The United States Consulate General in Lagos recently recognized 20 emerging and mid-career Nigerian fashion designers who took part in the International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP), a hallmark US government exchange program.
The 20 participants had the unique opportunity to connect with their U.S. counterparts and enriched their knowledge of entrepreneurship, business development, and innovation in the U.S. fashion industry through the virtual IVLP project titled “Promoting Economic Growth and Trade in the Fashion Industry.”
The IVLP’s mission is to give firsthand understanding of American society, culture, and politics while fostering long-term professional ties. The IVLP promotes possibilities for economic, professional, and academic collaboration, as well as direct exposure to American systems and values, by exposing existing and future leaders to their professional counterparts in U.S. communities.
In her welcome comments, U.S. Consul General Claire Pierangelo highlighted that the IVLP program focused on the fashion sector was developed by the US Mission to improve economic and commercial connections between the US and Nigeria via continuous engagement with creative businesses based in Lagos.
“In the last few years, Nigeria and the United States have witnessed growing cultural ties,” Pierangelo said. “This fashion IVLP project is a fantastic example of our strategic economic outreach to Nigeria’s creative industries to further strengthen economic ties through culture and fashion.”
The 20 participants displayed some of their high-quality designs and fashion accessories during the event. Consul General Pierangelo viewed each of their exhibitions and learnt about their IVLP experiences.
Consul General Pierangelo highlighted the U.S. government’s commitment to promoting economic growth and trade in the fashion industry by empowering local fashion designers to not only thrive in Nigeria’s fashion industry, but also to prepare for the global fashion marketplace.
The reception hosted by U.S. Chargé d’affaires Kathleen FitzGibbon and Consul General Pierangelo was attended by an eclectic mix of guests including Nigeria’s pioneer fashion designer, Shade Thomas-Fahm; Senator Florence Ita-Giwa; Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija; and former Chairman of Access Bank, Mr. Gbenga Oyebode.