On June 16, 2023, the International Conference Centre in Abuja will host the debut of the Afro-Euro Runway, a fashion competition put on by the European Union (EU) Delegation to Nigeria in association with a few EU Member States in Nigeria and the Fashion Academy.
The event aims to tap into the enormous potential of Nigeria’s thriving fashion industry to promote economic growth, youth employment, and skill development.
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and ECOWAS, Ms. Samuela Isopi, stated at a media briefing on Thursday in Abuja that the show would honor the EU’s partnership with Nigeria, which is increasingly putting a focus on youth, innovation, and skills.
The competition provides a fantastic platform for fashion designers to present their collections, advertise their brands, connect with business professionals, enhance the value of their brands, engage with global fashion enthusiasts, and gain access to local and global markets.
The CEO of The Fashion Academy, Abuja, Nina Kwande, well-known Italian-Nigerian designer Paolo Sisiano, and celebrity influencer and EU brand ambassador Enioluwa Adeoluwa attended the event with Ambassador Isopi. According to her, the selected designers’ participation in the show would change their careers and have a ripple effect on Nigeria’s burgeoning fashion industry.
The competition, according to her, is in line with the European Union’s 2023 theme, which has been dubbed the “European Year of Skills.” She called talent Nigeria’s most valuable resource and noted that the EU’s programs with Nigeria, which include smart agriculture, skill development to increase youth employability, and education, increasingly reflect this theme.
The ambassador claimed that the EU has included fashion design when discussing skills because it establishes a connection between cultural heritage and tradition and abilities and innovation. She claims that it is one of the most active creative industries in Europe and Nigeria, with fashion and high-end industries influencing millions of people’s daily lives.
There are numerous opportunities for additional partnerships between EU Member States and European fashion institutions and their Nigerian counterparts.
“Fashion is a great Ambassador of European values such as culture, creativity innovation and craftsmanship. This is true also for Nigeria. I am impressed by the creativity, innovation and energy of Nigerian fashion. So, fashion tells who we are and more importantly, it connects people and cultures. The Afro-Euro Runway Competition embodies this spirit of dialogue and collaboration between European creative industries and fashion and Nigerian creative sectors,” she stated.
Out of a pool of 124 designers who applied for the competition, seven contestants who met the pre-selection criteria will present their brands at the events. The overall competition winner will have the chance to take part in the renowned Madrid Mercedes Benz Fashion Week, the first runner-up will take part in the Dakar (Senegal) Fashion Week, and the second and third runners-up will receive fashion design tools. The cost of attending business management training will be covered for all contestants.
In its partnership with Nigeria, the European Union has recently worked to give the youth more room. To address some of the causes of unemployment and underemployment, it is already stepping up support in key sectors to promote skill development, employability, job creation, and inclusive participation.