigerian fashion promoter, Lens Project, on capacity building ahead of its 2017 African Fashion and Accessories Exhibition slated for next June in Essen, Germany.
According to the Project Coordinator, Mr. Richard  Bickersthet, who disclosed this at a media briefing Thursday in Lagos, since AfDB is throwing its weight behind the conference, Lens Project is rallying exhibitors both in Nigeria and Germany for the show. “We are working with all African shops in Germany where we are going to do more promotions. In an exhibition like this, every designer that goes with a product is bringing a new concept, particularly from the business aspect.”
Corroborating this, its CEO, Sulyman Hakeem, said the collaboration would revolve around building capacity of the potential exhibitors.
He explained: “Basically, for now, we are getting AfDB involved in the seminars. There are some basic seminars and workshops that we need to do, which is for business purpose. For instance, the workshop about using social media for networking in fashion business.
“We have put that together so that the designers here can actually get to know how some of the international fashion designers can afford to spend equivalent of N5 million a night on a runway in Paris and walk away. Where are they getting the money from? If you go to Paris and spend like N4 million on a night and in the morning you walk away, where is the money going to come from? I am sure a lot of designers would want answers to this question. There is a way they do it. They are not stupid.
“Nobody is going to spend N4 million and walk away if they don’t have a way to recoup the money. These are some of  the areas we are lacking in fashion design. These are the paperworks and discussions we are going to put our designers through.
“What we are doing is International Fashion Exhibition and we have been able to garner African shops and businesses around us, up to Paris, up to Brussels. And luckily, the location we are using is two hours to Amsterdam and two hours to Antwep. So what it means is that we will actually gather people around the Europe axis.”