Showing posts with label wedding. Show all posts
Showing posts with label wedding. Show all posts

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Made in Aba versus Made in China Gucci

These days to show class, wearing apparels with the labels of world famous fashion designers is the rigueur of posh places and events of the Nigerian nouveau riche. But most of them are only aping Western elites, posing and posturing with false airs and graces as they dress to impress their peers and the poor ones they want to hoodwink. So to them wearing their bling bling Guccio Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana (D&G) or Coco Chanel is chic.

I started my professional career at 18 when most of my mates were still competing for matriculation in the early 1980s and was already a well paid prolific scriptwriter for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10 before I turned 24 and could afford to buy any of the so called foreign made posh designers from Gucci to Giorgio Armani, but even though more pay tempted me to shop where the movers and shakers of the upper social class loved to shop, I ignored the Nigerian Joneses and even met the top Nigerian fashion designer Sefinatu Mohammed at the Federal Palace where she used as her base. She thought I was a bad dresser, but I preferred to spend my money on buying loads of chocolates for her only daughter.

I loved to dress to express myself as a bohemian artist and poet and not to impress anyone. Even being close to the pretty daughter of a diplomat in the upscale Ikoyi did not change my attitude. But I was compelled to join the Joneses when I got a new job as the Art/Features Editor of a national Children’s magazine published by a French trained fashionable young millionaire with our office on the eleventh floor of the high rise Western House on Broad Street. My boss, Tunde Ereola insisted on wearing mostly made in France and made in Italy designer silk shirts and 100% wool jackets and he bought some for me. We dressed alike and walked tall at posh clubs and social functions in Lagos. I loved and treasured the Valentino Garavani suit he gave me until a Shomolu washerman ruined it.

I was chauffeur-driven in a Toyota jeep and dressing to impress his clients and peers became my duty, but not my passion. I was glad when I left to concentrate on writing my books and working as a national program consultant for the UNICEF at 25 and my job did not require wearing foreign designers’ apparels. I could wear my proudly made in Aba shirts and trousers and shoes and never cared about my peers parading like peacocks in their made in Milan designs.

Today, I smirk when I see the younger Turks of our so called Nigerian Hip-hop generation displaying their bling bling Gucci, D&G or Versace, because most of them do not know that thousands of poor people are being cheated and exploited as factory hands in China and other Asian countries to mass produce their so called Gucci, D&G and Chanel clothes and footwear and sold to the ignorant wannabe Joneses of the Nigerian nouveau riche. I am proud to wear my made in Aba shirt and trousers and boots and walking tall anywhere. Even the wedding suit of the popular Nollywood star Emeka Enyiocha was cut and sewn by a local Igbo tailor in Yaba and he was looking like one million dollars as he was wore it on his wedding day.

There is really nothing special about parading the labels and tags of top foreign fashion designers. They are not better than our own Deola Sagoe, Frank Oshodi, Modela, Mon Ami, Mudi, Remi Lagos and the unsung masters of made in Nigeria fashion industry.

I would love to show off an original Frank Oshodi suit or a Mudi shirt than parade myself in a copy of an original Gucci or Armani mass produced in Asia and pretending that it’s original apparel from an Armani Emporium in New York.

I am also a fashion designer of unisex apparels made in France and with the same world class quality as any original Gucci or D&G as displayed on my popular fashion, life and entertainment blog Kisses 'n' Roses where I also promote and sell the original designs of Giorgio Armani and other famous names and not mass produced in China or Bangladesh. Therefore, I can tell the real McCoy from the copies being displayed by Nigerian Hip-hop artistes and actors on their red or yellow carpet events in Lagos, Abuja or Port Harcourt.

I am very proud of our made in Aba or made in Yaba clothes, footwear and bags and still walking tall and proudly Nigerian online and offline.

The man makes the suit and the suit does not make the man.

Read the following extract from the New York Times:
For more than a century, the luxury fashion business was made up of small family companies that produced beautiful items of the finest materials. It was a niche business for a niche clientele. But in the late 1980s, business tycoons began to buy up these companies and turn them into billion-dollar global brands producing millions of logo-covered items for the middle market. The executives labeled this rollout the “democratization” of luxury, which is now a $157-billion-a-year industry.

To help these newly titanic brands retain an air of old-world luxury, marketing executives played up the companies’ heritage and claimed that the items were still made in Europe by hand — like Geppetto hammering in his workshop by candlelight. But this sort of labor is wildly expensive, the executives routinely explain, which is why the retail prices for luxury goods keep going up and up.
In fact, many luxury-brand items today are made on assembly lines in developing nations, where labor is vastly cheaper. I saw this firsthand when I visited a leather-goods factory in China, where women 18 to 26 years old earn $120 a month sewing and gluing together luxury-brand leather handbags, knapsacks, wallets and toiletry cases. One bag I watched them put together — for a brand whose owners insist is manufactured only in Italy — cost $120 apiece to produce. That evening, I saw the same bag at a Hong Kong department store with a price tag of $1,200 — a typical markup.

How do the brands get away with this? Some hide the “Made in China” label in the bottom of an inside pocket or stamped black on black on the back side of a tiny logo flap. Some bypass the “provenance” laws requiring labels that tell where goods are produced by having 90 percent of the bag, sweater, suit or shoes made in China and then attaching the final bits — the handle, the buttons, the lifts — in Italy, thus earning a “Made in Italy” label. Or some simply replace the original label with one stating it was made in Western Europe.

Not all luxury brands do the bait and switch. The chief executive of the French luxury brand Hermès readily told me that some of its silk scarves are hemmed by hand in Mauritius, where labor costs less. And Louis Vuitton, which boasts that it churns out its $3 billion worth of leather goods each year in its company-owned factories in France, Spain and Southern California, announced in September that it plans to build a factory in India to produce shoes