Signature founder, Michael Eyeh, has called for a revamping of the indigenous infrastructure in Nigeria in order to make actors in the fashion and creative sector more competitive and instrument of economic development.
He said with the right impetus that Nigerian textile sector can compete with major players like China and India in the production of textile products.
Born in Lagos, Michael Eyeh, who shuttles between Lagos and Toronto for work and other commitments, holds a first degree in Business Administration from Crawford University, Ogun State and a Postgraduate in Global Business Management from Humber College, Toronto in Canada.
Speaking in a virtual interview with reporters, the founder of Koded Signature, a subsidiary of Koded Group, said Koded Signature was created in order to share more of our African culture and history in the global space, adding that, ”we are an afro-centric brand infusing African culture and history into appeals, from our first iteration of Queen Idia hats, launched in 2015, we have continued to share our legacy with the world”.
Which segment of clients do you cater for, luxury, entertainers, sports, casuals or formal or are are you an all-rounder?
In the beginning, we had plans to be a brand that touches every lifestyle and class not boxed as just luxury. Koded Signature will continue to stay available to the global market at an accessible rate to meet our customer’s demand. What influenced your decision to go into fashion, or did it happen by coincidence or was it what you always wanted to do? Branding has always been one of my areas of interest long before Koded Signature, I was in the apparel branding space for individuals and corporate events after University before moving to Toronto in 2014.
We are looking to tell more African stories, create more unique products, expand our product range and zero in on publicizing more cultures and history globally.
Who are your role models in the industry?
There are individuals in the industry doing and have done great work dead and alive, from Virgil Abol use of branding with Off White to Omoyemi Akerele’s work with Lagos Fashion Week; building Nigerian and African designers and the industry.
Do you find what you are doing rewarding in terms of finance and fulfilment?
Working on Koded Signature has been highly rewarding. Aside from the financial gains, it has instilled intrinsic benefits like resilience, organization, building your network and most especially learning more about Africans.
What fashion items would you not make for clients?
That will be a difficult question to answer at this point. We would rather choose to continue to stay open to ideas and stay flexible as a business in a changing world. There is a large demand for fashion in a highly populated country like Nigeria.
A study in 2016 states that we import textile and clothing worth over $4billion annually. That is a lot, in order to meet the rising demand. The importation in turn generates revenue through import duties. In my opinion, we are merely scratching the surface. We can do more by making the nation self-reliant, investing in infrastructure to create more jobs within the industry. All of these will in turn make us as competitive as other huge textile nations like China and India.
What challenges do upstarts face in the fashion industry?
There are a mirage of challenges but for Koded Signature, we have been able to overcome some of these challenges and still going through some of them. From logistics, exposure, funding, access to high-quality resources, the list varies.
Are fashion designers well patronised by Nigerians or is the influence of overseas made fashion wears adversely affecting the growth of Nigerian fashion brands?
From a production view, we have very little made within Nigeria products. Everything